Thursday, January 25, 2007

Perplexing Polls

Today's Toronto Sun highlights a Leger survey (Tories, Grits Remain Neck and Neck) which suggests that the Conservative and Liberal parties are in a dead heat (35% vs. 32%), but PM Stephen Harper far outshines Stephane Dion at the moment in terms of leadership (34% vs. 19%). Quebec was the only province showing a tie in preference for Prime Minister.

As I was contemplating the reasons for this apparent discrepancy, I came across some insightful articles in National Newswatch under "Featured Links".

Don Martin's column "Liberals Confounded by One-Candle Harper" is particularly intriguing. Martin, on route back from Nairobi, was surprised to come across a flattering article about Stephen Harper in the 'Americas' section of The Economist.

As Martin says, "what The Economist peddles as perception counts more on the world stage than a dozen photo-ops at world leader gabfests."

But this is the point to ponder:

But what makes the magazine's mostly fawning assessment of the fledgling government so interesting is how this international swoon is but a yawn in Canada, where the support Mr. Harper needs to grow into a majority government remains elusive.

I might add, never mind 'grow into a majority'. We're talking survival here right now. But after reading Martin's piece, the thought that came to mind was how we in Canada so often fail to recognize talent in our own country. Why do we need the international community to remind us of our own treasures? The Leger Poll does seem to indicate a rising awareness of Harper's ability to make us proud on the world stage, but for some reason that does not translate into more favourable polling for the party itself.

Part of the problem may be beyond Harper's control as pointed out by Bruce Anderson of Decima Research. He "found that NDP support has been bleeding to the Liberals and the Green party in four vote-rich regions of the province." Source: CTV - Polls suggest Canadians kicking parties' tires.

(Private aside to all Blogging Tories - The following is for your eyes only: Do NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES dis JACK!!)

Well I could go on with my analysis but my carpal tunnel is acting up again, which may require a temporary break from blogging.

I'll leave you with this awesome quote from James Travers, who usually leans left, but not today (Election about Nothing is a Bonus for Harper):

To indulgently return to a self-pleasing metaphor, environmental credibility is the little black dress of new age politics. It's the must-have item in every wardrobe, even if begged, borrowed or stolen. So it's no surprise that the Prime Minister is reaching into the Liberal cupboard. After all, in politics imitation isn't just sincere flattery, it's a winning tactic.

Isn't that a beaut? The little black dress of new age politics. Brilliant, James!

O.K. I'm going for the ice now. Try not to miss me too much.

* * * *

Oops! Almost forgot. Quite a good report card from the National Post regarding the Harper Government's first year. Although the odd misstep was mentioned, the Post finished up on this positive note:

On balance, though, the Conservatives' first year has a been a tremendous success. It is hard to see how a minority government, especially one with a hostile opposition and press corps, could have done more.

* * * *

Friday Update: Very insightful column by the brilliant Chantel Hebert in today's Star - Cooler Heads Might Delay Election Until Fall.

St├ęphane Dion may not be aware of it but every time he accuses the Conservatives of stealing a page from his policy book on the environment, he is validating the reality of their makeover as a more environment-friendly government.


Anonymous said...

A poll of .1% of the population over a six day period? I'm perplexed at the perplexed. The Economist? Who reads the Economist? The reality is that The Economist is a conservative status quo kind of organization, notice how Martin was cheered for gutting social programs, and then panned for giving some cash back to starving provinces.

So the exact same reason they were panning Martin is the reason they are praising Harper-that seems kind of odd. As for the 'dithers' thing, I just can't help mentioning 'flat tax', no, not a flat tax, I meant no more subsidies to industries, no, i meant huge subsidies to industry!" The Economist is simply happy that Harper is continuing the Liberal tradition of making sure government spends money on everything but canadians. It's OK to 'dither' as long as your dithering helps out the corporate sector in the end. That's why the Economist lost its shine on Martin, they loved him when he was pandering to the CCCE, but once Prime Minister of a country full of provinces who were about to go bankrupt, he started giving them money to avoid the 'fire sale' of cheap government property.

And who answers the phone for pollsters anyway?

Carolyn Gardner said...


to answer your question about Canadians inability to recognize talent in their own backyard... its the age old saying "A profit hath no honour in his own country."

