Monday, November 28, 2011

A new poll

"Federal Liberals gain on NDP, Conservatives, poll finds."

Let's fight the "it doesn't mean anything" meme before it starts, shall we? I will venture to say it means something. It's a psychological boost, let's not kid ourselves amidst all the Liberal party is dead doom and gloom. It's also a reflection of a decent spell for Liberals, more on that below. So it's a pleasant surprise to see a poll that reflects a bit of movement:
The federal Liberals have picked up support from both parties and are now in a dead heat with the NDP, a new poll shows, as concern over the economy returns to the fore for Canadians.

The Nanos Research Poll, conducted for The Globe and Mail and CTV, shows the Liberals with 28.1 per cent, up from 23.4 per cent last month.

The Liberals were bolstered by added support in vote-rich Ontario, where the party is now in a statistical tie with the Conservatives, the poll shows.

The Tories, meanwhile, edged down to 35.6 per cent from 37.7 per cent in last month’s poll, and the NDP dropped to 27.3 per cent from 30 per cent.
What might have contributed to the spike in Liberal numbers? Is it all just a question of gaining by default, as Nik Nanos puts it? Or, maybe Liberals actually deserve a little bit of credit?

There was Rae's speech in Toronto that was well-received and spoke directly to economic issues. The poll was taken a week after that speech. Rae himself has been a bright likable light in drab, negative Ottawa. He is doing yeoman's work as interim leader and media coverage has been favourable for the most part.

The poll notes the issue of primary concern among respondents is the economy. Canada's relatively good economic performance as compared to the rest of the world is frequently tied during such discussions to the economic stewardship during the Chretien/Martin era. That gets a lot of play as conditions worsen around the world and you have to wonder about residual good will for Liberals being in the Canadian psyche and coming to the fore as they think about economic questions. If there's anything to that thesis at all, it's not good news for the NDP who face a climb in proving themselves as economically capable at the federal level.

Not coincidental to the mid-November poll time, but from earlier in the fall in October was the unanimous agreement in the Commons to a national suicide prevention strategy. It was a good moment that surpassed partisanship. That day struck an emotional chord with me, I wonder how many Canadians felt the same and whether a bit of good will may have taken root.  

Regarding the NDP, their higher profile MPs vacating the scene for a leadership race has likely had some impact here. Nycole Turmel has not been strong as opposition leader. And, as noted above, economic issues might be more of a hurdle for the NDP. The fact that the Liberals are strong in the poll in Ontario where there is a Liberal government who are trusted more on the economy may have something to do with it too.

A little bit of fun in the mix. Not a bad way to start the week at all.