Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Late Break

Nothing is etched in stone here, I sense softness and my chief worry is that if the Liberals don't appear viable, a "stop Jack" sentiment runs to the Conservatives as the only credible option. This proposition is clearly a possible scenario, and I'd describe yesterday as a bad day for the NDP, at a bad time. The trick here, separating our plugged in perceptions with that of the average voter, are they noticing what is somewhat of a "goofy" NDP at this stage?

I am not seeing a formidable counter from the NDP on the economic front. The question now is do voters ride the wave, particularly in Ontario, or do they give sober assessment? In addition, do those that have hesitations bypass the Liberals because the Conservatives offer the only "stop" option? Nanos shows a slight Liberal uptick in Ontario, if there is any NDP erosion, it must go to the Liberals or Harper will get, at least, a very strong minority and outcomes entirely unclear. Angus Reid now pegs Conservative support over 40% in Ontario, a relative uptick that could suggest my potential scenario.

It looks to me like Liberals are determined on the ground, no giving up, I think people actually appreciate we are fighting for our lives. Government out of the question, it's now a matter of saving seats, maybe grabbing a couple here and there to offset, everyone knows the reality, it's focused the fight. In terms of future relevance, these are critical days, hang on to a respectable total and it can be rebuilt, collapse, well... This spirit may help draw any potential NDP erosion to the Liberal fold, otherwise the Conservatives could benefit, then vote splits really kick in.

I expect the NDP to hold in Quebec, I expect the NDP to hold in British Columbia, I have no idea in Ontario. I don't like what I've seen the past few days, the NDP have struck me as optical amateur hour on the economy. That's a dangerous development, given all Harper has left is this sense of economic prowess. Is it "change" in Ontario, or will there be "what the hell are we doing here" emerge with late breakers? Who knows really, but when it comes to Ontario, where I've forever stressed volatily, "locking in" seems premature, even this late in the game.


Scott @ Prog Blog said...

Angus Reid's #'s for the NDP are well over 40 in Quebec and the Atlantic and at 39 in BC. That's quite formidable.

Saw the QMI/Leger Poll as being 36-31 CPC over NDP (40 NDP to 27 BQ in QC) but no other regionals. Intersting to see what they have.

Also need to be careful basing "softness" on one pollster.. A lot of that uptick for the CPC was in the Prairies, as well as the NDP dropping 3.

Crazy unpredictable election though - who'd have thunk that at the start?

Steve V said...

I mean softness in Ontario, it's there, never doubt it.

Crazy is right! Bloc fatigue is our starting point.

Omar said...

A different leader would have seen the Liberals likely able to capitalize on that Bloc fatigue, but that is neither here nor there now. It's heartening to know that if the Liberals stick with there usual switching between Anglo and Franco leaders it is a Francophone's turn at the plate. Will it be Justin Trudeau?

Steve V said...

It wasn't the leader, it was the emphasis.

sharonapple88 said...

Angus Reid now pegs Conservative support over 40% in Ontario, a relative uptick that could suggest my potential scenario.

Ugh. Damn it, my sister was polled too (Liberal supporter). So obviously, that did no good. :P

Omar said...

I agree the "emphasis" was certainly lacking, but I don't think you can totally discount Ignatieff not being embraced by the people of Quebec. I would also argue that Quebeckers made their minds up about Ignatieff without much influencing by the Conservatives negative advertising.

Steve V said...

No, I'm not discounting, but it's just more complicated than the leader. People forget at one point he was tied with the Bloc in QC, then after the Coderre nonsense, we never really crafted a narrative.

ch said...

This is Layton's fourth election and the first three he didn't make a very positive impression on Quebec. Similarly, Harper took a while to even get to where he got to in Quebec.

I have a much more positive impression of Ignatieff now that I did pre-election. Perhaps that is partly because I took the time to attend two of his town halls, which I found extremely interesting. I really hope he stays on as leader. All this "just visiting" stuff has been used up and wouldn't hurt him next time - assuming we don't have a second election within 6 months or so.

ch said...

Also as far as on the ground, in my riding we have twice the money and twice the volunteers we had in 2008, and I've heard this is common to a lot of ridings. Money continues to come in to our riding at a good rate -- which surprises me a bit since the polls and media are so gloomy. Maybe these donors feel sorry for us. I don't know. The national party also pulled in twice the money during the election. Something caused this and it happened under Ignatieff's leadership.

Steve V said...

"This is Layton's fourth election and the first three he didn't make a very positive impression on Quebec."

And, that is part of the reason one looks to Bloc fatigue first, Jack mania second.

Tof KW said...

the NDP have struck me as optical amateur hour on the economy. That's a dangerous development, given all Harper has left is this sense of economic prowess.

I don't see how voters can bleed from the NDP to Harper given they're polar opposites, then again we were clearly seeing votes going from Harper to the NDP over the course of this week. Gotta love those undecideds huh?!

NDP striking you as amateur hour on the economy is due to the fact that they ARE the NDP, remember?

