It seems to have the news media scratching their collective heads. Public opinion polls, taken across Canada since the robo-call situation came to light, show little change. The federal conservatives are down a bit, the NDP are about the same and the Liberals up a bit. The conclusion the media come to is that an election would change nothing and people are not very concerned about the possibility of another political scandal. It just goes to show that looking good on television does not necessarily mean you know what you are talking about.
It has been stated many times that the only polls that matter are those conducted by the chief electoral officer. What happens between those electoral events is a slow drip of extraneous information that can be shed easily by the politically devout or be an irritant that worries its way under the skin of the politically sensitive. And then an election is called and the critical questions of the day are effectively answered by those who stay home and do not vote.
Elections are much easier to lose than to win. Voters want to vote for those who are confident but not arrogant. They want to vote for winners. They want to vote for those who think like them but also have ideas. They want to vote for someone they can look up to but does not look down on them. They want to vote for a local but would not know the person if they tripped over them. They vote for the leader of the party because the media ignore the rest. And they only get around to thinking about the election after the polls have closed.
Public opinion polls taken today are somewhat useless anyway. Both the Liberals and the NDP have interim leaders. The NDP get to choose a leader in a couple weeks. So far it has been a lacklustre campaign. The biggest surprise will be if the NDP choose MP Thomas Mulcair from Quebec. The least surprise will be the emergence of MP Peggy Nash as the new leader. The worst news for the NDP would be the coronation of Brian Topp. The best news for the Liberals would be a win by MP Nathan Cullen from B.C. We all await the party’s decision.
The Liberals are not slower in the choosing of a new leader but they know they have time. There will be no sudden general election. Prime Minister Harper will go at least four years from May of 2011. The Liberal candidates will come out of their cocoons during 2013. The election of a new Liberal leader will be a spirited, hard-fought affair in 2014. It will be fun.
And then some honest public opinion polls can be done. They will be more indicative of reality. And then we can try to make that reality happen on the next election day.
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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