Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Center Has Moved, Says Coyne

...but the polls stubbornly refuse to budge.

I hate to keep making the point again and again, but on the other hand Coyne has been writing the same column for nearly two years now. In the world of abstracta where Andrew feels most at home, an abstraction called Conservatism battles for ground on a allegorical political landscape, and slowly bends a bovine beast called the Will of the Canadian people to its own ends.

Back on that part of Earth called Canada, the Tories still can't draw flies beyond the original 3.5 out of ten Canucks that voted for them last time around.

(I am of course ignoring this poll, done by the polling company nobody believes for the newspaper nobody reads.)


Anonymous said...

It's remarkable that you can ignore the Liberals' support level in this poll: 24.7%. It's pretty bizarre to spin this poll as bad news for Harper.

bigcitylib said...

That's not good, but the end result is the same: another minority. Second verse, same as the first.

Oxford County Liberals said...

Ipsos is the only polling company claiming a harper majority. All other poll releases this past week - Angus-Reid, Environics (with a 2000 person sample) and Strategic Council all have Harper's support below the level he won in the last election.

Ipsos has always trended higher for Cons in its polling, so I dismiss it as an outlier. When SES shows those numbers, then I'll get concerned.

But, if Harper really believed them, the Throne Speech would have been a lot more revolting then he made it.

Ti-Guy said...

Conservatives have succeeded in moving the yardsticks of political debate, capturing the centre ground for themselves -- not by moving to the middle, as had been the strategy until this spring, but by moving the middle to them:

Coyne's got it exactly backwards, but that won't stop him. Conservatives always think things are going their way when they're in power because they're remarkably stupid and don't listen to anyone else.

...And then they lose elections and wonder, in numbed shock, why that happened.

Mike said...

Funny, the story clearly states that of those who favour a majority, most favour a Harper majority. it never says, of course, that most voters don't want a majority government...

CuriosityCat said...

A major reason why Harper is Prime Minister is because the Tories fought a highly-disciplined campaing, with a clear focus, plenty of discipline (to keep their crazies from derailing the Tory campaign by publicly showing the ugly face of Harper's brand of conservatism), and absolutely routed the floundering Liberals when it came to framing the debate.

The NDP aided by fighting the Liberals rather than the true enemy of most Dipper values.

And the Liberals played along with an appalling campaign, trying their best to become the Keystone Cops of the True North, and succeeding beyond Harper's wildest dreams.

So history says that Harper can run a better election campaign than the Liberals can.

And nothing in the past 18 months indicates that this position has changed.

The result? Harper could win a majority despite the polls, because the Liberals could blow it. Again. With the meltdown in the Bloc, Quebec is ripe for gains by the Tories, but not the Liberals.

ottlib said...


Mr. Harper ran a disciplined campaign as the Leader of the Opposition not the Leader of the Government.

He will have to run a different kind of campaign the next time mainly because he will have to defend himself and his government from 4 different sides.

That will be a new experience for him so it should be interesting to see how he adjusts to it.

In Quebec, during the last election, he was ignored by the Bloc as it focused on Mr. Martin. That is going to change and since both Mr. Martin and Mr. Harper are going after the same voters it is pretty much guaranteed that they are going to damage each other.

As well, there is the question as to whether Mr. Harper can keep himself under control for a 6 week campaign. He does not take criticism of himself or his party very well. He gets very petty and personal. If that side of him begins to peak out it could be trouble.

Finally, the people who ran the last two Liberal campaigns are out and they have been replaced by the the people who ran Jean Chretien's three campaigns. Unless, these folks have forgotten how it is done I do not think the Conservatives can count on the gift of the Liberals giving them another imitation of the Keystone Kops.

wilson said...

Q> Which of the following issues, which would have the greatest impact on your opinion if the federal elections this fall?

Financing health / education 36%

Combating climate change 18%

Engagement in Afghanistan 16%

If Canadians top priorities remain Finance, health & education
maybe we will finally see a campaign of ideas.

Fearmongering on global warming and the Afghan mission have slipped for first to 4th place.
Goodale 'feared' Cons would BOTH run a deficit and cut social programs...Libs can't run on that again.
That leaves health and education.
Right up NDP alley.

I hope Cons have the jam to, like they did in 2004 and 2006, advocate a Taxpayer paid public/private delivery system.
It has been proved to be the way to reduce wait times.

Ti-Guy said...

advocate a Taxpayer paid public/private delivery system.

Uh, that's pretty what we've got, Wilson. It just needs to be better coordinated.

If that control-freak Harper can do anything useful, he could do that.

Other than that, I don't really pay much attention to what polls determine Canadians think (polls, in fact, *limit* the domain of political thought, if anything). As much as I refuse to believe Canadians are stupid (they're not, at least 65% of them are not) they're not really interested in politics, since most people (including myself) have real concerns about whether the political process can lead to anything useful anymore.