Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Polls Provide Cautionary Tales

The latest rash of polling consistently shows support for the Harper Conservatives on the wane, a very strong NDP alternative. Some polls have the NDP in the lead, others like Abacus show a dead heat.  These are heady days for the NDP, no question about it.  But, underneath some of the polling, perhaps a cautionary tale, within that ample intellectual room for the "co-operation" argument.

There exists a disconnect between rising disapproval in all things Harper government and support numbers.  For the purposes of trends, Abacus begins with a baseline of August 2011.  Here we see a 10% erosion in "right direction" numbers for the country.  We also see a very concerning 12% rise in disapproval of the Harper government (last August 43% approval/37% disapproval, now 34% approval, 49% disapproval).  On the economy, we see a 9% drop in the federal government's handling.   Harper's personal numbers see a 1% gap in approval/disapproval last August rise to 14% today, another troubling trend line.

Taken in totality, the numbers are very, very concerning for this government, no doubt about it.  However, when we review the party support numbers, we see a more muted picture, which deserves attention.  Last August, Abacus had it 38% for the Conservatives, 32% for the NDP and 19% for the Liberals.  Today, we see 35% each for the Conservatives and NDP, 20% for the Liberals.  In other words, despite abysmal trends for the government, Harper, the Conservatives have only dropped 3%, not even outside the polls margin of error.  In addition, the NDP up 3%, Liberals static, fairly minor moves when juxtaposed against the government performance/Harper numbers.   I think this an imperative point for those giddy with dreams of conquest, the questions are a bit more complicated moving forward.

The opposition are not fully maximizing the disquiet with this government.  Approvals are now SO bad for the Conservatives that we see competition, outright leads, but this reality still hasn't captured the underlying unease, the full price isn't being paid.  That the government can still remain tied nationally, despite abysmal numbers, further argument for proponents of co-operation, those that want some agreement that makes "opposition" succinct and efficient.   Despite these worrying trends for Harper, we still have a situation where a slight rebound, "less bad" if you will, translates to another mandate, almost absurd on one level.

For those of us who wish the Conservatives no good fortune, these polls are clearly encouraging.  However, beyond the headlines and pom poms, there still exists a structural disconnect within the polling that leaves some room for government optimism.  To my mind, a shrewd alternative looks for ways to SNUFF out any escape routes. 

8 comments:

Robert McClelland said...

The opposition are not fully maximizing the disquiet with this government.

That's easier said than done when the conservatives have a huge media advantage; particularly against the NDP.

Steve V said...

Another reason to consider "alternatives".

weeble said...

Is it truly the 'fault' of the media for Harper's ability to survive poor performance? I think a lot has to do with his control of the message, as well the opposition are unorganized. Mulcair squanders opportunities because he is fighting the issues he creates (oilsands), so instead of calling to question the government he is defending his position.
Its disillusioning for a common Canadian to see what is happening to our country.

the salamander said...

move away from concerns about polls.. and the related 'huge media advantage' .. and 'control of the message' to what Steve V points out ...

ah yes .. 'alternatives' .. When the highway is blocked .. you detour around .. like the two exemplars who bushwacked a startled Joe Oliver when he thought he was safely getting good press in a Canadian hospital.

That was not a poll that embarrassed him & chased him away..
that was an active community .. in this case 2 ferocious exemplars from within the medical community

Or.. you emulate what marine biologist Alexandra Morton does for the Canadian environment with ZERO funding while Federal Fisheries/Oceans huddle and deny.. with their astounding budget.. Instead of firing needed MFO personnel .. why not hire Alexandra.. and actually integrate her into a leadership/applied research role ?

If you can't get past 'ethical' Kathryn Marshall in the Huffyington op ed lineup .. well find a solution that blows her noyz out of the ethical tailings ponds.. I dunno .. get ten other folks to send her 50 emailed comments every day.. or ?

Get behind Dr. Schindler re poisonous leaching from the same damn tar sands tailings ponds.

Stand up via a personal blog for elders who's vote was derailed..

Support or raise awareness about The Council of Canadians.. and their attempt to redress electoral fraud

Question or discuss with your neighbors why John Baird and Stephen Harper can attack other parties for requesting what The Harper Party promised to deliver

Go after louts like Rob Anders, Dean Del Mastro, Clement, Oda ..
Question them, as well as your local MP .. via email or phone ...
or robo call ......... ...... ....... .......
After all.. how many lines are in their office ?
Stand outside their office, with a sign ..

My bet it there are a ton of Canadians with far more effective ideas than mine.. Ideas that bypass mainstream media.. and get to the heart of Canada and our electorate ..

janfromthebruce said...

Actually weeble, according to the majority of polls, Mulcair did not squander any opportunity but created an distinct position on environmental sustainability and economic viability. Staking out a "clear position" and defending it appears to be refreshing, so much so that the aggregate of polls has the NDP ahead of the Conservatives.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tory-ei-reform-ndp-oil-sands-barbs-lay-bare-regional-split-in-polls/article4323387/

Steve V said...

I agree salamander, well put.


I have to agree with Jan, I don't think the oilsands fight is costing the NDP at the moment, if anything it is firming up support that is electorally significant for future prospects. As long as the argument doesn't drift into a question of national unity, I think the issue is working for the NDP.

Gloria said...

Harper is doing an excellent job on his own, destroying his credibility. Mulcair is just sitting back, and permitting Harper to destroy himself.

Communist China owns huge chunks of the tar sands. They are bringing their own people to work the tar sands. Communist China, is also bringing swarms over, to build the Enbridge pipeline.

Merging Canada in with Communist China, is not a good idea. China has been hacking into other country's secret files. Seems it was a terrible mistake, to buy electronic components from Communist China. The U.S. had infected electronics in their missiles and other weapons. Harper had redistributed those infected components.

80% of BC citizens are supporting the F.N. to keep the atrocities of the Enbridge pipeline and the dirty tar tankers, out of BC. We have no wish, to support Communist China's easy access, to destroy our beautiful BC.

Spiteful Stevie has done enough damage to BC, and the people. The NDP will likely be the next government in BC. No doubt the BC citizens support Mulcair.

janfromthebruce said...

Thanks Steve. I think China is acting like any other corporate entity does in a foreign land - exploit resources, which Canadian mining companies do the same. Sadly, Gloria, we could substitute said Canadian mining company in our tirade below and substitute an underdeveloped country and it would fit - essentially we are no better or worse than China - sadly that is true.