Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Last Stand

Reviewing the latest batch of polls, one sober reality comes into focus, the Liberals will make their last stand in Ontario, the next five days could well decided the party's historic fate. I'm not overstating, and as David Herle was advising last night, it's imperative that Liberals understand the circumstance at hand and react with an honest assessment. No time for pretending, no time for looking around the room for a comforting voice, it really is as BAD as it looks and we are now in survival mode.

Nanos and Angus Reid both confirm the trend, the NDP still surging to dizzying heights in Quebec, but also a Liberal cratering in Ontario, to desperate levels. A bit of a disconnect in Conservative support, AR has them at their campaign lowest in Ontario, while Nanos has them at a very concerning 47%. Despite the NDP uptick in Ontario, these type of numbers, one has to wonder about the vote splitting factor. In other words, the Liberal argument is now a simple Ontario "stop Harper" cry. Forget flashing the red book around, being serene and feeling good, raise the stakes and circle the wagons, mix up your metaphors, whatever but equate the Liberal survival with the death of moderate politics. A far right PM, a hard left NDP, Ontario the moderate entity, we need you know. This argument necessitates a FRANK reading of the country, one that on the face appears counter-productive, but SPIN is your enemy now, address reality and try to train the gaze of what is at stake here.

Anyone who really wants to get rid of Harper must understand that a Liberal freefall in Ontario most likely helps the Conservatives. Just as we Liberals are see the relative benefit of an NDP surge in Quebec, by dipper friends should also realize that a viable Liberal Party in Ontario is part of any future arrangement equation. With this backdrop in mind, the Liberals have to appeal to Ontarians sense of balance, it's been done before, but it requires an almost soul bearing honesty. As Herle notes, people in a campaign tend to be the last ones that fully appreciate the gravity, if this is the case in 2011, then the Liberal Party may well become a historic artifact. Yes, it is that serious and don't anyone delude themselves into thinking otherwise. How's that for your morning cheer :)

39 comments:

Jason Hickman said...

I'd like to see that Herle bit. Any link to it? Was it on the National? I confess, I was focused on non-campaign events in Montreal and Vancouver last night, not the news :)

Dan F said...

While I hear you, and mostly agree, if anyone wants to still cling to hope, consider this possibility:

The cratering of Liberal support is all in ridings that we don't hold. If voters are making strategic decisions, then in Liberal ridings they might still vote Liberal, even as the Lib vote tanks in ridings where we didn't have a chance anyway. If strategic voters also come out in ridings that were won by Cons over Libs last time but without a majority in the riding, we might even pick up a few seats.
Hope over fear.

Steve V said...

Yes, on The National after the At Issue panel. Good advice.


This scares the hell out of me:

http://www.thehilltimes.ca/dailyupdate/view/liberals_not_deviating_from_campaign_plans_despite_ndps_national_surge_in_polls_04-26-2011

J Teller said...

Re: getting rid of Harper.

The Liberal numbers are so low that replacing Harper with a Liberal minority government is a mathematical impossibility. I would prefer a Liberal government to one led my the NDP because though I am not a Liberal at heart, I'd vote for a Liberal in a New York minute to keep the NDP as far the hell away from the levers of power. I would prefer even a Liberal led coalition with the NDP to an NDP coalition with the Liberals because the prospect of a Prime Minister Jack Layton is freaking scary - scarier than the worst kitten eating nightmare scenario the Liberals have used to frame Stephen Harper over the past eight or so years.

The momentum that is building for the dippers is, in my view, less about people embracing NDP policy and more of a referendum on the state of national politics in this country. But let's remember, the NDP surge is still limited to Quebec. They're vote splitting with Liberals in Ontario and it's anyone's guess as to whether the surge in NDP support will spillover.

The best Liberals can hope for is to get out their vote and beat the NDP in Ontario where it matters. I believe that Quebec's flirtation with the NDP will disappear just as it did for the Tories after 2006.

Very scary times for Liberals. If the party cannot place with something respectable in this election, it might just as well fold because no messiah is going to resurrect it should the NDP surge continue to gain momentum.

Steve V said...

