Thursday, February 12, 2009

Make It Stop

The Ignatieff love affair continues, and you know it's real when NP's John Ivison joins in. Ivison has a few more internals from NANOS, including Ignatieff's "coat tails", but the thrust of the piece is a party united and upbeat:
the Messiah-like arrival of Michael Ignatieff seems to have reduced the appetite for rebellious mischief to record lows...

In the meantime, the Liberal team around Mr. Ignatieff is over-joyed at the progress made since he became leader. “It feels like 1993 all over again,” said one veteran, referring to the period before Jean Chr├ętien became Prime Minister. MPs say the mood in the party is the best it has been in six or seven years.

There are few signs of internal division, even among Liberals who supported other candidates in past leadership campaigns.

But no-one should be in any doubt - Iggy is this year’s model. In a matter of weeks, he has succeeded in building what he calls a “culture of belief” in a fractious, if desperate, Liberal Party. The suggestion from the new Nanos polls is that he is piquing interest right across the country. “He should be cautiously optimistic but not doing a victory lap just yet,” said Mr. Nanos.
Cautiously optimistic indeed Mr. Nanos. Moments in time...

Nanos also finds, what we already know, Ignatieff did well during the budget debate:
with 35% of those surveyed saying his performance was good or very good, compared to 14% who thought he did poorly. Stephen Harper was also given pass marks for his handling of the budget, with 40% thinking he did well or very well, compared to 24% who thought he did badly.
On the importance of the leader, Ignatieff, at the moment, would have the advantage over Harper:
But there was less encouraging news for Mr. Harper when respondents were asked whether leaders would have a positive or negative impact on local party candidates. Thirty-eight per cent thought Mr. Ignatieff would have a positive effect, against just 19% who believed he would be a negative influence. He recorded positive numbers in every region of the country.

By contrast, while 37% felt positively about Mr. Harper, 32% felt negatively, with much of the ill-will concentrated in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

“That’s a problem,” said Nik Nanos. “If you were developing an election stratey in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, you would run on the local candidate, not the leader. Michael Ignatieff has coat-tails across the country.”
You can't expect hostile media to remain friendly, but when you see pieces like the above, it's a statement on objective respect. The new swagger Liberals have is undeniable, projecting confidence, all oars rowing together, and even the most slanted, once and while must take notice. Couple that, with the most amazingly lame attempt to cobble together a feeble attack line against Ignatieff, and you know these are positive days for the Liberals.

And, I have no doubt of this from Ivison:
The clever money is on the Conservatives going on the offensive at the first sign of economic recovery.

No signs yet, haven't even touched bottom. In the meantime, Ignatieff is framing himself, before the Conservatives try to do it for him. I'm thinking June should be seriously considered as the election prepardness goal.


Anonymous said...

When Lloyd Axworthy writes a piece in praise of Ignatieff then it will be clear that Ignatieff could possibly win a majority someday. Until then it seems like Ignatieff has been getting most of his praise from those on the right of centre.

It seems clear he's will poised to to win a minority government but to win a majority he'll need to win over the right and the left like Chretien did (and won 40% of the vote with a very left-wing platform) and so far I haven't seen any of the prominent Liberal voices on the left flocking to him. I could be wrong though....

Steve V said...

There is no majority in the cards, I don't even entertain the possibility. The days of the divided right, allowing a sweep of Ontario are over. It will be quite some time before any Liberal leader is in position for a majority.

BTW, it's coming from all quarters, not just the center-right, who still have their qualifiers.

And, just to add, you guys can comfort yourself with the marginal "angst" crowd, but there really isn't much evidence of it at all in the real world. All I keep hearing is people are fired up and ready to go, and not just certain wings...

Chretien was "very left wing", who knew? Geez...

Anonymous said...

"Stephen Harper was also given pass marks for his handling of the budget, with 40% thinking he did well or very well, compared to 24% who thought he did badly"

That's troublesome not because it will affect us electorally but that 40% of Canadians thought this was a good budget. I don't know who to blame on that, but we have to get better in the future on convincing people that scatter gun budgets are bad policy.

We can't let the shiny new toys in the window win the day as the best way to play politics.

Steve V said...

Just to add, it's not like these outlets love Ignatieff, only that they've taken notice and are acknowledging a pretty self-evident truth.

Steve V said...


