Friday, April 29, 2005

Paul on Paul

"IMMENSELY SELF-SATISFIED, LOG-ROLLING UPDATE, next morning: Coyne admits I was right when I predicted, about ten minutes after Martin finished speaking, that he would win his play. This is especially gratifying because Andrew is almost always smarter than me. I've kept track of assorted blogs and pundits who said I was wrong, and will be watching to see whether they eat similar crow. Fun times!"

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...

9 Comments:

  • All I can say is it's early days yet.

    By Blogger Greg, at 3:23 PM  

  • The polls are interesting though. Some of us have returned to the Liberal fold. I suspect others may feel the way I do:

    1) Kinsella's attempt to connect Martin to adscam appeared petty and political. It muddied the waters enough that....

    2) Martin's request to await the final report seemed reasonable.

    3) The idea of Harper in charge is unattractive.

    4) It is just so much fun to watch Harper back himself from corner to corner.

    By Blogger Psychols, at 7:12 PM  

  • So..we've seen two polls from two companies that no one before now has even heard of before. I think before accepting them as gospel or indicative a wait and see approach is likely best. Who knows how these people do their polling? Once Ekos, Environics and Ipsos clock in we'll get a better feeling to how things stand. Its a bit early to be leaping out of windows yet.

    I tend to agree that we're going to see a flood of relevations flowing forth that are going to be damning and will ignite the scandal fever all over again. Gomery is a gift that just keeps on giving. I'm counting on the froensic accountants to have some wonderfully gory details still to come.

    Furthermore, Paul Martin can't just request air time after each relevation comes out to beg for his life. Unfortunately this isn't survivor its more like Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and Paul is out of lifelines..he's called a friend, asked the audience and gone with his 50/50 video pitch.

    But 49% of the average family income goes towards taxation. I may not be part of the brain trust that runs the show, but were it up to me I'd be plastering that figure on tv, saying how much of it I want to give you back. And deriding Jack and Paul as being the appropriating duo for whom apparantly "there isn't a social program bloated enough, nor a tax burden big enough for them to think that maybe its time to give some money back."

    By Blogger Chris, at 9:59 PM  

  • Chris:

    The 1st poll I agree with you.. never heard of the group and their #'s seemed skewed.

    The 2nd poll however had some more legitiamcy to it... even though I hadnt heard of the name of the polling company.. I certainly knew Alan Gregg who presented it... so I view his poll as having a bit more credibility (and actually validating the first group's poll to some extent).

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 11:14 PM  

  • Well Scott, my point is that I've never heard of either the Strategic Council or the GPC as political polling firms prior to this, so I really am not aware of any track record to judge them by. Hence I'm taking a wait and see on the established players stance on it.

    But I'm still relatively confident even if they are right. I think are plenty of bullets left in the political revolver that is the Gommery Commisions, and Martin can only make so many desperate promises. Although I have to wonder at voters being that volitile. Our numbers, the BQ's numbers and the NDP numbers are jumping all over the place in a drastic manner. Which is why I'd like to see the trend emerging.

    My only real worry is that the Brain Trust becomes too obsessed by the scandal and forgets to talk about tax cuts, law and order etc. Yes, it helps Conservatives if we bring up the scandal, but I think the blatant appeal to self interest of driving home tax cuts could seal the deal in a way Harper hasn't managed yet.

    By Blogger Chris, at 11:50 PM  

  • "But 49% of the average family income goes towards taxation. I may not be part of the brain trust that runs the show, but were it up to me I'd be plastering that figure on tv…"

    The problem, Chris, if they plaster that figure on TV is that they'd end up with egg on their faces, since it overstates the tax-burden by about a third.

    It's an interesting point, though. How much tax rage is there out there? A few years ago it was pretty strong. I wonder whether watching the train-wreck that's occurred south of the border has made the public a little more cautious about huge, sweeping tax cuts.

    By Blogger buckets, at 9:48 AM  

  • Chris: New polls out from Ipsos-Reid and Ekos . Ekos shows the trend continuing of Liberal recovery and Tory stall... while the Ipso-Reid poll shows a slight Tory lead, but with stablization of the numbers and all 3 major parties losing support from the last IPsos poll.

    I talk about them a bit at BlogsCanada E-group today (Sat)

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 9:49 AM  

  • Yes, I saw the Ekos poll last night. That poll seemed a bit more on than the others. Through it does seem the Liberals have temporarily recovered. That's not particularly surprising Ontario is often alot like a battered wife. But there still time and plenty of corruption to change peoples minds.

    By Blogger Chris, at 3:04 PM  

  • I get tired of hearing how Ontarions are "battered wives" for voting Liberal..

    They (and we - since I'm an Ontarion) vote Liberal because we dont trust Stephen Harper and the Tories to not act like wackos on social policy once they get in... not to mention being too pro-Bush. pro-BMD.

    Better the devil you know then the one you dont I think goes the saying.

    I also will not put it all down to Ontario's "fault" for not voting Tory - Harper has problems for the very same reasons I mentioned in the urban centres of Canada.
    The one poll showed Harper and the Conservatives were only polling 18% in cities with more then a million people.. THIRD behind the NDP.

    Maybe Tory supporters should stop blaming Ontario and the East for not supporting the Tories and start looking at their own policies which causes urban Canadians in general to blanch at the thought of a Tory Government.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 5:48 PM  

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