"The momentum that is building for the dippers is, in my view, less about people embracing NDP policy and more of a referendum on the state of national politics in this country. But let's remember, the NDP surge is still limited to Quebec."

First sentence yes, second, absolutely not.

Jerry Prager said...

What I find so strange in all this, is that Ignatieff has turned into an excellent campaigner,and continues to draw large crowds however, it is at this point, that his real leadership test occurs, if this is a last stand, then the character displayed during the stand, is going to be critical. No hysterics, just resolve.
While I am nowhere near as afraid of an NDP government as I have been of Mr. Contempt, I actually like most of the Liberal platform. I just wish they had gone long on democratic reform, and we never would have come to this.

J Teller said...

Jerry - you might think that an NDP government is less scary than one led by the Tories, but has anyone actually costed their platform? Forget about the existing deficit, we're talking about a platform that will break what little is left in the piggy bank.

Steve V said...

"What I find so strange in all this, is that Ignatieff has turned into an excellent campaigner,and continues to draw large crowds however"

Literally the best worst campaign I've every seen. It really boils down to not having a formidable Que strategy, and it's all exploded from there. Anyways, rather than pretend it will get better, say "don't panic", people need to understand the gravity here, it is a HISTORIC moment for the party, that if played improperly will be just that.

Scott @ Prog Blog said...

Jerry: The Liberal democratic reform plank and its leanness is very infuriating to those who know some of the inside strategy on that. After the election, I may vent some on it, despite that probably putting me on the wrong side of some Liberal folks on the Hill.. but they utterly blew it on what they decided to propose.

Jerry Prager said...

Scott, I had some inside information myself on what was supposed to happen, clearly the Party brass got in the way, and will take the fall for it.

J Teller, I agree the NDP platform is more of an idea fest than a costed plan, but then, not even they expected to be where they are.

J Teller said...

Jerry: I agree that dippers could never have conceived of this measure of success. So the question for Liberals is a tough one: do you try to get rid of Harper once and for all by switching your vote to the dippers or do you try to salvage the party which looks like it's pretty much done like dinner next Tuesday morning?

sharonapple88 said...

Literally the best worst campaign I've every seen.

A good first few weeks. I'm amazed how many punches they took without hitting back the last two weeks. They needed humour and intelligence to respond back... and they haven't.

do you try to get rid of Harper once and for all by switching your vote to the dippers or do you try to salvage the party which looks like it's pretty much done like dinner next Tuesday morning?

Vote intelligently. Check what the polls are for your local riding. Who are the top two candidates. Support the non-Con one.

Mark Francis said...

I don't think people care about the NDP platform as much as some would hope. Heck, they aren't expected to form government, and even if they did, it would be a minority, and their platform would end up heavily modified.

Have you seen the Conservative environmental plan costed? It's huge, with no government revenue to back it and it is completely uncosted in the Conservative platform. But that's okay. No one expects the Conservatives to do it, so they get away with it. Likewise, I expect many people don't take NDP numbers seriously.

No, the only LPC defense left is for the Libs to argue that voting NDP will vote split Ontario too much and let Harper walk up the middle to a majority.

This is going to be very hard for the Libs. The NDP are the only party with clear upwards momentum. Harper is going nowhere, working instead on chasing a few thousand votes ina few dozen ridings. The LPC and Bloc are tanking, and the GPC is not after anything other than Lunn's riding, which it is looking like they may get.

I live in Davenport. It's a Liberal riding, but I'm telling you right now it could switch. The NDP are in a campaign frenzy, and I see their signs everywhere. I'm even seeing NDP and Lib signs on the same lawn (home owner vs. tenant, or husband vs. wife I suppose). Ditto with Parkdale High Park. Gerard Kennedy is in a fight with Peggy Nash, that's for sure.

But I ramble...

k said...

If the Nanos tracking poll numbers this morning are to be believed I honestly think that Stephen Harper is heading towards a majority Government just based on the strength of the CPC numbers in Ontario.

I see a replay of the 1993 and 1997 scenario where the CPC wins a lot of riding's due to vote splitting by the Libs/NDP.

After a Harper majority whomever forms the Official opposition will be moot. Jack Layton may win the battle but his party may be the one to lose the war.

