Saturday, April 02, 2011

Feels Much Different Than 2008

Week one is "in the books", and while the polls aren't kind, they are about the only measure that bears any resemblance to the 2008 campaign from the Liberal perspective. In fact, when you add up all the factors at play, it still seems remote, from my perspective, that the Liberals fail to improve their situation this election. Polls are part of the mix obviously, I check first thing every morning, but to isolate yourself to them as only measure of a campaign, only indicator of your mood for the day, you're losing a big part of the plot.

There were many signs early on in 2008 that the Liberals were in real trouble, things that foreshadowed Liberals "staying home" in 2008. I recall early news reports detailing abysmal turnout at rallies, one or two not even touching triple digits. There was no "jam", no "moxy" to the Liberal campaign, absolutely no enthusiasm whatsoever, again a early sign that trouble was possibly at hand. Contrast 2008 with this campaign, Ignatieff is simply stuffing them in at every stop, which translates to volunteers on the ground, a curiosity about this man, a motivation to get out and get involved. Small indicators, but Liberals are coming out, absolutely no comparison to 2008. This headline, from a local paper yesterday covering Ignatieff's stops, is symbolic, as well as indicative: Ignatieff ignites crowd on two-stop visit. I will guarantee the word "ignite" was never fathomed in 2008, "extinguished" maybe, but...

Liberals are rowing together this election. To understand this more united front, your starting point is Ignatieff's speech to caucus and candidates on January 25. I've heard various reports from that room, I've watched that speech a few times, that is when Ignatieff made people believers, that is when all the time on the bus, all the message development, congealed into a compelling figure. That speech was the end of whispering behind Ignatieff's back, people rallied behind him and there was more confidence going forward, no question in my mind. That speech is also why I wasn't worried about Ignatieff on the trail, why I said pre-writ, low expectations are chief asset, this guy would surprise. Ignatieff is doing just that, and because of this compelling fact I have a difficult time seeing a 2008 redux, or worse for that matter. Review the columns, news items the last couple days, I defy anyone to find any similar sentiment in 2008.

Another indicator of some enthusiasm is fundraising. I remember the shock I felt when the 2008 campaign spending was released post-election. The Liberals hadn't spent near the maximum, it was entirely disappointing, little surprise we did so poorly. This election, we already have stories of "unbelievable fundraising, another core indicator that Ignatieff is resonating, the Liberal message is finding takers. Again, another "intangible" that points to optimism from the Liberal perspective. We will spend to the max, Harper will have no key advantage this election.

Pretend for a moment that we had no polls during a campaign, and we were left to our own mental calculus, rather than lead around on a leash by Nik Nanos? I suspect in that world, people would be concluding that the Liberals had the big momentum, everywhere you look, positive indicators, contrasted with a bit of a disjointed Harper campaign. And yet, this isn't the case to date, or more rightly, the polls haven't caught up to the "gut feelings". Maybe the polls will, maybe they won't, but after a week I can't find even the slightest similarity to 2008, in fact the polar opposite for a host of reasons.

26 comments:

Court said...

the Liberals are definitely going to do much better in `11. At the expense of the dippers. They are going to push enough people out the RIGHT(in more ways than 1) side of the party to propell PMSH over the top to his majority. It truly is a win win situation. This is just great i could not be happier.

Court said...

court=bubba visiting my daughter this weekend

Steve V said...

Ummm, if we do better with vote splitting, we will steal seats from YOU guys. I find it funny how Cons bastardize their own admissions. Us doing better at the "dippers" expense isn't a net positive for you guys, you need splitting. Of note, the link I put up Ignatieff "igniting" is where two seats sit, the slightest easing of vote splitting, in our column with ease. Plus, Libs actually turning out, cha ching.

Steve V said...

One other factor to consider, if May isn't in these debates- and I don't think she will be now when the dust settles- it's another indicator of less vote splitting. Greens will be hard pressed to keep their vote total, one because the environment is less a central issue and two, May not in the debate has a marginalizing factor, it feeds the "two choices" Lib narrative. Something to consider moving forward.

Court said...

if enough people fall out the right side of the Libs to put PMSH at 42 percent which is in reach ,not a long reach, that will give him a majority. Steal 7 from dipper give 3 to Cons= majority. The Lib campaign is further left than recent dipper campaigns the blue Libs are shaking out of the tree its in the polls, no doubt.

Steve V said...

Vote splitting is your friend, but you can try to turn it around if you choose. Weaker NDP, good news for Libs. Weaker Greens, good news for Libs. Polls show that too.

Court said...

3 and 7 i meant as % not seats and if you take some from greens Lib seat count definitely up mb over 95 bu PMSH can still reach the 155

Steve V said...

Even if Libs, identified Libs, just show up this time- and I'm saying it looks good on that front- you're completely lost.

