Paul on Paul
OK, OK. Given I'm one of the "assorted blogs and pundits" who said Wells was wrong, I guess I should give the guy some credit on this one. I presumed that a Prime Minister begging for his life on National TV wouldn't go over as well as it did and assumed that Wells' love affair with all things Martin had clouded his judgment.
I do still think we're heading for a spring election because:
1) As Andrew Coyne points out, there's a big groundswell of pity for Martin. I've seen elections won on fear, on hope, on anger, but never on pity. Even Uncle Louis went down over scandal.
2) The polls are really fluid right now. Allan Gregg had the Green Party at 10%. And, I'm sorry, but as much as Canadians love their Muslix, I can't for the life of me believe that the Green Party who has polled 5% in every single poll for the past two years has suddenly doubled their support. I suspect a lot of people are simply parking their vote with the Greens. The GPC poll also asked for undecided votes and found 13% of Canadians undecided. This means there's a lot of volatility out there. It's hard to make definitive predictions in an environment like that. A month ago, I was convinced we'd see a November election. A week ago, I was convinced we'd see a spring vote. A lot can change really quickly.
3) Speaking of a lot changing really quickly, I believe Monsieurs Corbeil, Gagliano and Guite still have to take the stand. None are very big fans of Monsieur Martin. Given the decline of the Conservatives in the polls is likely due to the focus shifting from sponsorship to the NDP deal, it stands to reason they'll get a bounce if more "explosive" testimony is revealed.
4) Harper is under a lot of pressure from his own party to go now. And after declaring war, it'll be hard for him to back down.
5) Even if the polls are in a dead heat right now, will things be better in January? This June, we'll have the end of the Gomery witnesses, the criminal trial and Jean Chretien trying to remove Gomery. That ensures Harper he'll get material to work with throughout the campaign. I can't imagine the conditions being that favourable next January. It's pretty clear Harper won't win on policy or charisma - his only chance at victory is on scandal.
6) Returning to the original topic of Martin's gambit, even if he's gotten a bump in the polls, he's further framed the election question on corruption. But, like I'd said, Martin really had nothing to lose by speaking to the nation. I'm just surprised he gained from it.
But yeah. Paul Wells was right and I was wrong, Paul Wells was right and I was wrong, Paul Wells was right and...