Sunday, September 28, 2008

Off The Mat?

You don't want to read too much into a suspect trend, and even if it's true the gap is still large, but both tracking polls today show a narrowing race, possible evidence of the Liberals coming off the mat. What I find intriguing, the narrowing seems to be occuring just as Dion has done away with the scripted approach, revealing a more organic presentation, which has caught the eye of some in the media.

NANOS has a sizeable change today, a 14% gap down to 9% nationally, the regionals starting to look better. Also, Dion's leadership index has soared in the last two days, he now achieves his highest rating since the election call. Whether that is just a statistical blip remains to be seen, but again it is curious it comes just as Dion has changed gears.

The Decima poll also shows a 15% lead now down to 11%, statistically significant. Decima mirrors NANOS on a Conservative slump in Ontario, they now have them at their lowest total since the election. The Liberals are rebounding, but the NDP remains strong, which may explain why Dion went after them more directly today. Both pollsters show a slight uptick in Quebec, with the Liberals coming up from their historic lows.

You can debate whether something is afoot, or this is simply some soft Liberal support coming home (a fact which I'm still confident we will see in the dying hours of this campaign, complete meltdowns aside). However, what may be relevant, if the media begins to buy into the "narrowing" heading into this crucial week. Dion did seem to curry some favor with his tactical pivot late this week, so couple that with better polling, and a fickle media might change focus. I'm not counting on anything, but I also know from past experience, the media likes to tear down what they've built up, particularly when the horserace gets boring. We'll see....


Anonymous said...

If it was the teleprompter that was the liability in the first few weeks of the campaign, then why did the people use it in the first place?

Jerry Prager said...

I think there is a change coming because Dion has been gracious under extreme duress, and that is a form of leadership that Canadians respect more than Harper's divide and debase ruling style
I also believe that change has come to the American presidential race, and in both cases it's via the issue of deregulation and its consequences, both in public health and in the economy. The Libs Harpernomics ad campaign also has relevance because Canadians are wary of ideology, and Harper's arts rants and jailing 14 year olds despite all the evidence decrying that position have begun to arouse Canadians from their lethargy. With a looming economic crisis, they have finally woke up, kind of like the Palin effect, a reality check is setting in and causing reconsideration.

Steve V said...


Isn't that the cookie cutter way?


It would be quite nice to have some sense of a turnaround heading into this week, but much of that will depend on the campaign. Let's hope we have a few "outside the box" items on our plate.

I'm really glad Dion didn't take today off, because he's blunted the NDP platform, which would have sucked up all the coverage.

Gayle said...

Another reason is that people are starting to pay attention now, as we move closer to the debates.

The LPC are making a strong case for voting for them instead of the NDP to stop Harper.

Edmonton Journal had an article today about who to vote for in two ridings in order to stop Harper.

Steve V said...


That's a good point, people only really start to engage in the later days of a campaign. In some instances, the media too!

Anonymous said...

"Isn't that the cookie cutter way?"

For a politician who was arguably much better in town halls unscripted than in making policy announcements??? Chretien avoids the teleprompter knowing that it undercuts his "little guy" approach.

RossK said...

I think it is also worth noting that the undecideds have ticked upwards in every single region.

Not to mention the fact that the absolute number (ie 25%) is significantly higher in Quebec than anywhere else.


liberazzi said...

My prediction is still Con - 140, Lib - 90. Not the desired result, but a not a total collapse either. Hopefully, all this nonsense about the Dips forming official opposition will start to go away.

The idea behind this election was to make it a referendum on Harper, instead it became a referendum on Dion. Dion needs to start focusing on Layton and Harper hard this week and take some of the soft Green vote. I believe Dion will surprise in the debate this week, as he killed in the leadership debates. Remember that Dion and his father would debate nightly on various political topics when he was growing up, so he has been doing this his whole life. Finally, I think it is time to stop having Rae and Iggy shadow him and have them go off elsewhere to shore up support. It was an idea I supported, but the MSM wants to keep playing up the overshadowing thing, so best to dispatch with this strategy now. Maybe the ol, Canadian underdog factor will also start to play into Dion's favour as well.

In any event, this is the make or break week in my opinion, so lets pray for good trend lines;)

Eric said...


Not trying to rain on your parade, it is definitely possible that the Grits are seeing a kind of resurgence now that things got really bad. (Maybe the thought of the Grits being obliterated brought some Grit-leaners over)

But polls released on the weekends have always tended to show a Grit bump from the other days of the week. I'm wondering if there's some statistically significant effect on the weekends and polling.

Check it out though, Nanos showed the race tightening last weekend as well. And the weekend before that too.

After the election is over I'd like to analyze the trends depending on what hte final result is.

Anonymous said...

Since I don't watch TV, a tip as to when the debates are would be appreciated.


Anonymous said...

But polls released on the weekends have always tended to show a Grit bump from the other days of the week.

That's because us conservatives are all out hunting and stuff on the weekends. We love killing animals!

Steve V said...


That's a fine false argument and all, but THREE of the days on this poll are weekdays. The sun shines...

JimmE said...

