Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When Did Peter Donolo become a Conservative?

I read with interest the polling results in today's Globe and Mail and I will talk about it and its "analysis" later.

However, what really surprised me about this was the companion piece that Mr. Donolo helped to write. I could not believe that a man who worked as Mr. Chretien's communications chief could put his name on such an obvious piece of Conservative friendly spin. I realize that everybody needs to make a living but he is one of the reasons why Canadians are so cynical about politics and the political class in this country. Too many of them seem to be available to the highest bidder.

As for the poll itself I was surprised to see the Conservative numbers where they were. SES published a poll last week that put them in the mid-30s in support so I expected subsequent polls from other organizations to do the same.

The Liberals are exactly where I expected them to be because they have been hovering around the 32% mark since the last election. And contrary to what the pollsters say their support is rock solid while the Conservative support is fluid. The proof is in the trends and they are more credible than a poll question asking the respondent a hypothetical question regarding whether they would switch their vote. I have already mentioned the trend for the Liberals and the other trend is the Conservatives have been bouncing around like a basketball for months. One month they are up, the next they are down. They cannot seem to find a level and stay there. That indicates fluidity in support and that makes the life of political strategists for the Conservatives very complicated.

The Globe and Mail spin had me chuckling. The writers and editors must have been feeling rather queazy after writing the story as they were spinning rather quickly. I certainly hope they all took cabs home last night because they would not have been in any shape to drive home after writing that BS.

I have never bought into the idea of the G&M being a mouthpiece for any political party so it begs the question as to why they went to such lengths to take a poll that is bad news for the Conservatives and spin it into good news.

Part of the answer lies with their editorial from yesterday about Kyoto. It is no secret that the G&M is very pro-business and it is very against implementing the Kyoto Protocol because it has bought into the argument that doing so would be bad for the economy. It has dismissed the positive economic offsets of its implementation, which I think is wrong, but that is an argument for another post.

Today's poll indicates that the next election could be anybody's race and that the Liberals probably have as much of a shot at forming the next government as the Conservatives. Mr. Dion has committed to implementing the Kyoto Protocol. They know that he means what he says and that he is not just posturing. So they do not want him anywhere near the levers of power. Hence, the spin on the SC poll.

No Liberal should be happy with the spin of the poll but they should take heart that the G&M felt they needed to do so because they are beginning to see the fact the Liberals are back in the game, there are as many negatives on the Conservative record as positive (and we all know that negative tends to have a greater impact than positive during elections) and Stephen Harper has not connected with Canadians even after all of this time in the spot-light.

If the Conservatives continue to langish in a tie with the Liberals expect the G&M to continue to write Conservative friendly articles. If it actually looks like the Liberals may consistantly overtake the Conservatives expect that Conservative friendliness to be more strident.


Blogger Dan McKenzie said...

Little bit of an overreaction here if you ask me. But I guess Liberals are allowed to do that once in a while considering Conservatives do it constantly when it comes to the media.

First I'll admit I don't quite think Dion has gotten quite the fair shake so far, and the editorial slant of Canada's newspapers is certainly up for debate but beyond that...

Peter Donolo is probably one of the smartest guys in the Canadian political scene so I wouldn't be so quick to criticize. I'm hoping Donolo will run for the federal Liberals one day.

The article, for whatever reason, focuses on the Conservatives and Harper, and they editorialize with the numbers as they see fit. An agenda? Maybe, who knows... But it doesn't seem to be anything to get too upset about.

The Kyoto editorial was pretty harsh, and I'm not sure if their criticism of the revamped Clean Air Act is fair, but I have to admit I'm pretty sold that Kyoto targets are unattainable. But Kyoto is more a symbol now than anything else anyways. I just think we have to do everything reasonable to fulfill our moral obligation to reduce our carbon emissions to acceptable levels, quickly.

August 29, 2007 3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, there is something a little bizarre when a poll basically shows Liberal improvement since the last election and Conservatives slipping. Ta Da - answer - we have a TIE (2 months running)!

Yet somehow the articles and analysis are all in the tone of the following:

"conservatives enter the autumn with a future of potential potential across Canada while liberals scramble (yet again) to find a way to paint him as a boogeyman at desperate caucus meeting."

Yes, that's sarcastic. But it is an undeniable undertone to the articles over the past two days in the G&M. I've got a take on the Liberal caucus too. Maybe they can simply determine their policy priorities in the fall, mindful of the fact they need to have a plan of where they want the country to proceed - be it as the loyal opposition or if need be during an election. Since when does the G&M decide what the meeting agenda is, or pretend to know with such certainty?

In the same vein, the "analysis" from yesterday's released poll could easily have yielded articles about the on-going failure of conservatives to gain ground after 18 months in power instead of the glowing assessment of the potential potential that awaits them if they simply paint by the numbers our analysis provides.

Imagine if the range of questions in the poll had included possible actions Dion could take to gain stature. Then the "analysis" could have all focused upon the potential of Liberals if they do x, y, and

So do they expect that Harper is going to draft a new throne speech based upon their findings? And if he does, I hope the conservatives also draft a check to the pollsters to cover the expenses and properly disclose the payment to Elections Canada.

Perhaps a bit of over-reaction, I'll admit. But frankly it's a little disturbing just how G&M managed to turn a tied poll into an glowing assessment of how good it is for the conservatives. Essentially, their by-line for the series of articles should have been "don't let the numbers fool you (they actually did say that part), let us tell you what we want you to believe."

And, that is sad. Do they have Fox consultants at the G&M now?

August 29, 2007 10:50 AM  
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Blogger Breana said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 11, 2007 9:17 PM  
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