View Full Version : What is happening to the Natural Ruling Party?

bob winter
09-27-2008, 07:18 AM
I know, I know, Canadian politics is about as interesting as a dish of curdled milk but this may be of interest to some.

Liberal lose ground, NDP creep closer to official Opposition: Poll
David Akin, Canwest News Service
Published: Friday, September 26, 2008

OTTAWA - Support for the federal Liberal party is crumbling, so much so that the New Democratic Party appears to have a realistic chance of forming the official Opposition, according to a new poll commissioned for Canwest News Service and Global National.

The poll, by Ipsos Reid, indicates that the Conservatives are cruising toward victory and, barring a significant stumble by Stephen Harper during next week's debates or some other cataclysm by the Tories, the only question appears to be whether Harper will have a majority or a stronger minority government.

"What's happening right now is that both the Conservatives and the NDP have given voters very good, affirmative reasons for voting for them," said Darrell Bricker, Ipsos CEO. "People who are opposed to the agenda Stephen Harper is eventually going to bring to Canada are finding a very happy home in the NDP. For the Conservatives, it's not that they're growing so much, it's that the Liberals are falling apart."

Thirty-nine per cent of the respondents said they would vote Conservative, about the same number as a similar poll a week ago. Just 23 per cent of respondents said they would vote Liberal, a drop of four percentage points in a week while 18 per cent would pick the NDP, a gain for that party of three percentage points.

Support for the Green party also climbed in the week, by two percentage points up to 11 per cent.

In the 2006 federal election, the Conservatives received 36 per cent of the popular vote compared to 30 per cent for the Liberals, 17 per cent for the NDP and five per cent for the Greens.

Liberals will be looking to next week's debate and the final two weeks of campaigning to avoid recording that party's lowest level of support on election day in modern history - in 1984, then leader John Turner won just 28 per cent of the popular vote, good enough for only 40 MPs.

Bricker said that the Liberal vote is fracturing in many parts of the country, with those on the right side of the party - a Paul Martin liberal, for example - drifting to the Conservatives. Meanwhile, those on the left side of the party - a Lloyd Axworthy liberal - is heading for the NDP.

"The Liberal vote is evaporating," said Bricker.

Ipsos Reid surveyed 1,000 Canadians by phone between Tuesday and Thursday. It says the national voter intention results are accurate to within 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20. The survey's regional results use a smaller sample and, as a result, have a greater margin of error.

The top issues in this election, as identified by survey respondents are the economy, health care and taxes - issues where the Ipsos survey finds that more Canadians believe Harper has the best policies. In fact, when it comes health care, more Canadians think Harper and NDP Leader Jack Layton could do a better job than Liberal Leader Stephane Dion.

On the environment - the one issue that Dion has been most closely associated with since he became party leader - just as many Canadians think the Liberal leader has the best policies in that area as those who believe Harper does. Both Harper and Dion, though, rank behind Green Leader Elizabeth May when Canadians are asked which party leader would be best for the environment.

The poll also finds that Liberals are doing particularly poorly in British Columbia, where they are now in a statistical tie with the Greens, behind both the Conservatives and the NDP. Ipsos found that 42 per cent of respondents in B.C. would vote Conservative, 31 per cent would vote NDP, 13 per cent would vote Liberal and 12 per cent would vote Green.

The Conservatives are also the leading federalist party in every other region of the country except Atlantic Canada. In the four maritime provinces, the Liberals are the choice of 40 per cent of voters, followed by the Conservatives and NDP, both at 26 per cent, and the Greens at six per cent. That result may be particularly bad news for May who is running against Conservative MP and Defence Minister Peter MacKay in the Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova.

In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois has widened its lead over the second-place Conservatives. Ipsos said the Bloc has the support of 32 per cent of voters, compared to 24 per cent for the Tories, 20 per cent for the Liberals and 18 per cent for the NDP.

In Ontario, a province where the Liberals must do well if they hope to hold Harper to a minority let alone win a government, the Conservatives are widening their lead. They are now the pick of 41 per cent of voters in Canada's most populous province. The Liberals are preferred by 28 per cent of Ontarians; the NDP is at 16 per cent and the Greens are at 13 per cent.

