if mistrust, cynicism and lack of faith in politics were candidates in the May 2 election, they would be almost guaranteed victory over anything else that the public has seen on offer in the campaign.
The results correspond to a previous Angus Reid-Star poll after the televised leaders’ debates a couple of weeks ago, which showed Canadians were overwhelmingly “annoyed” by what they saw of the political sparring.
A full 78 per cent of respondents to this newest survey believe politicians are less honest today and 62 per cent said they believed Canadian democracy was in crisis. More than half of the respondents — 52 per cent — said none of the political parties had satisfactory positions on issues important to the voters.
Mukerji says this 52 per cent figure is disturbing.
“You can imagine that in a two-party system, like in the United States, that might make sense. But, in Canada, there are four national parties, and there’s an extra one in Quebec. It’s not like there’s a lack of choice,” he said.
I am not trying to belittle the NDP "surge" in Quebec, but rather than these grandiose proclamations about people responding to message, it's more a case of "all these other guys have failed, okay let's go with this new shiny thing that hasn't let us down yet". I note the almost imperceivable traction in more well known jurisdictions as further proof that it's more "new kid" than compelling narrative nobody can resist. My party is tired and old, Harper is a dud and Duceppe is the same, in fact the reaction is just change for the sake, borne out of cynicism and disappointment. In English Canada, we don't really have a "fresh" option that has any credible potential, so that explains why events we perceive as "movable" barely cause any blip.
We keep telling ourselves that voters aren't cynical, but every measure suggests the opposition- they are, and nobody has really changed that perception, unless having no wear on your tires classifies as profound inspiration. People kicking themselves trying to figure out why Harper isn't floundering in the polls, chiefly it's because there is such a firm wall of pure cynicism surrounding the whole process, all the actors, all the brands, that the impetus for substantive change never manifests. Just not being the other guys in Quebec, just not having any other guys in the rest of Canada, welcome to election 2011! The numbers are staggeringly obvious.
As an aside, I'm not trying to be purposely negative, what I'm trying to ascertain is the real climate out there, not the imagined one we partisans, other commentators, media, tend to assume. Once you understand your audience, then you can be more effective in speaking to it.