Here's what I'm seeing at the doors in my riding:
(a 905 that went Tory last time)
We've run out of large signs (some leftover last time) we've more sign locations 10 days ago, than at the end of the last election. There are more volunteers & we have more money. Canvassing with the candidate last week - we collected two cheques! from non-member voters at their doors (I've never seen that, not in 35+ years of doing this!). I'm getting this overwhelming sentiment from the undecided: "well, I don't want Harper back". This lets me leave them with the stats of the last election, & the best way to stop Harper is voting for my candidate. This is not my first Roedo, we just need a few more breaks with the national campaign and we will win this riding.
Oh, & I just wonder, has Mr K. ever knocked on a door in his life? I know I've knocked on doors for Ben Chin in his riding in a by election; wonder if he's knocking on doors for his pal what's her name? who parachuted into Garth Turners riding?
Just asking.

Anonymous said...

The important point here, regardless of the quotidian ebb and flow of polls is that the majority of voters ("anybody but Harper") are not buying into Harper's dangerously simplistic ideology of deregulation.

The timing could not be better as the gross failure of this economic "hands-off" approach is on display for the whole world to see, south of our border :)

Steve V said...

Just to be clear, people will note the question mark on the title, lest anyone think I'm arguing a firm trend.

Eric said...

I'm not arguing why the polls show a drop in Tory support but polls that come out (I didn't say performed) on weekends tend to show a drop in Tory support. Again I'm not sure why, but look at the Nanos polling tred, it looks like three arcs.

There was a dip on the 14th, the 20-21st and now the 27th.

Moreover, I did a compilation of the polls and last week I said the same thing to Raphael, that it seems like the Tories keep dipping down on the weekends (although I specifically said Sundays) and then recovering during the week.

JimmE said...

... I know 'noth'n 'bout what is what in the "rest of Canada" but we're close to re-taking this riding. 8-)

Steve V said...


I think it's simply because these poll results come at the end of a campaign week. The first week it was gaffe city, the second it was Ritz, this week it might be Dion. Things die down over the weekend, the coverage is less intense.

Steve V said...


That's good to hear, the stuff on the ground is the most important.

Anonymous said...

How dare Dion waste any timer attacking the NDP - all he is doing is helping Harper when he does that. Why doesn't he spend 100% of his time only attacking the Conservatives. It is unforgiveable for the leader of the opposition putting out the message that he is more scared of the 4th party than he is of the government that he supposedly wants to replace.

Steve V said...


That's just not true. If you look at the Con vote, especially the regionals, it's not up considerably when the parties were deadlocked. It's the Libs that are down, and it's because their bleeding to the NDP and Greens. Look, if everyone is going to give Jack a free ride, namely on corporate taxes, which will drive business offshore, then somebody has to point it out. I hate lowering corporate taxes too, but other countries don't, so it's naive to act like Canada is an economic island. A modest bump, okay, but Dion is right to say Layton is out to lunch on the 21st century economy. We don't make the rules anymore, that's just the reality, sink or swim. Dion needs to bring back those soft supports, don't forget the NDP was tied for fourth with the Greens two weeks ago in Ontario, their support essentially has doubled. Today he went after urban women and the NDP, which is a simple recognition of what their internals are telling them, that is where they can grow.

Anonymous said...

So, as long as its good for the Liberal party to attack the NDP its a-ok. I don't remember Liberals being so charitable when Layton attacked Liberal corruption in 2006.

Omar said...

Stephen Harper
Fat, hostile, narrowly visioned.
Not a leader.

Jack Layton
Short, smug, grandly delusional.
Definitely, not a leader.

St├ęphane Dion
Fit, amicable, confidently assured.

It's as plain as the nose on our face.

Steve V said...


Jack's made a career out of attacking Liberals, don't cry foul now. It's about freaking time, and I'll add the platform doesn't seem to be passing the sniff test. I think we might be entering the reality check phase of the campaign.

Blues Clair said...

Steve v, you see these new poll numbers from Quebec?

Bloc at 33%,
Conservatives 26%
Liberals 23%,
NDP 12%
Greens 5%

I thought Thomas Mucliar said the NDP were going to get 12 seats in Quebec this election. Maybe I heard him wrong.

Anonymous said...

"I hate lowering corporate taxes too, but other countries don't, so it's naive to act like Canada is an economic island. A modest bump, okay, but Dion is right to say Layton is out to lunch on the 21st century economy."

Agreed, Layton is completely out to lunch here. I think that the best move forward for Dion here would have been to say that he would keep the Corporate tax cuts, but implement them over a longer time frame (maybe twice as long) to ensure that we do not go back into deficit and pay down more debt. Deficit is where the Conservatives are heading fast. Deficit is where the NDP would be heading even faster.

Anonymous said...

The NDP platform costs 41 billion dollars over five years, the Liberal platform is costed at about NINETY BILLION dollars. We cannot afford this insane Liberal fiscal irresponsibility.

Steve V said...


I guess all the economists panning the NDP plan are Liberal stooges. The funniest part, I heard Layton using the NDP's Doer as an example of practical fiscal prudence. What did Doer do with corporate taxes???