Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Election's Second Month

We are now exactly 60 days into the 2015 election campaign.  It has been an interesting second month.

Generally speaking it is looking like it is shaping up to be like every other election of the last 50 years, with the 2011 election being an aberration.  That is, a two way race between the Liberals and Conservatives with the NDP barely relevant in third place.

The Liberals have managed to:

  • Set themselves apart from the other parties with their plans for the economy.
  • Largely establish themselves as the real agent of change.
  • Allow Justin Trudeau to establish himself as someone who can handle the job of PM.  
  • Make the Liberal Party not only relevant but to make it a contender for government.
The Liberal campaign has been focused and positive and it has been resonating with Canadians.  So far they have run a nearly flawless campaign so I am really looking forward to what they have in store for the final two week sprint to the finish.  If the final two weeks are anything like the first two months things could be very ugly for the Conservatives and NDP on October 19.

The Conservatives have so far managed to stave off the "Conservatives are losers" narrative so that is an accomplishment.

However, I cannot help but notice that they are continuing to throw an inordinate amount of red meat as their base.  By contrast at this stage in the 2011 campaign they had already moved on to convincing those outside of their base to vote for them.  So that begs the question of why they believe it is still necessary to placate their base.

One hint might be the fact that every poll that measures the desire for change is indicating that it is between 70 and 75%.  To put that into perspective the last time we had a change of government, in 2006, the Martin Liberals never had a "desire for change" score higher than 65%.  Further some of these polls are also indicating that the percentage of respondents that do not want change is less than 25% with one poll even putting it at 18%.

Political parties keep polling firms on retainer during election campaigns.  They poll Canadians in order to gain real and useful data with which they can tweak their message to maximize its impact.  I believe the internal polls of the Conservative Party are saying in no uncertain terms what the public polls are hinting at, which is, that the Conservative base is not as solid as many believe it is.  I personally know a half-a-dozen people who voted Conservative the last two times who will not be voting that way this time.  I suspect the Conservative base is not as happy as the party would like and they believe there is a real danger that a significant number of Conservative supporters may not bother showing up on election day or worse yet voting for someone other than a Conservative candidate.

I think the NDP might have blown it.  They were so close but I think the dream is gone. They made the mistake of believing the hype and they have been running a front-runner campaign when they were never really the front-runner.  Further they banked on maintaining the same high level of support of the Quebecois as they received in 2011 and as the polls indicated they might receive again this time. That was just plain stupid considering how volatile Quebec voters can be.  Now the NDP has begun a steady fade.  I am pretty certain that they have not yet hit the floor with regard to where the support will wind up.  Historically, they have generally been in the 20% range and I would not be surprised if that is where they finally end up by the time this is all over.

At this point in the campaign the Liberals are right where they want to be.  
  • They are in contention.
  • Mr. Trudeau's star is rising.
  • Their main opponent has not begun the effort of building the voting coalition of 2011 that took them to their majority.  Instead, it looks to me like they are running more of a save the furniture type of campaign.
  • The desire for change is at unprecedented levels in the country.
  • The NDP is looking less and less like the most viable party to replace the Conservatives.  As that sinks in with those desiring change the Liberals are going to take off at the expense of the NDP.
On August 2, I predicted a Liberal majority government.  I still believe that is the most probable outcome of this election.


Blogger Omar said...

If this poll is a harbinger of the Liberal majority to come on October 19, then I will travel to Ottawa and buy you a drink. Or two! You, good sir, are a sage.

October 10, 2015 9:33 AM  

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