Outside of Saskatchewan, where they've become the Liberals for all intensive purposes (and where they have lots of potash and petrol/gas to sell - how can you screw that up?) I don't know of any other NDP government I'd rate as being successful economic managers.

Maybe Ontario will recall Rae days before they mark that 'X'? No offense to Bob, he was the only good part of the ONT-NDP government. Most of the rest was a gong-show. I don't expect better from Jack's team, and that's the part Ontarions need to remember.

Steve V said...

One of the more delusional arguments is when people just see NDP and don't appreciate that provincial manifestions aren't "left". Doer was a centrist, Calvert was a centrist and the NDP in Nova Scotia abandoned the left, ran as centrists to get elected. So, when people point to NDP provincial governments that's fine, but it has nothing to do with federal NDP on the economic planks. But alas, orange is all that matters to spinners.

A Eliz. said...

Harper was in Richmond Hill and saying how bad the the economy would with the NDP and get this....wants Liberals to vote for sleaze !!!

Gayle said...

People are tired. They want a change. Nothing Ignatieff can do about that.

Kirk said...

The NDP need to keep "surging" in Ontario or they are doing nothing but splitting the vote and letting the Cons take Liberal ridings. Unfortunately they are not continuing to surge and we are left with nothing but a vote split due to their rise.

Tof KW said...

A Eliz - that's no surprise to you is it? After destroying the Progressive Conservatives Harper is now out to eliminate the other centrist party, the Liberals. Once all the centrists are without a political home, we are stuck with populist right-wing bullshit, or populist left-wing bullshit. And he concludes all the centrists will vote Conservative ...his brand of conservatism that is. This has all been well documented, not a hidden agenda at all.

Kirk said...

And since this is the first time in 3 days that I've been able to post here without some server side error...

Harper will govern with the support of the BQ.

He's already indicated that he will be compensating Quebec for "adopting" the HST.

The BQ will pull a Happy Jack and make Parliament "work" for Quebec. This is something they need to do to show their relevance.

Can't happen because Harper's supporters won't stand for it, you say?

Well, Harper endorsed govt deficit spending to fight the recession before his Fall Economic Update, he implemented it in his budget, he endorsed that approach in the House afterwards, he defended it in this election's English language debate and still his followers blame it all on the "Opposition".

Harper will work with the BQ and his base will excuse it all as being forced upon him by the Opposition just as they do to reconcile the disconnect from Harper's deficit spending with their belief in the British Conservative style slash and burn approach.

Steve V said...

I wonder why the error? I think that is a possibility Kirk, especially if Duceppe could extract HST money, proving worth of Bloc.

Kirk said...

I got a couple of different error codes all generated by the blogging software and not my browser. None of the error codes pointed to any actual information on the problem. Happened in all 3 browsers I tried when I tried to post or in a couple of cases just when I tried to leave the main page.

Mark Francis said...

Harper could try to spin the NDP as worse than the Bloc. Conservatives have become so dishonourable that they would at least seriously discuss it in terms of how to pull it off and survive.

The problem with an uptick in CPC support in Ontario is that it goes against the week's trend. One thing the CPC lacks is momentum.

At this point, we're all just waiting for Monday night.

William said...

Honestly Steve, I take the long view these days I’m going to pitch my opinion on this albeit from a right leaning perspective.

I’m now voting in my 8th election, and I well remember the circumstance around several more, having been raised in a family full of political junkies, it would have been hard not to be engaged, and I would like to put something forward for your consumption, and to tell you who are an obviously concerned Liberal… “Don’t sweat it”.

First, I’m a Tory, my Father was Liberal-turned Tory after the destruction done by the NEP (we can debate the merits of that another day because it’s purely an east vs west argument, regardless of what side you lived on.) I make no bones about that, and my personal prediction is 161 seats for the CPC, 65 for the NDP, 50 for the Liberals, and 29 for the Bloc, 2 ind, and one Green.

Now, that said… this election is actually the only election in the last 5 years that was actually appropriate. Paul Martin did not have to call an election in 2006. He had a huge majority left as a legacy by Chrétien, He could have ruled through that majority for another 3.5 years before “setting” the date for an election.

Something virtually all of his predecessors did with amazing keenness. Trudeau for example managed to time one right down to several days before he would have been breaking the law, and stretched the campaign out to its fullest reasonable length to boot. It was almost 5 years to the month before Clark took over .

No, it was pure hubris… a hubris born of Chrétien’s legacy leading the Liberals, and his own arrogance in believing that he was destined to by the man his Father never became, because Trudeau stole it from him.

I’ll tell you truthfully, I and many of my Tory friends in Calgary would have cheerfully lined up to vote for Martin because we thought he was brilliant, right up until he pulled the pin. We were so shocked that anyone could be that singularly stupid that voting for him was instantly off the table.

After 13 years in power the rank and file and the people directing the party forgot two simple points:

The first was that Chretien got lucky in two elections… and Chretien knew it, even when his own people were drinking cool aid and thinking they were invulnerable. In both of Chretiens last two victories, he had the advantage of a split right spectrum vote, and that a united right would make life bad for the Liberals. Combine that with a novice bumpkin named Stockwell Day, and Chretien proved his ruthless and razor sharp sense of the kill.

