Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Superstar: an awfully high bar to set

Paging Feschuk, there's more toadying going on: "‘Superstar’ status in global economic poll strengthens Harper’s hand." "Superstar," my. That's quite a headline. Having Mary Katherine Gallagher flashbacks. Look at the lede too, the opposition may as well pack up and go home, it's all over folks:
A new international survey shows Canadians are in a very positive mood about the state of the economy, suggesting the opposition parties face an uphill battle pushing for change on the eve of a possible federal election.

Describing Canada as a “superstar,” an Ipsos online survey of citizens in 24 countries finds 68 per cent of Canadians are feeling good about the economy. Those January numbers are up six points from a month earlier.
Because one online poll is definitive in Canadian politics after all. Well, maybe until tomorrow's poll, or the one the day after, as we surely know they will come. This one involved 1,000 Canadians, for the record.

An election is framed in the piece as entirely about the economy and how great it is in these here global parts. It's clearly one of the biggest issues, yes, but elections do have a way of taking on a life of their own. Individual issues with economic implications will be spliced off from the vague economy talk. Then there's Ms. Oda and the subject of honesty, integrity, democracy, yadda, yadda, yadda, such matters will come up.

Back to the article, the poll is cited, then Ipsos pollster John Wright goes on to relate how this is good news for the Conservatives, further "The flurry of Conservative ads criticizing Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff have also proven to be “very, very effective.” What's more, Wright doesn't feel political change will happen "...because the Conservatives poll so strongly on economic matters. “People may feel good, but they want to keep the goodness going,” he said." It's all coming up roses, a singular issue focus with no context offered up here, as in actual economic facts on the ground in Canada.

So here are a few items off the top of the heap...from February 2nd, just a few weeks ago:
A slower-growing economy is offering little hope to Canada’s 1.4 million unemployed, economists told Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in talks in advance of the March budget.

Unemployment, now standing at 7.6 per cent, will average a slightly higher 7.7-per cent through 2011, according to the average forecast of the dozen economists who met with Flaherty.
And recall this from mid-January on the we're-so-internationally-special-talking-point:
“There is this real kind of anxiety – ‘I don’t want to hear one more time,’ they say, ‘that we’ve done better than other G7 countries, because my life is worse,’ ” said the official. “The more Harper talks about macroeconomic numbers, the more it bothers them.”
"Superstar" is an awfully high bar to set. Nice coverage in the pages of a national paper if you can get it. Whether people feel all the superstar goodness on the ground as they canvass all the issues? Guessing that they're not quite at that level of agreement but we shall see.