Jack Layton is making all kinds of wild promises to every voting segment, and what he has promised Quebec vis a vis reopening the constitution and tinkering with the clarity act is dangerous and irresponsible and something he can't possibly deliver upon anyway.

If the NDP does elect many MPs from Quebec the majority of them will be left wing ideologues and sovereigntists/separatists who have no real allegiance to Canada.

Quebecers will become dillusioned with Jack very rapidly because he will have promised much and delivered nothing. The lustre of Mario Dumont and the ADQ also dimmed very quickly.

The Liberals will be in the wilderness for four years which is not necessarily a bad thing. They can concentrate on their brand and rebuild without the burden of having to provide any kind of responsible opposition.

Bay Street is already sounding the alarm about the NDP being anywhere near the levers of power.

A Liberal merger with the NDP is not the answer. Many Liberal are Liberals because they are socially progressive but are economically realistic and are not socialists. That is why many former Progressive Conservatives came into the fold, and they are the sort of voters who want no part of a Party that has socialists running the show.

I honestly don't know what the answer is but after four years of a Harper majority IMHO NDP voters will be left scratching their heads because Jack Layton will have accomplished nothing and will have not been able to stop Stephen Harper from doing anything.

Layton is at his core an ineffective opposition leader whose only skill is to whine, bitch, and complain about everything.

It will also be a tragedy of epic proportions if Jack Layton is unable to even finish his term because lets face facts here he is a man who has had cancer surgery and has a disintegrating hip so his health issues are a factor.

Stephen Harper was brought down on a contempt of Parliament citation and that should have been the focus of opposition attacks but Jack Layton decided it should be about Michael Ignatieff's attendance record.

Stephen Harper thanks him for it.

Steve V said...

I agree, the only argument now is that Ontario must stop a Harper majority.

sharonapple88 said...

Stephen Harper was brought down on a contempt of Parliament citation and that should have been the focus of opposition attacks but Jack Layton decided it should be about Michael Ignatieff's attendance record.

That's rich considering that a second NDP candidate just went on vacation during the election.

If the Nanos tracking poll numbers this morning are to be believed I honestly think that Stephen Harper is heading towards a majority Government just based on the strength of the CPC numbers in Ontario.

Yikes. Worst of all worlds.

sharonapple88 said...

More on some of the Quebec candidates by the NDP

"Two candidates running for office are Charmaine Borg in Terrebonne-Blainville and Matthew Dubé in Chambly-Borduas. The two are co-presidents of the McGill NDP club. Mr. Dubé’s posts on Twitter are largely devoted to hockey, comic books and computer games, with the occasional forward of tweets by NDP Leader Jack Layton.

"Another, Sana Hassainia, who is running for the NDP in Verchères-Les Patriotes, makes no mention on her Twitter page of her NDP connections, except when asked by others to confirm that she is in fact the NDP candidate."

Tof KW said...

sharonapple88, those are just two of the NDP placeholder candidates in Quebec ...of 75 running, 72 of them never expected to win.

Tof KW said...

I truly hope NDP voters in Ontario understand the consequences here. Harper owns the prairies, and with 106 seats in Ontario there is more than enough here for Harper to win a majority if the LPC+NDP split the vote and allow him to sweep the province.

The NDP will make historic gains this election regardless. Please everyone vote with your heads and not your hearts. Whoever has the best chance to take out a CPC candidate in your riding - vote for them.

Otherwise the 62% that don't want a Harper majority ...will get just that.

Kirk said...

Calling for strategic voting now is just asking people to vote in the dark.

If the Liberals won the riding or were second do you still vote for them in the face of a NDP surge? Or do you vote NDP even if they were 3rd in the last election? How do you know?

You don't.

This is the ultimate vote splitting election for the "anti-Harper" voters.

You can pick your polls but even the numbers that 2 weeks ago would have resulted in a Con minority are more likely to bring a majority for Harper. He will spend the next 4 years in power reshaping Canadian institutions to his liking, spending hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars advertising how good he is doing to help him get 4 more years after that.

Harper is the winner this election, Jack just thinks he is...

sharonapple88 said...

sharonapple88, those are just two of the NDP placeholder candidates in Quebec ...of 75 running, 72 of them never expected to win.

