Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Liberals On Side

In terms of polls, this one would be classified as a slam dunk for the Liberal position (sorry ankle bitters). Rarely do you see such overwhelming sentiment, but these numbers only reaffirm the logic in the Liberal decision:
OTTAWA - A new poll suggests Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff struck a chord with the public by compromising over the federal budget.

Ignatieff's offer to support the Conservatives' fiscal policies in return for a pledge for regular status reports on the economy won majority support from respondents across the country.

The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey found that 72 per cent of respondents supported the idea of quarterly updates, with only 20 per cent opposed.

The poll also suggested the Conservatives read people correctly in drafting the budget, with 62 per cent of respondents saying they wanted it passed and only 20 per cent opposed.

Support for Ignatieff's decision cut across all political parties, with 85 per cent of Liberal backers, 75 per cent of Bloc supporters and even 64 per cent of Conservatives saying it was a good idea.

The survey was part of a national omnibus phone survey which interviewed just over 1,000 people between Jan. 30 and Feb. 2, and is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times in 20.
75% of Bloc supporters, but what of the coalition?

Clearly, absolutely no appetite for political machinations, this poll supports previous findings, people wanted the budget passed and saw little reason to vote against. The fact the public also supports the Liberal amendment shows that nobody is buying the weak spin of "propping up" the Conservatives, merely a serious response to an extraordinary circumstance.

In terms of public sampling, it doesn't get much more conclusive than the above. Must have been a push poll or something :)


Another sport metaphor from the pollster:
Jeff Walker, senior vice-president of Harris-Decima, said it looks as ifIgnatieff hit one out of the park in this case.
"That's exactly what I saw when I got those numbers,'' he said. "It seems that he struck the right tone ... he made the right decision."

Walker also said the data suggest that the idea of an opposition coalition to replace Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government is dead.

"Among Liberals, there was almost universal support for what he did and almost arguably absolutely no support among Liberals of going for the coalition."

The survey also suggested that Canadians are more insistent than ever that their politicians put aside partisan bickering.


Greg said...

Determining right and wrong based on an Allen Gregg poll? I am not sure whether to laugh or feel sorry for you.

Steve V said...

Well I'm laughing at you, so hey join in :) Get your head out of your stubborn ass Greg. Seriously.

MrvnMouse said...

I am reserving my comment until Decima releases their full numbers and questions asked. A lot of the traditional media has a habit of exaggerating a poll to push a narrative, sadly.

Steve V said...

I'm sure you'll find something ;) Besides, it's not like this is the first poll to show budget support, we've only had about a dozen the last month.

Ted Betts said...

I agree that polls can be manipulated but those numbers are HUGE.

Greg: you are missing the point if you think this is basing right and wrong on polling.

The argument for bringing down the government and forcing an election over this budget is that it doesn't help Canadians or provide Canadians what they want. The polls indicate that this is not true, that Canadians are OK with the budget.

The Liberal response was that we also don't think it does enough, but it helps a bit and it is more important to get that bit of help to Canadians now rather than force an election. And Canadians clearly agreed with the Liberal Party of Canada.

Ted Betts said...

An important ancillary side-point on this is that a significant part of the Liberal's problems since around about 2000 is that we have been so caught up in our own internal dramas and fighting to keep power, that we have become very disconnected with the Canadian publicy and have lost our natural ability to even hear or anticipate what Canadians want or prioritize. We have completely lost our ability to take policy positions that resonate with ordinary Canadians.

While the budget may be difficult to swallow, and the grab for power that the coalition represented may be difficult to forego... it is clear that, with MI's fineline positions on the budget and on the coalition, we are regaining our ability to connect with the public, put Canadians and their priorities first above the party's priorities.

That while many in the party still seem to prefer internal dramas and power grabs to good governing and reconnecting with Canadians, most in the party are moving on finally.

And the poll also clarly shows that ordinary Canadians are taking note of the change and are liking it.

Steve V said...

The poll also found NDP support for the budget:

"68 per cent of New Democrats "

Anonymous said...

The poll also found NDP support for the budget:

"68 per cent of New Democrats "

But wait.....I thought Jack Layton ,Curiosity Cat, Greg and Cherniak-WTF told us Ignatieff sold out and the coalition would have been the best thing in the world?

Welcome to the real world


Anonymous said...