It's not troublesome at all, Ignatieff's spread is better than Harper, that's all that matters. I've never seen an opposition come off better than a sitting PM on a budget debate, and yet somehow, somebody finds it "troublesome". I think people are looking for stuff, rather than just accepting, ON BALANCE, good news. Most people think Harper's budget was about political survival, most people think the fall statement was a joke, people's opinion of Harper hasn't improved since the last election, all you have to do is look at the guy these days to see that, the Cons are mopping.

Anonymous said...

My comment was nothing negative about Ignatieff (if you read that way), moreso just it seems that at least 40% of Canadians thought it was a good budget. I think other polling validates that too that if you asked the public to rate the budget they'd give it pretty decent marks.

I thought it was pretty lousy budget that's going to prove pretty damaging to our country in the long-term.

I just find it troublesome that 40%of Canadians think otherwise and don't seem to see much wrong with this budget at all.

I still think the Liberals will win the next election, but I hope with that comes a moving back towards the centre and sensible policies than the utter crap we've seen from this government, but I can't help but shake my head that what Harper puts out as policy proves reasonably popular.

The Cons will lose because of Harper and the nosedove our economy has taken not because of their policies unfortuantely it seems. I'd rather it be the opposite and they lost on policies but I guess I'm an idealist.

I suppose getting this government out of office before the year is out will be a good enough consolation prize though :).

Steve V said...


That number for Harper merely reflects peoples desire to see the budget passed. What I'm more interested is the overarching themes, and it certainly isn't spin or rose colored glasses to say these are positive days for the Liberals and Ignatieff. I like what I see, and I'm not really interested in trying to fool myself, but I'm pretty optimistic, the way it's playing out at the moment. We're in the game, and people don't break out in laughter when you suggest we might just actually turf these guys. Soon I hope :)

Calgary Junkie said...

You guys are living in dreamland, over-dosing on these meaningless polls. We still have the money, the machine and the campaign-hardened leader.

Harper is gong to campaign against the Coalition. This will again generate a huge emotional response, especially out West and large parts of Ontario. Enough Quebecers and Marititmers will want MPs on the Conservative government side, so there is nothing more that needs to be offered to them.

All Iggy's got is hope that the economy is in really bad shape, and he can pin it on Harper. He will be pestered by the media as to whether he will be forming a coalition with the Dippers and Bloc. Voters are going to be totally confused by the many messages coming from the three former amigos. Especially when Layton and Duceppe tear strips off of Iggy, for keeping Harper in power.

Gayle said...

Junkie - the economy IS in bad shape, and if Harper wants to ignore it (like he has been doing lately) and instead harp on a coalition that no longer exists, well good luck with that.

People are losing their jobs and he wants to whine about the NDP and the LPC cooperating.

Stephen said...

My comment critical of Ignatieff appeared for some time, and then disappeared.

Did I do something wrong in pointing out contradictions in Ignatieff's record?

Let me know.

burlivespipe said...

Junkie (and I hope that's more than just a moniker), when your leader emerges from his bunker for things other than photo ops with costumed mascots -- which one's smile was painted on ? -- then maybe some of your cocky posturing won't be so ludicrous. And I hope your team really ties a can on that 'coalition' thing. Because that sounds like a winning campaign theme. You've already lost accountability, honesty and integrity, fiscally responsible, promise-made promise-kept... Got any other bridges to burn?

Anonymous said...

If the Cons are thinking about running the next election on the coalition they might as well hand over the keys to Sussex now. It's dead kiddies!
The economy killed Bush & McCain is slowly taking down world leaders 1 at a time (Brown, Sarkozy etc). Harper's not that far behind.
It's time for a change.

Steve V said...

"You guys are living in dreamland"

We can't even get into town, it's packed with you clowns.

Good luck with that coalition thing, at this point it's a sign of desperation.

Anonymous said...

The Conservatives anti-coalition attack goes against the NDP attacking the Liberals for supporting the budget. Attacking the Liberals works best when the NDP and Conservatives are on the same page (such as anti-carbon-tax or anti-Dion-as-a-leader).

RuralSandi said...

Well Junkie, money can't buy you love and money doesn't always win out.

No one, except certain blind followers, love Harper.

The coalition thing won't wash because 75% of Canadian approve of how Ignatieff handled it.

RuralSandi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RuralSandi said...

Whoops, meant to say 72% of Canadians approved of how Ignatieff handled it.

Perhaps a campaign on the truth about rule of our parliamentary system and Constitution would be a good idea and point out how Harper is deliberately trying to mislead Canadians on it. I received a 10% last week from my local do nothing Cons. MP attacking the coalition and I'm saving it.

Either the CONS don't understand the system (and if they don't they shouldn't be in government) or they are purposely trying to mislead.