Friday, September 27, 2013

Management of Economy is Achilles Heel of Liberals and Dippers

Three stewards a-waiting ...
The latest IPSOS-Reid poll shows that the Harper new Tories maintain their lead amongst voters when it comes to the critical issue of who is the best choice to manage the country’s economy.

Voters believe that Harper and his Conservatives are the best by a whopping margin:

But the Conservatives continue to lead the way on economic issues. Among voters who said the economy is the most important issue, 45 per cent believe the Conservatives are the best economic policy managers, followed by 28 per cent who chose the Liberals and 14 per cent who chose the NDP.

It’s clear from this poll that both the Liberals and the NDP have a steep hill to climb if Trudeau or Mulcair wish to reverse this current belief by voters.

When voters walk into the polling booth, absent a major scandal such as that which caused the Liberals to be turfed out under Martin, they ask themselves who is best to manage the country’s business. So far, despite his many failings, Harper has managed to persuade most Canadians that he is the far better choice when it comes to minding the store.

Mulcair has an uphill fight, especially given the deep-rooted distrust of many Canadians of the economic policies of the NDP. A party that is reluctant to openly and fully support the capitalist, free enterprise system we now have, has little chance of replacing the Tories as the next government.

Justin Trudeau is popular, but he is still unproven as a manager of any organization, let alone the country’s government. He has around 12 to 18 months to put together a disciplined economic policy, and a team – both in the Liberal Party and as outside advisors – with proven, credible experience in economic matters. This will be a major task. So far the jury is out on this score.

What is also clear from this poll is that the NDP will be king-makers come 2015, able to either support a minority Conservative government, or a minority Liberal government. The smartest thing that Mulcair and his party can do is persuade the voters that if the Harper Tories do not gain a majority of seats in the next election, then the NDP will insist on a modified form of proportional representation as the price of its cooperation with either the CPC or LPC. Such a system of electing our MPs will be the best chance for the NDP to show over the next decade or so that they could be entrusted to manage the economy, through their actions in the House under the revised election rules.

But such realism on the part of the Mulcair Dippers is most unlikely, given his past statements about proportional representation, and his desire to go for broke.

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