Monday, August 24, 2009

The Liberals are in the driver's seat

I should have bought a lottery ticket on the weekend. When I saw Stephen Harper stating that he "needed" a majority government to maintain some "stability" during the economic downturn (the same one many of his Members were saying was over just weeks ago) it hit me that Canwest and Ipsos would release a poll to support such a notion. Dammit, I wasted that moment of precognition on politics instead of choosing the winning 649 numbers on Saturday.

Anyway, the poll is useless like all polls are. Any political observer worth his salt knows to ignore the actual estimates and to instead look at the media frame for the poll. Doing so for this poll speaks volumes.

It was not too many months ago that if a poll indicated that the Conservatives were pushing 40% the media would be speculating on when Stephen Harper would be calling an election. For this poll the media frame is the poll will cause Michael Ignatieff to think twice about forcing an election. That is quite the change.

I said it after Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament to save his political hide that everybody in this city knows that he has won his last election. They know that, barring proof that Michael Ignatieff is a reptilian kitten eater, the Liberals will win the next election. The frightened and defensive media frame on a poll that should make the Conservatives and its shills at CanWest gung ho for an election just further demonstrates that belief.


Blogger Prairie Kid said...

And I thought Jason Cherniak wasn't blogging anymore.

August 24, 2009 7:30 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

C'mon PK, you know I am right.

Every other time the Conservatives have had polling numbers like this they dare the opposition to bring them down.

This time they are almost begging the Opposition not to force an election.

By God, 39-28, where is that Conservative bravado we have come to know when they find themselves in that situation? It is completely absent this time, both in the Party and in the media.

Of course, the answer is neither the Conservatives nor the media believe this poll is real.

They, like every other professional politico in Ottawa, know that the Conservatives' time in government will end after the next election and they want to delay that eventuality as long as possible.

August 24, 2009 10:16 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I don't know why we have elections since 'everybody knows that Harper has won his last election'. Sounds like whistling in the dark. The fact is that Canadians have heard nothing from MI that would cause them to vote for him. This means that MI will have to wait quite a while to see if he resonates with Canadians. So far he has failed.

August 24, 2009 10:33 PM  
Blogger RuralSandi said...

Convenient short memories - the people and the media.

When Harper was in opposition the theme of the media was where is Harper, what are his policies, etc. Then, 2005-06 election Harper did NOT bring out his policies until the campaign was underway.

Now, it's the same thing with Ignatieff - where is he, where's his policies?

The double-standard is ridiculous.

After the Dion fiasco why in hell would Ignatieff let anything be known about policy so that Harper could have a chance to LIE and MISINFORM people about it.

Not knowing is driving the media crazy so the resort to Iggy not doing anything this summer, meanwhile he's done town halls, worked on policy, worked on getting candidates and raised a lot of money and if they isn't busy I don't know what is. Prairie Kid's remarks are totally immature and ridiculous - oh, hell, why even comment on this kind of stupidity.

August 25, 2009 7:51 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

I thought I had to share this with you, ottlib, simply because you nailed the "we need a majority" meme to an upcoming Ipsos Reid poll so accurately . . .

What bugs me most about Ipsos Reid is the way they defend their poll. Here's how Darrell Bricker "defended" the polls results for the poll he conducted:

"Darrell Bricker, the Ipsos-Reid pollster who conducted the poll showing the huge Tory lead, defended his numbers yesterday, saying the Liberals are lacking momentum, in part because Mr. Ignatieff is a 'cipher.' Canadians don't know him or his policies."

Note he did NOT defend the poll by talking about the objective nature of the questions, their formula for determining normalizing the results, the breadth of their polling data across the nation, etc. You know, factors one would logically assume are relevant to accurate polling.

Instead, he defended it by citing the poll results! His logic is essentially, "Our poll results - which fly in the face of every other poll in the past 2 months - are accurate because, well, the poll findings show the results are logical."

Got it. I'll try that if I get pulled over for speeding.

"Well, you see, Officer, I couldn't be speeding because I was in the car, and from what I can tell, I was barely moving. My hair isn't even tussled, which it clearly would be if I were really going that fast. My assessment of the situation has to be correct. I WAS NOT SPEEDING!"

We'll see how that works out.

What credentials does one actually have to possess to conduct a poll? Is logic included in the position description anywhere? Someone should explain to Darrell that circular logic doesn't count.

August 25, 2009 2:01 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Of course, the other irritating thing about his "defense" is it is essentially another plug of a conservative campaign talking point.

How convenient.

August 25, 2009 2:19 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

Meh, polling is the lowest form of survey work, which is why I generally ignore them.

I have met Mr. Bricker and he is a stand up guy but part of his job is to defend his company and its work.

The fact he is not doing a good job of it is just a reflection of the turkey that his company produced last weekend. A spokesman for a person or a product is only as good as the person or product he is speaking about.

August 25, 2009 5:24 PM  
Blogger CanadianSense said...

Dear Ottlib,

Let's agree Pollsters can manipulate Polls by designing the questions to provide the desired answers.

This would require us to review the design, execution of the Poll.

I would not rely on a single Poll or compare different Polls from different companies using different questions because they support or detract from my own bias.

I don't share your opinion about the Liberals being in the driver seat until the groundswell to remove Harper is greater.

The groundswell regarding punishing BM was tangible. Regional Parties were created. The Liberals were able to exploit the SPLIT vote of the right during the 90's.

The Liberals were also very successful in raising large amounts of money and framing the opposition as uncanadian, anti-Quebec, scary.

From 2006-2008 the organization, fundraising had some significant problems.

The current leadership have communicated frequently they have now fixed those problems.

I am not confident the new management have expanded the party beyond the Big Fish.

Punditsguide has a breakdown on the number of donors and the average donation.

If you factor the convention and 3 large dinners in major urban centres where is the NEW regular donor?

August 26, 2009 7:19 PM  

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