Monday, October 22, 2007

All Hope of Harper Majority Lost!!

This slightly tongue in cheek header should startle most readers at least slightly. That's because the lines the conventional media have been peddling: the Harper can do no wrong/ Dion can do no right/ pay no attention to the other parties/ an election is just around the corner/ might make it seem a tad confusing. This conventional wisdom has been reinforced by the Ipsos polls, which keeping preaching the notion that the Harper majority is at hand (See the release here titled helpfully, "Canadians Prefer Harper Majority").

The first and most important point about this is that the Ipsos record, while not terrible, is weaker than other pollsters (see this evaluation of how pollsters did in 2006). And so far none of the others are producing polls these days as favourable to the Harper Tories as Ipsos, which just happens to conduct its polls for the blatantly pro-Conservative Canwest press.

However, what I find interesting is that the last two Ipsos polls (I wrote about the earlier one here), as favourable to the Conservatives as they are, still don't produce a majority in my seat estimation model although the most recent one gets close. Another poll out last weekend, done for La Presse by Unimarketing, also showed Liberal decline (to 24.6%) but found much weaker support for the Conservatives (36.3%) with the NDP at 18.9%. This produces a much weaker Conservative minority - 139 C, 81 L, 35 NDP & 53 Bloc. What continues to amaze TC is that even with a 13 point lead, the Ipsos poll doesn't actually produce a Tory majority, hence the header. The Conservatives do have a real uphill struggle to win that elusive majority and it is abundantly clear, poll after poll, that they are not going to find it in Quebec.

There is no doubt the Liberals have had a bad period but as the default choice of so many, especially in Ontario, it would be unwise to simply write them off. I would also like to see the Ottawa media begin to recognize the complexities of a system with extremely strong regional differences, four parties represented in the House, and another on the outside (the Greens) starting to win significant numbers of votes. It is time to move beyond the Harper/Dion soap opera and begin to recognize that Canada is a diverse country with diverse political trends and experiences.

No comments: