Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Brunswick Election - September 27, 2010

The New Brunswick election got underway this week.  The Liberals under Premier Shawn Graham have a narrow lead of five points over the PCs.  However, the same Corporate Research Associates poll that gives the Liberals a 41-36 edge over the PCs makes it clear that there is a substantial amount of dissatisfaction in the province.
One factor in this race that may be getting discounted too greatly by the media is the NDP.  The party appears likely to perform much more strongly than in the past.  The NDP has 16% in the poll cited above with the Greens at 6%.  TC estimates that the current spread in seats would be L - 34, PC - 20 and NDP - 1.  However, TC has seen some private polling that suggests that NDP could do much better.  As it is 16% represents an increase of 10 points since 2006.  This is going to be an interesting, competitive race that could result in a change of government, a minority administration or both.
This blog site is a good way to follow the election.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ontario Liberals trail Conservatives in new poll

The National Post has a new Ipsos-Reid poll today, advertised as the first to show the McGuinty government behind the Conservatives. However, this latter point is a bit of pollster ego. The first Ipsos poll to show the Liberals behind it may be. However, an Environics poll released last October actually put the PCs 5 points ahead at that time, so the evidence of political trouble for the Liberals has been around for some time now.

The Ipsos-Reid poll has the PCs at 36, the Liberals at 35 with the NDP at 18 and the Greens at 11.  TC calculates that this would produce a Liberal minority government. The seat distribution would be:

Liberals - 51
PCs - 38
NDP - 18.

She isn't all that well known now but it might be worthwhile for people in Ontario to find out more about Andrea Horvath.  In a little more than a year she may be playing an important role in their lives.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Harper's Decline

As recently as the end of May some, but not all, polling numbers suggested an election could produce a result leaving the governing Conservatives with about as many seats as they won last time.  That was before the G20 fake lake, the census fiasco, and Stockwell Day's imaginary crime wave, all compounded now by the Tamil ship, which one might easily guess has the party's base, the Reform type Conservative supporters, fuming. The decline has taken a substantial toll on Tory popularity.

Three polls are aggregated below and turned into seats. Here is the House of Commons an average of the Ekos, Harris-Decima and Vision Critical (Reid) polls produce:

C.P.C. Liberal NDP Green Bloc Other Total
Poll 33.0 28.4 16.6 10.8 9.5 1.7 100
Seats 123 96 37 0 51 1 308

The Harper government has been considerably weakened by events this summer. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Miserable Summer of Stephen Harper

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. This column by Don Martin sums it up well as
"the summer where Harper lost his census, at least in terms of the once-mandatory long-form version, and put worried frowns on senior staff and even some ministers.
Harper's decision and its fib-laced justification has tarnished a once-capable minister so badly that Tony Clement would, if he had an ounce of self-respect, resign from cabinet.
Clement should've done what former industry minister Jim Prentice did when he was asked to consider ending the mandatory filing of the detailed census form several years ago.
He told the idea's proponents to shove it.
This is not a singular vote-changing issue, of course, but, when added to other odd moves, has redefined this pragmatic prime minister as prickly, ruthless and needlessly ideological.
The dramatic ouster of MP Helena Guergis from cabinet, caucus and any future Conservative candidate lineup appears excessively thuggish given there's been no supporting evidence of inappropriate behaviour.
The flaccid results from billions spent on G8-G20 summits featuring bogus infrastructure spending has hurt the Conservatives' competent management reputation.
The end to prison farms without a rehabilitative replacement seems ideologically petty.
And then Stockwell Day -- arguably one of the best performers in cabinet -- became a laughing-Stock after he linked federal prison expansion to unreported crimes which, by definition, leaves criminals unconvicted and free from locked-cell accommodation.
No wonder Conservatives can't wait for this summer to end. It's been a non-stop series of bad decisions complicated by worse communications to appease a hard-right support base with nowhere else to go.
While Michael Ignatieff's road-tested image enhancement and Jack Layton's return to active duty were bad news, Stephen Harper's biggest headaches were all self-induced."

The polls reflect a new reality. The Census in particular (read this about how badly they have handled the issue) and the other Conservative shenanigans have taken their toll.  More on that later in the weekend.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Benefits of Government Intervention in the Economy

This NYT summary of a study by the economists Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi is clear:
In a new paper, the economists argue that without the Wall Street bailout, the bank stress tests, the emergency lending and asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, and the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus program, the nation’s gross domestic product would be about 6.5 percent lower this year.
As the Times asserts "the government’s sweeping interventions to prop up the economy since 2008 helped avert a second Depression."