Anonymous said...

I said this elsewhere. I don't think the Conservatives "stole" their environmental plan from the Liberals, or that they are putting back programs that once were Liberal.

If so, who did the Liberals steal their environmental plan from? What I mean is that man has only come up with a few options in terms of cleaning up the environment, and these options have been kicking around for years. Some are in use.

The energy refit program for homeowners is a no-brainer. There are options for homeowners to make their homes more energy-efficient. However, under the liberal plan, not that many homeowners took advantage of this plan, and as I read in the Sun this morning....guess what? Most of the money went to government workers who pushed papers around. (I worked as a temp one summer in a government office, and I tell you the truth, when I say that some of the "workers" would sleep in front of their computer on a daily basis. I sat across from them. I had very little work to do myself, but I was hired to fill a gap so that the gap would always need to be filled.)

Anyway, back to the point. Wind power, solar power, nuclear power....these are options that have been in use elsewhere, and are being looked at. Of course, the liberals would have a look at them (no action mind you), and of course the Conservatives would. Are there any other ideas we've come up with?

As for taxing the big gas companies....does anyone stop to think that every drop of gas refined is because we, the consumer, use it.

How many people are willing to change their lifestyle in order to help clean up the environment? Few...they'd rather complain that the government isn't doing something. Or, have the pretense of a government doing in the Liberals with their Kyoto Koolaid plan.

As someone wrote in the Sun today. Even if we could stop all of Canada's emissions overnight, how would that help climate change when the rest of the world isn't on board?

I rest my case, your honour.:-)

anon #83

Anonymous said...

Firstly, Don Martin is a prat... even were he to be praising the Conservatives. Given the way he windedly chases phrases to make his point, I can only assume he hopes to either confuse or bore the reader before they actually decipher any praise out of his column.

Secondly, I like the Economist. Course, anyone who enjoys the truth usually does. Funny how people living in dream land don't like hearing the truth, isn't it?

Thirdly, I really believe that Travers should stop holding back, and just preface every column with "I detest Stephan Harper and the Conservative Party", instead of disingenously attempting to cloak his disdain for all things right of center. He doesn't do a very good job anyway.

Even in this article, he is clearly a Big Government, Big Spending kind of guy.

Joanne, as I said to K-Dough, Alberta will cheerfully take Stephan back into our homes, and watch him lead us out of Confederation... cause there is no way in hell we are accepting another French PM in this province.

Three in 30 years is enough, and the equalization shit is starting to heat up big time out here now.

We are all pissed at Harper for having to buy votes from Quebec, but we can at least understand his motivation... coming from one of ours, we'll live with it. Coming from a Frenchman... not a f*%$ing chance.

Anonymous said...

why are the conservatives and liberals tied in the polls, but Harper leads in terms of leadership?

It says to me that people will vote liberal anyway, despite who their leader is.

Hector B. said...

As anonymous asked in the first comment: "who answers the phone for pollsters anyway?"

Here's who does:
-Poor saps without call display and voicemail
-Children who don't know any better
-People so bored they pick up the phone anyway

Not exactly the profile of the Conservative "core". I wouldn't worry about polls in 2007.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Good one, Hector! Or maybe it's a Conservative conspiracy to trick the Liberals into feeling over-confident, so they bring down the government, and then BAM!

Anonymous said...

On the topic of Polls Joanne..
Perhaps you notice the pattern?

Several weeks of the MSM publicizing the pet issues of the Lib /Left with abundant helpings of supportive commentary provided by their usual sources is part one of the process.

Part Two is to commission Polls to see if the campaign is working.

Part three will depend on the results of the polls.

If they get the desired results they will use the poll results to justify all the BS they've been spreading.
If not there may be a brief hiatus while the search for a new controversy or set of issues to exploit. Otherwise they will repeat the efforts of the last round of part one propagandizing.

The theory is basic to marketing repeat the message often enough and people will believe it.

It's the brainwashed chicken heads that suck it up completely and those are the ones that completely freak out when their accepted perceptions get challenged.

I would say that if these polls are showing about equal between LIb and Conservative support on current issues then in fact the round of propagandizing that our MSM has blitzed us with since the new year has been a failure.

liberal supporter said...