With a united right it would only be a matter of time before a credible leader rose, and Chretien was damn smart to retire and let someone else deal with a fractured political spectrum being screwed up by the Bloc.

William said...

The second was that when you have scandal, and you run a majority parliament, you don’t call an election, you bury the scandal and hope the electorate doesn’t remember that you did when it comes time to finally hit the polls.

Chrétien knew this (Gun Control, HRDC Scandal and Pettigrew, Strippergate and Sgro,), Trudeau knew this (NEP, recession, the highest spending Government in history creating a huge national deficit of a $160 billion… remember this 1979, and our National debt before Trudeau was $25 billion after over 100 years and two World Wars), Martin thought he was above this.

He called that election because he wanted to bask in the glory of a renewed mandate by an adoring peoples who had been awaiting his coming and the downfall of that bully Jean Chretien.

The reality is that the Liberal party has been suffering erosion in representation since the mid 90’s, and Chretien won his last election with just over 38% of the popular vote. The Liberals were in trouble in 2003, and the grand poobahs running the party were either too blind or too scared to deal with it.

What is happening today is exactly what happened in 1992 with the destruction of the PC’s. They were the same as the |Liberals… what point voting for the same party with a different name. It had become a popularity contest between leaders of two parties you could barely tell the difference between. Both needed redefining and the PC’s got the bullet first.

Now it’s the turn of the Liberals, who will be cleaning house for the next five years. Something that they should have been doing the last 5 years, but they didn’t get the memo, and now aging mandarins on their deathbeds and voter apathy is going to do it for the Liberals.

All this aside, it’s irrelevant in the greater scheme of Canadian life. The reality is that Canada is the land of the muddled middle peoples. We straddle so much of both the right and left spectrum as a majority that while the Liberals are suffering from a polarization of the spectrum today, the reality is that in the next 5 years the spectrum will get diluted again.

The NDP will be emboldened and more strident in trying to win government from the left, and the CPC will become as arrogant as the Liberals did after a decade in power, and the far right part of the part will become emboldened to try to actually govern from the far right, and Canadians will say “a pox on both your houses”, and settle for something in the middle.

That middle will once again be the Liberals, who by appealing to fiscal conservative and social Liberals, neither of which is either too fiscal or too liberal, will find themselves back in power under a seasoned Trudeau, or Kennedy, or maybe a Hall Finley… regardless, the game is hardly over, and you have to take a longer view, because this has all happened before and it will all happen again.

The Tories will strip some of the silly side of Ottawa away, they will maintain a relatively calm government in the first few years of a majority, and then the nuts will come out of the woodwork, and the NDP will be too extreme in re-butte, and Canadians will say yes to Liberal Red again.

In the meantime, batten down the hatches, hide the silver, and hang on for the storm, but for the love of the Nation, don’t vote NDP, hold your nose and vote Tory, because the Liberals will have their day again.

Aaron said...

The problem with your analysis William is that Stephen Harper is your leader right now. You guys would have an easier time with winning over the centrist vote if your leader was not so radically right wing. Massive and poorly rationalized spending on jets, jails and corporate tax cuts in a time of fiscal restraint. Not very appealing for a Liberal voter.
Not too mention five years of negative advertising and scare mongering. Shutting down parliament. Lieing about the costs of programs.

Aaron said...


Advice to a conservative friend offered with the same level of disinterest.

Get yourself a new leader.

Preferably someone who believes global warming is real and trusts empirical evidence.

Tof KW said...

William, speaking as a former federal Tory supporter, given a choice between socialists and contempt of parliament ...I choose socialists.

Economies can be fixed. We in Ontario survived an NDP government and I'm certain Canada as a whole can too.

However democracies are much harder to fix. Will a PM Layton now prorogue parliament to avoid confidence votes? How about hiding the costs of new massive social programs from parliament? Well thanks to Harper there is a precedent now isn't there?

This is why there is no bloody way I will ever vote Conservative until he and his minions are gone from the party.

Harper now wants Red Tories and Blue Grits to support him and stop the NDP??? Harper can go to hell!

Next time pick a proper leader for the party like Prentice or Lord ...not an angry political hack from the NCC.

Josh said...

Paul Martin did not have to call an election in 2006.

This is only one of the many inexplicable factual errors riddling your post. And what others said. I'm not a Liberal supporter, but I'm still having a hard time seeing how a vote for Harper Monday helps pave the way for a LIberal recovery...

Jerry Prager said...

The tide has begun to turn already, Ignatieff has genuine grit, and the party is flush with cash, his numbers are rising while Layton's and Harper's are falling: Harper's contempt for anyone but those who voted for him sealed his fate: all of this will have proven to have been caused by his all consuming hatred of liberalism: His request for help from Liberals has triggered a backlash against the PM as these comments themselves bear witness, this is not over yet.