Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More See Shift Than Shaft

If you listen to the media, the Green Shift is an albatross around Dion's neck. However, if you look at the only empirical measures, the polls, we consistently find plenty of latitude with voters to sell the plan. NANOS asked a very specific question, and the results show that, once again, the Green Shift doesn't necessarily hurt the Liberals. The question:
QUESTION: In the election there is currently a proposal to tax utilities, oil companies and others that pollute and use the money primarily for income tax cuts and social programs for the poor. Thinking of your personal situation do you think this proposal, if adopted would…

Three possible responses, the initiative would "make no difference" to personal finances, it would "increase you taxes and living costs" and it would "save you money on taxes and living costs". The results:
No difference...38%
Unsure 8%

The percentage that sees a savings, or personally revenue neutral, stands at 52%, while those that see an increase is 40%. I think it entirely correct to lump the neutral and savings categories together, because they represent the percentage of the populous that don't buy into the "tax grab", "economic ruin", and all the other fear mongering. By a fair majority, people see no economic impact with the Green Shift, the shift is either net neutral or beneficial.

More interesting, NANOS breaks down the numbers by party affiliation. Almost 63% of Bloc supporters fall into the two desirable categories, 55% NDP, 60% Lib, Greens 50%, Cons 44%. What that means, a third of self described Liberal voters see an increase, 40% of Green voters, the two parties who promote the plan. This fact means that, even the sceptical are still willing to support these parties, which also means, that the issue isn't entirely make or break for voters. The numbers also say, many who vote for the other alternatives believe the plane will be neutral or beneficial, that fact speaks to potential growth.

When you see 40% of total respondents think the plan will lead to higher costs personally, then you drill down, and find many in that group already support the Libs and Greens, you realize that outside of the Conservative base, there is plenty of room for traction. Put differently, there is really nothing to support this created narrative that the concept is too complicated to understand, people tend to project perceived weak leadership onto acceptance of an idea. The idea still has potential, no one need abandon or downplay, it just needs to be sold effectively, and the populous hasn't bought into the Conservative frames. Noteworthy, 44% of Conservative voters don't buy the higher cost proposition, only by a small majority do they see a big downside, the faithful are divided.

At the very least, the above confirms what others have shown, Canadians have different opinions on the subject, and anyone who assumes rejection or horrible political optics, has nothing but their own personal bias to support that opinion. Yes, many don't buy the Green Shift, but clearly many more see a benefit, or don't see the economic impact that the propaganda suggests. I say, keep selling hard, the more informed the better, the idea anything but an albatross.


Anonymous said...

My husband said - people worry about a dollar a day cost, but when beer goes up in price, the complain and go buy a 6 pack.

They moan about the price of gas, all the while running their boats and other motorized toys.

We laughed the other day, a neighbour saw that butter was 2 cents off in a particular store....and drove miles and miles burning of gas to save 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Great post Steve.

Anonymous. How true. Could your neighbour by chance be a con?