I know. I'm all for getting people of various walks of life into government, and I love hockey, comics, and video games, but it's clear that some of these people don't take it seriously to any real degree. And yay, we're going to elect them. Jokes going to be on us... although the upcoming scandals will probably be good for some laughs.

I truly hope NDP voters in Ontario understand the consequences here. Harper owns the prairies, and with 106 seats in Ontario there is more than enough here for Harper to win a majority if the LPC+NDP split the vote and allow him to sweep the province.

It's looking that way. A small percentage difference won the election for the NDP in Ontario back in 1990.

The only comfort I'd get out of a Harper Majority is that we elect the government we deserve.

sharonapple88 said...

If the Liberals won the riding or were second do you still vote for them in the face of a NDP surge? Or do you vote NDP even if they were 3rd in the last election? How do you know?

Check out the percentage difference from the last election and potentially the lawn signs on who the two biggest candidates are.

Some of the NDP candidates are non-existant in some of the ridings. In the one next to mine, there are hardly any NDP signs, and the ones that are up are for Jack Layton (smaller signs, about half that size for the actual candidate). I haven't seen any NDP signs in my riding, and I have absolutely no idea who the NDP candidate is.

k said...

If Stephen Harper does garner a majority we will get the Government we deserve.

Stephen Harper will have four unfettered years to wreak havoc on Canadian Institutions and our democracy and he most certainly will. Look how egregiously he has acted as a minority PM.

Stephen Harper will break the back of the Canadian Wheat Board and he will take an axe to the CBC.

For all of Harper's recent musings of support of Canada's single payer universal health care he never was an advocate of it.

Stephen Harper will do what he wants unopposed. He will have complete control of the HOC and the senate and will have the ability to appoint judges to the SCOC who hold extreme right wing views far outside the mainstream of majority Canadian opinion.

Jack Layton and the NDP will not be able to stop any of it.

If Ontario decides to go Conservative this October than there will be four years of Conservative dominance at a provincial and federal level.

After four years of that which party will be in a better position to come roaring back?

Most will come to realize that they were led down the garden path by Jack Layton and his only real legacy to Canada is Harper. It is a complete betrayal of what the NDP supposedly stands for because in a majority Harper administration Layton will be a toothless tiger who yaps much and delivers nothing.

It kind of reminds me of a guy named Judas who sold out for a few pieces of silver.

Kirk said...

That may be fair advice, sharonapple88, but I doubt lawn signs have ever been a good indication of wins. Lots of NDP signs in my neighbourhood last election but the Liberals won it by just 2000 votes over the Cons even if the NDP won the local polls. This election I'm not seeing many signs from any candidate.

Clearly, in this election the rise of the NDP is hardly the result of any strategic voting surge. It is just the very vote splitting everyone not a Con worried about 6 weeks ago.

This is already a "vote-splitting" election. Too late to call for strategic voting now.

Tof KW said...

Kirk wrote:
If the Liberals won the riding or were second do you still vote for them in the face of a NDP surge? Or do you vote NDP even if they were 3rd in the last election? How do you know?

This is a good tool, just enter your postal code on the right and see what the latest polls are saying about your riding:

www.avaaz.org/en/canada_elections

sharonapple88 said...

Yes!

Here's a direct link to their widget:

http://www.projectdemocracy.ca/widgets-english

In Ontario, the NDP's numbers have moved, but not enough to overtake Conservative candidates, or change the results of a riding where the top candidates were Liberal-Conservative.

The NDP will probably pick-up ridings where they were close or the second candidate in the previous election. If they were a distant third in the previous election, they're not likely to pick-up the seat. Take Mississauga-Cooksville East. Here are the results

Liberal: 50.2%
Conservative: 32.5%
NDP: 11.4%

Even with a swing-up in Ontario, the NDP's unlike to catch either the Conservative or the Liberal candidate. There's almost a 39% gap between NDP-Liberal, and a 21% gap between NDP-Conservative. The Conservatives' numbers in Ontario have increased, and it's likely to help them in the race.