09-27-2008, 07:32 AM
I'm sure Bushco has lent Harper his "how to lie cheat and steal an election" playbook. Everything is on schedule, no need to worry.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
09-27-2008, 08:04 AM
Disraeli's remark about "a row of exhausted volcanoes", when looking at another Liberal Front bench, does come to mind...

bob winter
09-27-2008, 08:16 AM
I think it has more to do with the voters' perception of Dionne and his policies than it has to do with the Bushco playbook. Anyway, US politicians have no monopoly on lieing and cheating to win an election. Look at Trudeau when he defeated Joe Who.

To say I was surprised when Dionne won the Liberal leadership would be an understatement and I think that goes back to the right/left wing split in the party. The Martin and Chretien camps. One thing the Liberals always used to be able to do, unlike the old Progressive Conserative Party was to keep their dirty linen to themselves and focus on their main priority which was to be in power. This is no longer the case, so it seems. The old Progressive Conserative Party used to keep shooting themselves in the foot because some of them actually had principles.

I have no personal knowledge of Mr. Dion, he may be a genius for all I know but he does not come across well in English and I don't think the voters are all that interested in some of his policies such as the Carbon Tax and non-issues such as the Conserative cuts to funding of the arts. Canadians are already pretty heavily taxed and the last thing a lot of voters want is a new tax or spending billions of dollars on funding what a lot perceive to be frills in what are apt to be tough economic times.

If the US economy goes to hell, it is sure to have repercussions in Canada and they will not be good. Hardly the time to have a left wing socialist running the country. I am not a big fan of Harper but I do think he has a reasonable chance of holding the economy together than any of the others.

Does Harper have a "hidden agenda"? I have no idea, but we may be about to find out. He is way too cozy with the US for my liking and I think the danger may be that, in a majority situation, he may move to tie the two countries closer together, if that is possible.

Flying Orca
09-27-2008, 09:01 AM
The problem with the carbon tax is that unless you already know what it is and how it works (and if you're that aware, you're not voting Conservative anyway), you're susceptible to Harper's fearmongering on the subject. Couple this with Dion's charisma-challenged presentation to Anglophone voters and the Liberals are caught between the Conservatives and the burgeoning left, losing voters to both.

The Conservatives have done a good job of hiding their agenda, but some of what's come out is enough to put me off them. Harper's little gaffe on arts funding was ignorant, and even worse, looks to have been a calculated move (may his calculations blow up in his face). His get-tough approach on crime has holes big enough to drive a campaign bus through, with proposals that satisfy the urge for punishment while driving up health and justice costs and ignoring years of research on what actually works.

This election is probably a lost cause; I just hope the Conservatives play badly enough in Quebec that they don't get a majority. As for me, I'll be doing my best to see that the Greens are a serious force next time around.

09-27-2008, 09:07 AM
I find it almost impossible to warm up to Dion. Our incumbent, Jean Crowder, is NDP and has a very good chance of being reelected. I'll be voting for her again.


She's no Sarah Palin - thank Gawd.

Harry Miller
09-27-2008, 10:57 AM
Political journalist Alan Christie writing in today's Star has the answer.

" have been watching politicians give speeches since 1960 and the one Dion made in Winnipeg this week was perhaps the worst I have ever seen."

I like Dion (Bob, he's not one of the quintuplets:D) and agree with the "Green Shift" but he's turned me off and I'm probably voting NDP, or maybe Green. At least I live in a riding that won't elect a Conservative.

bob winter
09-27-2008, 11:09 AM
Dion, Dionne. I always seem to keep mixing them up. Whatever, I think he is Cretien's revenge. I wonder how long after the election they will have a leadership convention.

Flying Orca
09-27-2008, 11:14 AM
Same with my riding; the only question is whether the Greens can muster enough votes to oust the incumbent NDP (Pat Martin). I suspect he'll be returning to Ottawa, but at least I can vote Green without worrying too much about the Tories.

Harry Miller
09-27-2008, 11:19 AM
Chretien's revenge.

Spot on!