Friday, September 04, 2015

Election 2015: The Shift to the Liberal Party starts

The Second King of Austerity?
With the dog days of summer ending, and only 6 or so weeks left in the interminable campaign, one of the most interesting sites to check on every now and then is the CBC Poll Tracker, run by √Čric Grenier, the founder of ThreeHundredEight.com, a website dedicated to political polling in Canada and electoral forecasts.

The latest Poll Tracker finding is fascinating.

The gradual erosion of support for Mulcair’s NDP has started, and will continue at a slow pace. I believe the NDP hit the highest point a short while ago, and will now drift lower in two battlegrounds, Ontario and BC.

The Conservatives will, I believe, continue their steady drop in the polls, in every province, including their formerly impregnable Alberta fortress. Having been cast out by Quebec voters, Harper’s hope of re-election depends on winning more seats in Ontario, keeping his seats in the Prairies, and locking in a strong position in BC.

But that strategy just ain’t working.

Heartland Alberta will give him reduced seats (making his seat count there a projected 27 in Poll Tracker’s latest news):




That 27 makes the Liberal Party’s solid base of 19 seats in Atlantic Canada a bit more hefty; this is the one area that the LPC wins by good margins.


But the NDP is facing erosion in the important battleground of Ontario, where roughly one third of the total seats are located.  The NDP is part of a squeeze play by both the Conservatives and the Liberals, and run behind both in projected seats, as this diagram shows:



For an NDP majority, it has to carve out a much bigger chunk of territory in our biggest province, bit it is struggling to do so.

Why?

That’s the 64-dollar question.

My guess is that three forces are at play here.

Maybe a kitten?
Firstly, Tom Mulcair is doing his best, but, despite being positively sunny compared to Harper’s glacial personality, he still comes across as stiff, trying too hard, barely suppressing his low tolerance for fools, and overly pedantic.

He doesn’t seem to make a speech to me. He seems to deliver a speech, as if from an imaginary podium.

There is always the whiff of the teacher about him, and I think the media and voters feel a bit like they were back in school, answering questions about their homework.

However, voters are a forgiving lot, and most will understand that his stiffness and formality will not detract from his ability to do a good job as prime minister.

A much, much better job than Harper has managed in his brief decade of fame.

Secondly, Mulcair is on a tightrope between his party’s natural centre of gravity as a wealth distributing party, and the fuzzy central area he has to project to voters, who want no part of wild schemes and massive debts.

Especially in Ontario, which is conscious of the massive loss of good paying manufacturing jobs over the past three decades.  Ontarian voters want not just nothing wacky (like the wackiness the luckless Labour Party of the UK is sliding into, away from the New Labour of Tony Blair, and into nationalization, taxes, Robin Hood syndrome redistribution, and demonization of capitalist companies), but something wealth-creating.

They want a federal government that builds the country, not just stands aside, like Harper’s government has for ten years. They want a party with a plan and a commitment to implement the plan.

Trudeau has given them a reason to think again about supporting the Liberal Party.

His commitment not to let the right wing mantra of deficits bad fly in the face of reality, and to create good jobs in Canada through a massive infrastructure plan of some $125 billion over 19 years, makes sense to a lot of voters in the manufacturing heartland of Canada. They believe in an activist role for the central government, promoting and facilitating platforms for future growth. Justin’s big infrastructure plan slots neatly into the needs of these voters.

But Mulcair’s read my lips: no deficits, scares them, and is steadily scaring more and more.

Why should a small deficit decide a government’s economic plan in these uncertain times, when much needs to be done to create the springboard for solid future growth?

Voters are asking the question the media has not yet focused on: Just what will Tom cut to balance his budgets?

And thirdly, Justin Trudeau has risen from the dead, after months of hard work, organizing what was an almost dead party.

Justin is back.

And his return is beginning to terminate the hopes of the NDP for ever increasing seats, and a majority government.

Justin's back ...
Over the next 6 weeks we will see a drift of support away from Harper’s mean spirited party, mostly towards the Liberals, who are becoming more respectable in voters’ eyes with every passing day.

Don’t be too surprised to see the projected seat total for the LPC rising steadily until election day.


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