Saturday, March 26, 2011

(60% of) Canada Votes

And we're off. At least I assume we are - I'm away from e-mail today and this was drafted up last night with an 11 am timestamp. I wouldn't put it past Stephen Harper to cancel the election so as to ensure Canada's economic recovery stays on track.

While I'll no doubt be busy this campaign, there's always time for election blogging. I'll be doing a week-in-review every Sunday. I'll try to find something interesting from Alberta to write about every Friday. Like last election, I'll be asking you to rate commercials with "Ad Watch". I'll be running seat projections. There will be debate live blogs full of live snark. I'll try to keep things light and not get too uber-partisan because, as important as elections are, blogging about them should be fun. Let's leave the nastiness for the Tory war room.

If you're just tuning in now, here's what you need to catch up on:

-Election Primer (Read other election primers here, here, here, and here)
-Election Pool (And check out the James Bow election pool too)
-Election Calendar
-Rate pre-election ads here and here
-A look at the Tory platform


So, what should we expect between now and May 2nd?

I know the common consensus is this election won't change anything. After all, Harper is flying high in the polls and none of the dozen scandals plaguing his government have Canadians protesting in the streets.

But despite this, my gut feeling is Michael Ignatieff is going to surprise people this campaign. And I say this as someone who has never been overly optimistic about Liberal chances in recent elections, and was never a big fan of Mr. Ignatieff's during either of his leadership runs.

I'm not saying he'll win, but he does have some things going for him. Those gloomy poll numbers have been built on two years of attack ads - during a campaign, voters will get to see Ignatieff's side of the story. And he's got the makings of a good story. A "family friendly" Liberal platform is going to sound a lot more appealing than corporate tax cuts or new fighter jets. It certainly doesn't hurt that the Tories are besieged by scandal.

But that's just my gut feeling. Anyone who tells you how this election will play out is full of it. Campaigns are unpredictable and campaigns matter.

So stay tuned. It's going to be a fun ride.

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7 Comments:

  • My gut feeling is conservatives, strategists and supporters, are afraid Michael Ignatieff is going to surprise us.

    I really really hope he does. I don't like the guy, but I am prepared to change my mind, and I certainly prefer him over the guy we've got.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 11:33 AM  

  • Michael will surprise you all right. You'll be surprised at how quick he can get back to Harvard after the election.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:38 AM  

  • Somebody better tell him he's a Liberal and not a Democrat and remind him he's in Canada now.

    "I'm a Democrat... a democratic politician right to the bottom of my feet and the top of my toes".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:33 PM  

  • I think it probably be better than the 2008 election, but that's not saying much.

    By Anonymous Christopher B., at 7:02 PM  

  • It's been pointed out before, but the reason we're seeing a decline in voter "turnout" is that there are more people on the Voters List who had no intention of voting.

    The percentage of the population who votes has been fairly steady (give or take a few percentage points) for decades.

    http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=ele&dir=turn&document=index&lang=e

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:37 PM  

  • Actually Anon 4:33, he sounds like a New Democrat with that platform.

    Honestly, against the backdrop of Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland Iceland, a pile of large US states, and now anarchy in England, is this really the time to promote a platform of entitlement spending???

    By Blogger Patrick, at 12:39 AM  

  • In 2008, all Dion had to do to improve his numbers was to not break down sobbing in the midst of public addresses. Instead, his brilliant handlers hid him in a closet (most Liberal ads were attack ads). Indeed, one of the rare moments when Dion was allowed out were in the debates, which benefited his party.

    Michael Ignatieff is not Dion - his fundamentals are far sounder. On numerous occasions under his leadership, the Liberals have significantly narrowed the gap with Harper - for much of 2009, during the second prorogation, and in the G8 summer for instance. He did this despite registering at about 14% in best PM polls.

    Secondly, the Liberals can win the economy argument (they should not run a campaign on ethics - the media will do that for them). Harper has so far been successful at framing the economy question: did the Tories handle to recession effectively? Instead, Ignatieff needs to ask people: are you better off than you were five years ago (whether fair or not).

    Finally, both of the vote-splitting parties on the left have some serious weaknesses. Jack Layton - whose personal popularity is vital for the NDP - is in poor health. Similarly, the signature issue of the Greens is unlikely to impress in bad economic times, while the argument that voting Green helps Harper has been confirmed time and time again since 2004.

    So, although I think the most likely outcome of this election is the status quo, I think a Liberal minority is an under-predicted outcome.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 1:24 PM  

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