Yes Steve you're right (and were right originally) on the budget vote, it seems beyond doubt now that the public is on side with what we did (though I agree with Calgary Grit, that it doesn't necessarily HELP us in the polls, but it definitely has NOT hurt us).

But even though today's NFLD vote decision may not impact public opinion directly I worry that the decision to let Newfoundland MPs vote contrary to the rest of caucus won't come back to bit us later. It may have ruined the media honeymoon (at least for a short while) for instance.

The media coverage has been largely negative of that move (from the same people who applauded our decision to let the budget pass): see here, (Adam Radwanski) here (Rob Silver), here (Globe Ed: "No National Party Votes by Province"), and here (see Bob Fife quote at the end).

And that doesn't include stories on Ignatieff facing a "backlash" from caucus and a Star article that talks about his "fledling" leadership.

Some of these people have been VERY Liberal friendly in the past (though I know no one considers Fife Liberal friendly whatsoever, but he's been very favourable towards Iggy till now) and when they start saying this is big mistake I think you have to take a step back and listen.

And what does Ignatieff mean by "one-time" protest vote? Does that mean they have to vote for the budget at second and third reading? If not, then it's not really "one-time" is it?

Don't be surprsied if you don't see cartoons soon of Danny Williams with a leash around Ignatieff.

As I said Bob Fife is no friend of Liberals but he's repeating the spin of Williams owns Ignatieff already and since Fife did buy our spin that we had a Harper on a leash it's a set back for us.

And what if Harper brings forward in the next couple months the "throw 14 year olds in jail" bill that he promised in the last election and makes that a confidence vote? Will we see Quebec vote against but the rest of the Liberals to vote for? When will this end?

If ANY Liberal MP defies Ignatieff on a future confidence vote how does he justify disciplining them and NOT the Newfoundland MPs?

Steve V said...

"It may have ruined the media honeymoon "

As of 6:30 today, the issue is DEAD. Again, you're elevating this because you don't agree, when really the story is already over, and I doubt very much that the media turns because of THIS. Come on now.


I love that number, it's the best. It's such a powerful statement on GENERAL support for the budget, as well as the disconnect between some and the reality the Liberals were reacting to.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you read Silver or Radwanki or addressed any of the issues aside from that one line. You don't see the potential of this being a dangerous precedent, you really think the scenario of a confidence crime bill being unpopular in Quebec but popular elsewhere and the same conflicts arising?

I don't think Silver (who was one of Kennedy's top people in leadership 2006) and Radwanski should be so easily dismissed they've both been long involved with the Liberal Party and don't have an agenda at all.

Anonymous said...

typo: "you really think the scenario of a confidence crime bill being unpopular in Quebec but popular elsewhere and the same conflicts arising?"

should be:

"you really DON'T think the scenario of a confidence crime bill being unpopular in Quebec but popular elsewhere and the same conflicts arising is possible?"

Again read R & S or even the Globe-ed and get back to me. There are two more budget votes it's not even clear yet how the NFLD MPs are voting on thse since Iggy said "one-time" only.

Steve V said...

"Again read R & S or even the Globe-ed and get back to me."

I have, the story dies, it doesn't have legs once the budget is passed. Again elevate if you must, but I think you're looking for long term problems, when I'll take this as a one off until something else presents itself, which I'm betting WON'T. All this has done in the end is solidify Liberal MP's in NFLD, nothing more. With the economy in the tank, I hardly think this issue will capture the attention of Canadians in any meaningful way, nor will the attention deficit media remember it.

Oemissions said...

Options. We have not been hearing oprions. From the media, from, the Libs and from the questions in a poll.

Steve V said...

Not sure I follow??

Oemissions said...

Sorry for typo. Options.
What I mean to say is that most polls put questions in a black or white form without any shades of gray or colourful options.
The media hardly ever kept the public informed about the Coalition accord, and the agreement with the Bloc and what this means or could mean.
Now with the budget, we have had very little expansion of what this probation incurs, possible scenarios, etc.
Also, what are the consequences of amendments.? How many amendments can be added and when?
Now do you follow ?
poll: 68% of NDP support. What was the question?
Often I will go to answer a poll on the Globe and Mail.CBC , CtV and there is no inbetween for me to give my REAL response.
Were the questions rated for support on a scale?

JimmE said...

The story (so far) is the media LIKE Iggy. They didn't like Dion. I've had folks tell me (since the election) they WANTED to vote LIB (& lied to me when I knocked on their door) but didn't like Dion so they stayed home.
The media painted the picture of Dion, folks didn't like it what they saw. The media like Iggy - for now; what happens next?