There's lies, damn lies, statistics, and polls.

Anonymous said...

Oops....I think I posted my earlier post on the wrong blog. bad.

anon #83
Repeat after blogging until first coffee of morning....write out 10x

Joanne (True Blue) said...

lol! Anon #83 - No worries.

Should be interesting to see how the polls go with the Adscam controversy resurrected courtesy of the Liberals' gaffable leader.

Gerry said...

It appears Jack Layton's target in the next few months will need to be the Liberals, or his party may fall off the map altogether (which wouldn't be a bad thing either). Two major parties would help expose the Liberal's true left wing colours, as currently many Canadians think they are in middle or a compromise type choice.

I don't understand the poll results either Joanne, but it does help to keep all Harper's corp's from becoming complacent - the recent announcement by John Baird regarding the environment is a good example of how the next election campaign has already begun.

I personally can’t wait to start knocking on doors again.

vicki said...

You would think the news about the arrest of the union leader who 'supported' Dion would have some affect on polls. I think that will be directly proportional to how the media handles the 'news'.
So far it seems to be a non-event for MSM.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Good for you, Gerry. I can't really stand the thought right now. Maybe when things warm up a bit.

Vicki, SDA seems to be connecting some dots.

vicki said...

That's my is very clearly reported in the blogs...anywhere on MSM?

Anonymous said...

I think the worm is actually turning in the media. CBC for example was roaming the streets two days ago asking people what grade they'd give the Tories... thats where it got wierd.

Usually CBC would put up 2 or 3 dissenting opinions and maybe 1 in favor. This time there were 5 in favor, two actually stated on the street in Toronto that they deserved a majority, and they were seniors, and only one disenter came forward, a Muslim from Edmonton.

I thought I was asleep and dreaming.

Now the media appears to be pushing harder, nastier stories about Dion (Although he's stepping on landmines he's laying himself), and while not being terribly kind to Harper, pushing a more appreciative tone towards his government.

I predict that in the next two weeks your going to see a much harder view of Dion in the media, and they'll have no choice because he'll force the news bites himself.

He's like a bull in a China Shop. No ability to give the light touch, no understanding of trying to play all sides at the same time.

It's gonna start getting real fun next week.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Vicki, you're right. The story is virtually non-existent.

I predict that in the next two weeks your going to see a much harder view of Dion in the media, and they'll have no choice because he'll force the news bites himself.

JC, I hope you are right. They can't totally ignore all Dion's antics. However, when given the choice between pushing an anti-Con story vs. an anti-Liberal one, I think the latter will be played down. But as you say, Dion may very well do his own self-destruct job. He is so naive! (Or perhaps he just appears to be) Muwa-ha-haaaa!!!

liberal supporter said...

Dion came from way behind to win the leadership. He likes to be the underdog. Naturally the media will help recreate those conditions now.

Anonymous said...

There's underdog, and then there's dog... I'm pretty sure that brainiac can't tell the difference.

liberal supporter said...

I'm not going fishing today, thanks for the bait anyway

Anonymous said...

Ha! Fair enough.

Anonymous said...

Joanne, you wrote:

"Quebec was the only province showing a tie in preference for Prime Minister."

See, if you think about what that means. In the Reform years, Preston Manning was considered a red-neck. Quebec realized his many talents too late.

So, lets say, 10 years later, a Quebecker of integrity and brains whose Liberal is only tied with the Alberta Conservative. In Quebec.

You want "buy votes in Quebec"?

Do the TSN hockey bit in french on RDS. Watch Slapshot in Quebec French before you do and drop a reference in. Bang-o, 5 more seats for the Tories, guaranteed.

Tout le monde adore le hockey.

Chuckercanuck as Anonymous.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Chuckercanuck as Anonymous.

lol! Glad I'm not the only one having trouble with blogger.

Tout le monde adore le hockey.

Well, that should give PMSH an advantage then with his hockey knowledge. ;)

Anonymous said...

There's lies, damn lies, statistics, and polls.

You hit the nail on the head.

Dion came from way behind to win the leadership.

The last notable politician to do likewise on the federal scene was Joe Clark in 1976. With all due respect, Stephane Dion is making Clark look like a political genius by comparison.