Thursday, May 14, 2015

Likability and politics

In politics it helps to be liked.  It is not essential but it certainly helps and in some cases it can be the difference.

We should be reminded of this by the two surprise election results in Ontario and Alberta this year.  In both cases the eventual winners were not given much chance of victory at the beginning of the election campaign but both triumphed.  Other factors went into the victories to be certain but the fact that both Ms. Wynne and Ms. Notley were generally liked played an important role in their eventual victories.

We see this phenomenon alot in politics.  Part of the reason Jean Chretien was so successful was people liked him.  Jack Layton lead the NDP to Official Opposition status partly because people liked him.  

Part of what held back Mr. Harper in 2006 and 2008 was the fact people generally did not like him and that included some of his supporters.  I have seen that personally among some of my friends and family who generally support the Conservatives.  Many of them support the Party but think Mr. Harper is a prick.  They genuinely mean that. They are not giving him a backhanded compliment.  They really do believe he is an asshole.  

In the upcoming election Canadians are going to decide whether they want a change of government or not.  If they decide that they do there is not much the Conservatives will be able to do about that.  History has made that abundantly clear.  In that case Canadians will be looking to find an alternative for the current government.  In that situation being liked by the electorate more than the other guys will not be an advantage to sneeze at.  As we have seen twice this year it can make a difference.

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