In a riding like Mississauga South, where the results were in 2008 (rounding up)

Liberal: 44% (20,500)
Conservative: 39% (18,300)
NDP: 8.8% (4,100)

The latest polls show the Conservatives ahead.

http://www.projectdemocracy.ca/mississauga-south

The increase in NDP votes keep it a distant third, but if the votes shifted to the Liberals, the riding would have the Conservatives losing.

I'd note the same about ridings with the NDP, like Oshawa -- best to go NDP.

Kirk said...

I think both sharonapple88 and TofKW are illustrating my point.

Sharon is showing how vote splitting in Mississauga South is turning a Liberal seat into a Conservative seat.

Going to my riding, as TofKW suggests, won in 2008 by the Liberals I see that the Cons are ahead now with a NDP surge in the riding.

That's vote splitting. Strategic voting is just a wish never a reality.

Paul said...

http://threehundredeight.blogspot.com
...this guy seems a bit more real than some of the poll numbers we see being thrown around.

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

News stories about CPC support not enough for majority and NDP rising are perfect combination to allow CPC majority, as 10-20% of politically unengaged Cdns who decide elections will vote NDP in Ontario without understanding consequences. Which NDP won't admit. Unless Chretien cuts through static, things are gonna be bad, for Cda. "My country before my party" - Dion. Wish NDP understood.

sharonapple88 said...

That's vote splitting. Strategic voting is just a wish never a reality.

Vote splitting is going on right now. Hopefully, some of that could be consolidated.

...this guy seems a bit more real than some of the poll numbers we see being thrown around.

Who knows what will happen until it happens. I think that guy may be a bit too relaxed about what happened.

Checking out all the stories... people say they want policy, but Ignatieff gets on the Google news frontpage by admitting he'd smoked pot in the past.

Jerry Prager said...

Scot and Steve and all.

If a full-bodied democratic renewal package was created, does it still exist; can it be leaked ? If so, it should be done. Then all Liberals who support that document should stand behind it, stake their campaigns on it.
It requires a coup within the Liberal Party, democrats splitting with corporatists, siding with new democracy through liberal renewal in the name of greatest equal liberty.
I still say Ignatieff should offer National Unity Cabinet government, house as loyal opposition, based on renewal package.
Canada needs to get past this, electing the NDP as opposition reminds me of the military protectorate governing Egypt after they swept up their revolution and went home to wait for a democracy that the world desperately needs to see sweep the planet, starting in Canada.
Are you up for a coup Liberal democrats ? Put the renewal package on the electoral table, Canada wants to judge it for ourselves. The world needs it on the table.
If nothing else, surviving Liberals will have something to negotiate with, guidelines and timelines.
Release the package if it exists. Announce it's contents, get candidates to make their stand with it. And then we shall see.

Steve V said...

Layton is now ahead of Harper on Nanos leadership index, big up for Jack, BIG down for Harper.

Niles said...

Well, I have yet to meet any of my relatives under 25 who think the Liberals are any different than the Conservatives. So, whoever managed to undersell the Liberals or oversell 'meh, they're all the same' did a fine job.

Given that and the fact the media has glommed onto "orange revolution" which keys into the thing the kids have been most likely to watch on media the last while, aka the uprisings in countries around the world that had to do with the colour orange...

I can fully understand why voters might consider themselves doing a Canadian version of taking to the streets protesting. This is the election post-Egypt/dominodominodomino. This is the election where there is a LOT of social media against Harper. Are they voting for policies? Or are they voting for a colour and a meta-idea somewhat repped by one party?

Even most of the 'regular' voters aren't voting for policies, they're voting for their tribe. Voting for policies would mean actually engaging longer than half-listening to something blathered between the weather and the sports.

I'm not scared of the NDP. I'm scared of Harper and his corporate and American backers. I can pray the vote turnout is BIG, because not only does that lessen any chance of Harper getting in via a split, it teaches people who didn't vote before, THEIR-VOTE-MATTERS.

When people around the world are eating bullets for better governance, are we really going to start shrieking about people actually voting? What if the turnout is greater than 75%? 85% How do we complain? Is this really only committed voters shuffling around?

The media is making hay out of covering what finally ties Canada into the world surge of protesting repression. The Liberals have been boringly sane. Where the heck is the fun in that next to passion and revolution?

