Friday, April 15, 2005

Spring Election II: The Polls

We've seen a poll this week from Ipsos-Reid and one from EKOS that were taken after the publication ban was lifted. Apparently another is going to be published tomorrow. I'm rather tired of reading obviously faulted interpretations of the minutea contained in these polls regional snapshots so I'll stick to the broadstrokes:

Nationally

Things look quite bad for the Liberals. By most accounts their support has fallen below what it was just after the scandal originally broke. This seems to support my supposition that the testimony from Brault and co. has put the scandal in a new, much worse light for most Canadians.

The NDP

The leftwing supporters are understandably as upset about Adscam as those on the right and many of them are migrating to the NDP. I imagine there is a certain level of "perceived support" (what the media is saying) at which point people will either consider the NDP to be a viable option for government or feel too repulsed by the Liberals to vote for them strategically. I think we may be near to this situation now and if it holds to election day we may have both a very unpredictable election (much higher turnout in competitive NDP ridings, and more leftwing vote splitting) and an oddly balanced post-election House of Commons.

Quebec

Things aren't totally certain but it seems that the Tories may be able to present an alternative for federalist voters in Quebec. I'm most wary about the permanence of this situation and I think that federalist Quebec voters are the most likely to be scared by Harper and the yahoo factor into returning to the Liberal fold.

The Heisenberg Effect

The MSM and right wing pundits have together been bemoaning the apparent desensitization Canadians have to scandals. It is hard to tell whether this is the case or whether voters were simpy unwilling to vote for the alternatives but, the next week or two may prove to be a turning point.

I don't pretend to have any great insight into the Canadian psyche but these polls may start to break the desensitization dam, so to speak. I think that Canadians conscious of what their neighbours think of them may not want to be the only province or riding or whatever seen to be still supporting "corrupt" Liberals. Polls which show a high level of volatility in Liberal support (let's face it, more than a 5% drop in a month is definitely volatile) will, I think tend to cause even more volatility. They'll have a "snowball effect" so to speak. And for this reason I will not be making any serious outcome predictions until the writs are dropped.

Update: Wrote this in draft a couple days ago so the number of polls is out of date. I still think the general point holds though. BTW, if anyone knows a site that does a good job of tracking these federal polls please feel free to post the link in the Comments section.

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