Sunday, April 10, 2011

Week 2 in Review - You Didn't Miss Much

After a relatively substantive opening week to the campaign, week two quickly descended into a morass of meaningless gaffes and process stories - the kind of things that earn tons of ink, even though voters care next to nothing about them.

We shockingly learned that Stephen Harper likes to stack Conservative rallies with Conservatives. We had local candidates veering off message, and veering way off message. We had our first chicken suit sighting of the campaign.

Suffice to say, the parties are probably correct in assuming voters would rather watch a hockey game than this mess.

Poll Soup: I'll post updated projections tomorrow. For now, Nanos has the Tories up by 8, as does Ekos. Angus Reid has the gap at 11, Environics has it at 13, and Ipsos has it at 15.

Election Prediction Project: CPC 112, Lib 60, NDP 24, Bloc 35, Too close 77

Gaffe Pool: Harper lands some points thanks to what has blessedly not been dubbed Facebook-gate: Harper 10, Ignatieff 2, Layton 0, Duceppe 3.

Ad watch: Harper releases a Pawlenty-esque movie trailer commercial. There's just one catch - his platform planks are only coming to theaters Summer 2015.

Headline of the Week: "Why Stephen Kisses Laureen"

Falling Stars: A CROP poll shows star candidates Martin Cauchon and Larry Smith 20 points behind in their respective ridings.

What they Stand for: The Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, and Greens all release their platforms.

Quote of the Week: There were many variations of it, but Gilles Duceppe again takes the prize: “Harper should have invited Carson to a Conservative rally – then he would have been screened.”

Tweet of the Week: From @andrewmcintyre: Irony Alert! Pre-Trudeau Harper, as a Young Liberal, would now be barred from attending his own #elxn41 events as PM.

In Case you Missed it:
Hors Jeu
Platform Word Clouds
Meet a Calgary Grit: Josipa Petrunic
Pictures from the Campaign Trail
The Humanization of Michael Ignatieff
Ad Watch
Wisdom of the Crowds: Ads and Polls
Seat Projections

Liberal Week in Review

Battle Cry: "Introducing the Liberal Family Pack - which you can jumbo-size for an extra billion dollars!"

The week that was: After a strong opening week and a successful platform launch, the Liberals were thrown off-message by the revelation that their candidate in Manicouagan had made racist comments in the past. Here's the thing - these weren't some obscure comments from 20 years ago or a Twitter joke gone horribly awry...the guy was the founder of a White Rights group. Surely, that must have raised a few white flags during the candidate screening process, wouldn't it? It makes you wonder who else snuck through the cracks.

Regardless, the Liberals recovered, and quickly pivoted the election narrative to Health Care on Friday. One assumes this is more fertile ground for them than the economy, so I wouldn't be surprised to see more of that in the week ahead.

Conservative Week in Review

Battle Cry: "Here for 2015! Until then, get the hell out of here!"

The week that was: In week two, we learned that the Conservatives consider 19 year old girls, NDP bumper stickers, and homeless veterans advocates the largest threats to our fragile economic recovery. Given the questions Harper had to fend off about his refusal to take questions, by most accounts it was a bad week for Steve.

However, I'm going to disagree with "most accounts". Quite frankly, if we keep talking about sideshows like these, Harper will win. Every day Harper takes questions about being in a bubble is one day he doesn't have to talk about the holes in his platform, fighter jets, or corporate tax cuts. It wouldn't at all surprise me if his attack on Trudeau today was intended as a headline-grabbing distraction.

Stay tuned for a puffin pooping on Michael Ignatieff or a "reptilian kitten eater" press release later this week. Anything to avoid the issues.

NDP Week in Review

Battle Cry: "Making polluters pay...well, the polluters in Alberta - the rest of you get cheaper heating bills!"

The week that was: Jack Layton became the final leader to launch his platform today. As expected, it's chalk full of kitchen table goodies - the kind of populist stuff Layton has become known for.

Layton gets tough with polluters...only to cut the tax on home heating fuels. He'll hire more doctors and nurses, though it's not completely clear where the doctors and nurses will come from. There's money for seniors and caps on credit card fees.

Like I said, all good stuff that will grab votes. And Jack has looked healthy on the campaign trail. And, one presumes, he'll do good in the debates.

But still, the threat of being squeezed remains, and it may be increasingly difficult for Layton to grab headlines down the stretch drive.