Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wise Talk

...about the next couple of weeks from Steve V:

Let's keep it real, the tough guys are facing the most likely scenario of a reduced mandate, worst case an outright loss. Not ignoring the Liberal challenges in the polls, we're hardly facing a Conservative juggernaut, that should strike fear in the opposition.


...I don't care what the Conservatives say, nor do I buy this idea that this is the excuse Harper is looking for to go to the polls. Harper has one more crack, anything but a majority and the united Conservative veneer will evaporate. The Conservatives want to choose the timing, and they desperately want a managed campaign, wherein they set the election parameters. If would submit, the idea of kicking of a campaign, faced with thwarting the will of Parliament, supported by our constitutional "referee" is the least desirable scenario imaginable.

I'd add a couple of points. The immediate time-frame we're looking at is from now to mid-May, and I suspect the Guergis thing still won't be out of the news by then. Furthermore, the "A-word" is back in play because of the upcoming G-8 meeting and Bruinooge's divisive but go-nowhere Bill C-510.

And I can't see what other hot-button the gov. can press to offset all this stuff. Bill C-232 has had very little coverage, despite the attempt to use it to rile up the base. And an anti-CBC campaign? Please.

Finally, I really doubt caving on detainee docs will harm the Tories any more than engineering an election over the issue would. Remember, some of the mud is likely to splatter on the Paul Martin government. So why not?


Ted Betts said...

The Liberals may be vulnerable in an election but the Conservatives even moreso.

Two significant facts that seem to get ignored or forgotten which seem to me to indicate Harper will want to avoid an election.

1. Despite going up in seat count in 2008, fewer Canadians voted for Harper than in 2006. This despite the enormous war chest, an impoverished and divided and disorganized opposition, Dion as leader, two straight years of breaking spending records to buy our votes with our dollars, etc. Harper in 2008 actually had the lowest level of support among the electorate than any other PM in our entire history.

2. He'd be playing defence. While he could try to be aggressive and go on the offensive over the detainee issue, the fact is that he has no great agenda to campaign on and would be reacting to the isues and agenda set by others. That is not a good place to start for a government low in the polls.

Reality Bites said...

2006 - 36.27%
2008 - 37.65%

Yes it's true "fewer Canadians voted for Harper than in 2006" but fewer Canadians voted period. The total votes cast for all candidates declined by 6.6%, while votes cast for Conservatives declined by 3.1%.

I'm no Conservative apologist, but I don't like fiddling with figures to make a non valid point.

Ti-Guy said...

Ted, did you admit at MacLean's that you voted Conservative in 2006?

Terence said...

I think an election with the Libs running a little to the left and using democracy as a plug while exposing the cons could be a big winner. The NDP and green vote could be soft in an election framed on democracy and mke their soft voters lean towards getting ridf of the cons.

Ted Betts said...

I'm not fiddling at all.

I am pointing out that they are starting from a weaker position than the seats indicate. People point to the seat count and percentage to say they were stronger in 2008 than 2006 but I think the numbers show the opposite. I think the percentage game masks an underlying weakness in the Conservative support across the country that does not get discussed.

The fact is they went down in actual votes and the only reason they went up in total percentage and seats is because the Liberals fared worse.

The Conservatives, with everything they had in their favour in 2008, did not manage to increase their vote count. They also went down in terms of the percentage of people voting for them among the electorate. As I said, Harper had the weakest support of any PM in our history. That is a significant baseline for today.

Now, 2 years later, the Liberals are in a better and stronger position than they were in 2008 and the Conservatives are, I would argue, in a worse and weaker position.

Even if you want to focus on voter turnout, has Harper convinced more voters to come to him than he has pushed to the other side? A lot more people are a lot more angry with him and the Conservatives now than in 2008. I have spoken to a lot of Liberals and non-partisans who didn't vote in 2008 because they didn't think Harper was that bad but who are already campaigning against him now.

That is in no way saying that the Liberals are strong and the Conservatives weak. Just that, looking at who has improved their chances since 2008, I'd have to say the Liberals which means the Conservatives' best case scenario is status quo (which would likely mean bye bye to Harperr) and that is not something Harper will gamble with.

Ted Betts said...


No. I may at some point have admitted to voting for Harris provincially in 1995. And, even with everything he did, I would still stand by that decision as between the alternatives at the time.

I most certainly voted, fundraised, campaigned, organized and blogged Liberal in 2006.

Ti-Guy said...

I may at some point have admitted to voting for Harris provincially in 1995.

Sorry, my mistake. That is indeed what I saw.

Ted Betts said...

Don't forget, even in the national polls showing Harper up at 34/36%, roughly where he was in 2008, his support has grown in places where he can't get any more seats whereas the Liberal support has become more concentrated.

Tof KW said...

Need I remind everyone here that the dynamics of an actual election render the previous polls worthless.

My own feelings on this - it feels like the fall of 2005 all over again; only Harper is now playing the roll of Paul Martin.

Once the campaign begins - provided the Libs can keep the attention on Harper and not on themselves - I can’t see anything but an improved seat count as a worse case scenario. Even that conclusion would be the beginning of the end of Stephen Harper, you would see CPC leadership challenges out in the open in the event of a narrow win.

Then there is the possibility that Ignatieff runs a good campaign which results in a combined Lib-NDP seat count above that of the CPC; forcing Harper out of the PM’s chair. If he runs a really good campaign, he can win a minority outright.

Also keep in mind that Harper was at a much worse position in the polls in 2006 than Ignatieff is now. No one was predicting an outright CPC win at the beginning of that campaign.