I was informed at one point Harper would loooove to have only the NDP to take on. Just the right and the left and no 'middle'. Is that still true? I wouldn't mind seeing the Liberals pushed more progressive. I wouldn't mind seeing them gain on the fallout in ridings where the NDP aren't strong.

And yes, I am still afraid all this would split the vote and let Harper start snarling about losers and he has a mandate.

Koby said...

Any Liberal attack on Jack Layton just fuels the NDP is on the march narrative and that the Liberals are bleeding left and right. The Liberals need to focus their guns on the Conservatives. They stand a far better chance of being successful and the vast majority of their losses will come at hand the hands of the Conservatives. The NDP are nowhere in the 905. Most important of all the Liberals need to paint the Conservatives not themselves as having lost the most support. According to some polls this is true.

Kirk said...

Layton is now ahead of Harper on Nanos leadership index, big up for Jack, BIG down for Harper.

Harper is keeping his head down hoping that this vote splitting gets him his majority.

Harper's played a terrible campaign only salvaged by his 2 years of pre-election attacks on Ignatieff and having his ass covered by a media that is overwhelmingly sycophantic to the Conservatives.

However, if Harper plays these last few days as badly as the first few of the campaign then he could see Layton kick him right out of the PM's office. Not a certainty but a real possibility.

Though it would still require the media to pick up on Layton's gains vs. Harper instead of just focusing on Layton vs. Ignatieff.

Kirk said...

Koby, I agree. There's more to gain for the Liberals in focusing on the center-right and center voter that Harper has lost. It's also a more natural area for the Liberals to pursue.

This, of course, is speculating that Harper is holding his base and losing the moderates in those polls showing him down from 2008 and from 2 months ago.

Harper's been a turd this election. The media not blinking at his lies and few mentioning his hypocrisy (coalitions and "you should question authority") is what has saved him.

A Harper minority will be the worst outcome for the Liberals and a great unending soap opera for Canadians. And, frankly, the Liberals haven't played the minority Parliament game all that well.

Let Layton form a clean minority from the largest number of seats. I'm sure he'll do amazingly as PM (sarcasm), put the Conservatives in complete disarray from losing power and the Liberals have a better shot as looking like the better alternative/next govt.

My fear is the Liberals will think just changing their leader is what they need to do to get back into power as if the Cons won't shoot at a different target.

Better fund raising and a signature policy/message that has nothing to do with taxation will do more for the Liberals than changing the target at the top.

Miles Lunn said...

I still think the Liberals could come in second in seats, maybe not votes but certainly seats. For starters the NDP surge has been much weaker in English Canada than Quebec and could easily swing back to where it was before. Also the NDP surge in Quebec may actually clear the way for a Liberal majority in the long-run. Because many inexperienced candidates will get elected, I wouldn't be surprised if they face the same thing the ADQ did after nearly winning in Quebec and since Quebec is more left leaning than any other province, with the Bloc out of the way, this would create an open path for a Liberal government and in the right conditions and majority. It might also force the Conservatives to move closer to the centre as that would be the only way they could win.

Steve V said...

Miles

Perhaps, but that is a lot of IFS. Once the NDP establish themselves in Que, it is entirely possible they replace the Libs, I've warned about it for years now, and it's happening, albeit WAY faster than I could have imagined. I'd also add with Muclair the heir apparent, the future looks scary as well.


Kirk

Harper has ran a brutal campaign, and if I hear on pundit try to put lipstick on that pic, well... Thank christ he had 27 million of our money and millions of his own, or he'd be done for sure by now.

Miles Lunn said...

Steve V - You might be right on Quebec, but I have also noticed whenever a party surges too much, they win in ridings they never expected to win and that means they elect total rookies who are incompetent. Quebec generally doesn't like those who look incompetent. In 2007, the ADQ provincially won in several areas no one expected them to and many saw this as a re-alignment, yet it was not as they crashed and burned after. I don't know what will happen, I don't even know if the NDP surge will materialize in Quebec. They will win more seats, but I could still see them getting as little as 15 seats in Quebec especially when you consider some of the riding polls and incumbency factor.