Thursday, March 27, 2008

Canadians Reject Afghan Extension

I admit some surprise, given the compromise agreement by Canada's two main parties, but according to Angus Reid, Canadians overwhelming reject the Afghan mission extension. Some concern for both the Liberals and Conservatives in these numbers:
Opinion on extension:

Disagree 58%

Agree 37%

Support for an extension is lowest in Quebec (66% to 27%), which clearly plays well for the Bloc.

Bad news for the Conservatives, a 2 to 1 margin believe the government has failed to explain the mission (61% to 31%).

For the Liberals, it would appear the political support for an extension isn't reflective of supporters opinions. When Liberal voters are asked their opinion:
Strongly agree with extension 11%

Moderately agree 24%

Moderately disagree 20%

Strongly disagree 43%

Only 35% of Liberal supporters agree with the extension, a full 63% disagree. By comparison, Conservative supporters are on side 72% to 25%. It would appear the Liberal support is vulnerable on this issue, the potential for other parties to peel off voters.

A curious result, despite Canadians disapproval of the extension, they still believe our presence is a good thing in Afghanistan:
Benefiting Afghans 59%

Not Benefiting 27%

Maybe, the best way to reconcile the results, is that Canadians still see this as a military mission, and they don't support that concept.

My own instincts assumed support would be higher for the extension, simply as a function of the perceived compromise, the main players in agreement. However, that union would appear to have no bearing on public opinion, and now that the ownership is somewhat shared, both parties have a long way to go to make their case with voters.


Anonymous said...

What irks me about the Liberal position is during the leadership race, the party and delegates had a clear choice: Dion/Kennedy were crystal clear that they were opposed to extending the mission. Ignatieff and Brison supported the extension. Rae, as with most policy issues, was fuzzy.

Well, the party spoke, or at least we thought we did.

Did the facts of the mission change? If anything, they only grew greater to support a withdrawl in 2009.

So what happened? And more importantly, why would the Liberal Party of Canada expect me to write a check to them, to volunteer on a local campaign, to give a sh*t when they ignored what we, the members, expressed loud and clear in Montreal?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: "Dion/Kennedy were crystal clear that they were opposed" and "Ignatieff and Brison supported the extension."

What happened was that Dion capitulated to Iggy.

Dion ran on not extending the mission and on listening/working with grassroots Liberals/Canadians. He has since chosen Liberal leader, reversed his decision on the first and has almost done nothing on the second. I am sure Kennedy is questioned daily on his decision to support Dion.

Harper and Dion both knew from internal polling that these were the sentiments of average Canadians. Harper's successful maneuvering on this issue revealed once again that "Dion is no leader".

Steve V said...

I guess the obvious counter to the capitulation argument, the Conservatives moved towards the Liberal position. Kennedy, for example, always argued that we needed a "refocus" in Afghanistan, a move away from combat, towards reconstruction and training. You can make the case, that this new motion captured that spirit, although in the end, no firm allocation percentages.

When the leadership race was occuring, we have to remember where Harper was, because if you listen to the rhetoric then, you see it is far different from what was acknowledged recently.

Anonymous said...

steve v,

The Liberal Amendments were so weak that even a Neo-con would have had no problem supporting it. The smirking Conservatives agreed to them since it eliminated the best chance Liberals would have had in winning an election in the next 18 months, unless we have the most wicked, heat wave ever.

Dion and Iggy blew it. Those of us who are in touch with common Canadians knew that the majority of Canadians are not in favor of our continued role in Afghanistan.

Steve V said...


I understand your point, but you do have to consider where Harper has come since the convention. If you look at the priorities then, and see where they are now, it is in many ways what the Liberals argued all along. That may be why the motion was easier to swallow for some.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I'm really startin' to wonder how Liberal supporters remain supporters when the party ignores their will. 2/3's of Liberals oppose the extension that was allowed to pass by Dion and the Liberal MP's. Who do these MP's represent? We have, in effect, a LibCon Coalition that is carrying out the Con agenda with little or no opposition.

The Afghan mission was extended for one reason only: so Dion and the Liberals wouldn't have to face the electorate too soon. Canadian soldiers are facing another two years of putting their lives on the line so that Dion doesn't have to run in an election. How many will die during that senseless, needless two year extension?

Rank and file Liberals should be up in arms when 2/3's of them are in disagreement with the way their MP's vote. When will the members and supporters say they've had enough capitulation?


Dame said...

This is the THING This "deal" I won't ever accept from My party /Liberal of Course/ why ??? It just doesn't feel right .it is the worst kind of waste and Wrongness altogether..
Are you surprized ?? You should not be ..
Wrong wrong wrong in the form of Common Nonsense .
The Liberal Headquarter lost its mind... It Curled up in fatal position .. shame .

The explanation about the Nato commitment is a Bolony ... Wrong Commitment should be withdrawn..

Koby said...

"The Afghan mission was extended for one reason only: so Dion and the Liberals wouldn't have to face the electorate too soon."

You nailed it. Of course this could backfire. The Liberals punted away the only issue that they cold have run an election on and possibly win.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I think there is a large chunk of the population that opposes the Afghanistan mission outright, but others who may support it, but believe that Canada has done more than its fair share and that someone else needs to step up to the plate. If it is truly a NATO or UN mission, then that means everyone contributes, not just Canada, US, and Britain.

Möbius said...

You nailed it. Of course this could backfire. The Liberals punted away the only issue that they cold have run an election on and possibly win.

Or possibly, the party did the right thing, damn the polls, and the potential election issue.