Court said...

if the cons get to 42 do you think their seat total will go down. will vote splitting be that huge. Maybe im wrong but I always thought 41 or 42 would do it. if we end up at Cons 42 Libs34 Ndp 13 green 3 bq 8 what happensÉ

Court said...

the cons demographics make it easy for their turnout to be better than Libs

Steve V said...

If you stay that high, then yes it's within reach, although Con vote has never been as efficient as former Lib majority. I don't think it sticks, based on the reasons I'm outlining here.

Court said...

fair enough thanks for the Sat morning fix

ottlib said...

More like 2006 maybe.

Paul Martin held off Stephen Harper for a couple of weeks despite a lacklustre campaign and a rather good Conservative campaign.

Around about the end of week 2 things began to change for the worse for the Liberals.

It was a gradual but steady decline and it was apparent that the Liberals were on a losing track unless they turned things around.

They didn't and the Mountie intervention accelerated the decline and made it irreversible.

CathiefromCanada said...

I am wondering about these polls -- I don't know if anyone in Canada does the kind of poll analysis we see in the US blogs, and I myself am no statistician. But if they are knocking people out of the calculations because they didn't vote in 2008, or if they are still just using land-lines to call people, then I think they would be missing the beginning of a national turn toward the Liberals.

Marpman said...

I wonder if the Harper campaign is attempting the 'business as usual' style. He is making no (real) announcements, no real ideas are coming forth...so he appears to be campaigning on his record in office.

Kirk said...

The polls reflect the damage all those attacks ads have done to Ignatieff. That's why 56% say they support a Liberal/NDP coalition but with Layton leading it.

How Ignatieff improves his image will determine how the election will go.

It will be a major influence in Liberal supporters actually showing up at the polls as well as turning soft Conservative support (which contains a lot of "Ignatieff doubt") into Liberal support.

It will be about the debate.

With Stephan Harper's positions so intellectually weak (we can only hope he brings up the coalition or the vote subsidy as the reason he called the 2008 election or forced the 2006 election) and Ignatieff's "voter concerns" centered campaign Ignatieff can change everything during the debate.

Dame said...

I am with Cathie !!! these polls smell like very old rusted methodes do they use same old Ph # over and over and over again?? it just doen't make any sense..

Jerry Prager said...

The progressives who won't vote for Harper will either vote green, or plug their noses and vote Liberal, some might vote NDP to defeat Harper.

Court: how much are they paying you via that Craiglist job anyway ? Is it piece work, do have to show them every comment, probably some Scroogecon with ledger I should imagine ?

Jerry Prager said...

The TV reality isn't actuality, we'll how well TV covers democratic protests in all 50 states on Monday, to know, what is going to make the media abandon Harper in order to save themselves. But even if they don't, the young are starting to understand that they have to vote for their own future.

Jerry Prager said...

Layton is also getting a lot of respect because of his dignity and commitment through prostrate cancer and surgery.

Tof KW said...

Court: how much are they paying you via that Craiglist job anyway?

Jerry, Bubba (Court) is OK. He's not a paid troll like wilson, ridenrain or FredfromBC. You may not agree with his comments, but he's relaying what the CPC supporters in Sask are thinking - - and not parroting the PMO's talking-points and disrupting blog threads like the above mentioned idiots are doing. Bubba/Court stays on topic and doesn't insult anyone.

That said, if the CPC can maintain or beat 40% on election day, then yes Harper's got a good shot at a majority - but that really depends on regional numbers, and how much vote splitting is occurring.

For example right now the Bloc is polling at extremely high levels in Quebec, and they threaten to win a half-dozen seats from the CPC if this continues. Those lost seats have to be won elsewhere, plus Harper needs to pick up a few more.

If the NDP vote drops and swings LPC, plus if more Liberals come out (vs staying home) and vote unlike 2008, then Ontario will not be as friendly to Harper even if he's up past 2008 levels. Ridings like Kitchener-Centre, or Kitchener-Waterloo that went blue in '08 were only won by 399 & 50 votes receptively. A stronger Liberal vote + a swing from soft-NDP votes will ensure Harper looses these too regardless of polling better.

Besides, Ontario has shown itself to be very fickle. Voting intention seems to turn on a dime here, and pollsters have been showing this for 4 years now. This is a dangerous province to predict, let alone for any party to bank on for winning votes.

Steve V said...

I'm not sure the polls are wrong, but I'm also not sure it matters just yet.

Jerry Prager said...

TofKW I've noticed how polite Bubba/Court is actually.

Jerry Prager said...

The polls don't matter as much as this.

http://canadianinterest.blogspot.com/2011/04/impressive-rise-in-daily-twitter.html?spref=tw

Jason Hickman said...

Weaker NDP, good news for Libs. Weaker Greens, good news for Libs. Polls show that too.

Depends where it happens, Steve. In much of Ontario, you're probably right. But in much of BC and SK, for example, where the 1-2 fight has been between the CPC and the NDP, the trend you mention could result in more CPC MPs.

Steve V said...

The NDP have no seats in Sask, but I take your point B.C, at least in theory.