Anonymous said...

These poll questions are meaningless.

The average person doesn't know what "voting down the budget" means.

Furthermore, no one is going to be "against" these nonesensical reports How could they be? They're just reports! Of course everyone is going to agree to them.

A meaningful question would present options, such as: "Which do you agree with more: (a) the opposition parties should defeat the Conservatives' budget and form an NDP-Liberal coalition instead or (b) the opposition parties should vote for the budget and leave the Conservative government in place."

Ted Betts said...

I disagree with your implied presumption that Canadians are not paying attention or are idiots. With all that happened in December and with the economy and the big buildup to this budget, I think Canadians are probably paying more attention now than we have in a long time.

A lot of salt always needs to be taken with any poll, but the numbers are so large here that even if they are off by a lot, it still shows a strong support for his position, especially among Liberals.

Your polling question is the meaningless one because it does not present realistic options. The coalition, even if it was a good idea for Liberals or the country (which it wasn't), was not going to become the government. It is pure fantasy to suggest so. Jean would not have accepted the power grab and Canadians would not have voted for a "coalition".

Ted Betts said...

Canadians would not have voted for a "coalition".

Just to be clear, I meant that literally, as in, the ballot would still show each of the parties.

Jaytoo said...

Last time I commented here, Steve, you were urging readers to give up on the coalition -- screw those naive hopes for cooperative change -- because the polling told you so.

Once again, today's polling isn't surprising. We can all see that this week generally played out as a tactical "win" for you guys. The probation frame stuck surprisingly well. I don't know how much of that is comm smarts, and how much is people and pundits projecting their post-Dion desires onto Michael's shell.

Either way, trouble is, the tactic serves a dead strategy. For this week's "statesman" coverage, Michael gave up all control to Harper, for nothing enduring in return. How long now before the churn of events reveals the statesman as a sellout, the probation officer as academic chump?

This isn't just about the lame improv of "one time passes" for dissident MPs. Michael says he told Harper to back off Newfoundland as a matter of national unity. Harper told him to piss off. Harper's already spitting on the shoes of his self-styled probation officer.

You don't think this leads somewhere familiar?

Anonymous said...

I was never a fan of the coalition (except as a mechanism to cause Harper some trouble). As someone who moved from the NDP to the Liberals, partly because I saw Layton as continually trying to undermine the Liberals, with the net result being things were worse for the people Layton claimed to represent, I never had any confidence the coalition could work. The fact that it had to rely on the Bloc made it even more unstable.

I was happy to see the coalition disappear. I think it gave the impression of something which is not true. Layton wants to look like Harper is his target, but his actions more often show that the Liberals are his real target. I prefer to have this out in the open, as I have not seen any evidence that it ever changes - it is only more obvious some times than others.

Finally, I get the impression that even if Harper had gone further in his budget, increased EI eligibility and kept the tax changes to the lowest bracket (under $40K or so) that Layton would have acted the same. This is what leaves people with the impression of an attempted power grab. Layton made it sound like no matter what Harper did, he wanted a coalition to take over. That undermined the legitimacy of the idea as much as Harper's socialist and separatist labels did.

Polls may or may not be accurate, but this particular poll just seems to be stating the obvious. In uncertain times, people prefer to stick with a known which looks like it is trying to be better, rather than jumping into the unknown. If Layton or anyone else had a concrete idea of how the coalition was actually going to work, they didn't let on.

Anonymous said...

It only takes 30 seconds to figure out what this poll is actually saying.

Don't confuse dread of another election with electoral support for the Iggster.

The support is for the budget (which as a conservative, I'm not thrilled about). The support for Iggy supporting the budget is still support for the budget, not Iggy.

You Liberals get too worked up about polls, and are far too quick to cheer yourselves on when any of these pollsters say anything nice about you.

I agree with a previous poster. Typically the over-the=-top rheteric doesn't even nicely match the data they collected. Pollsters are really just pundits who use their phone calls as a justification for their own opinions.

Steve V said...

"Don't confuse dread of another election with electoral support for the Iggster."

What it says, Ignatieff has made the right calls throughout this process, in terms of public sentiment. How that reality doesn't help his cause escapes me, just as Harper's bone headed moves have hurt him. It takes about 10 seconds to figure that one out.