Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The real problem for the Liberals

From SES, Canadians are asked (paraphrased) "How comfortable are you with the Harper Conservatives forming a majority government?" (Poll PDF here) The answer? The "comfortable" and "somewhat comfortable" numbers add up to 52%. The "comfortable" outnumber the "uncomfortable" 33-29, and the "somewhat comfortable" outnumber the "somewhat uncomfortable" 19-16.

The Liberals have not, since the Harper victory in January, managed to convince Canadians that Harper is worth evicting. But, even more damning for anyone who thinks the NDP is to blame for Harper's government, is the fact that the Liberals have not even managed to convince all Liberals that Harper deserves evicting. When self-identified Liberals were asked how comfortable they were with Harper, the "comfortable" and "somewhat comfortables" add up to 39%.

Let me say that again: 39% of Liberals are "comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" with their most powerful political rivals forming a majority government in the next election. The equivalent number for the NDP is 32%, for Bloc voters it's 31%. Now, these are liable to be small samples so we can probably say that all these three parties are within the margin of error of each other. Except, possibly, in one case: The NDP respondents outnumber the Liberal respondents who say they are flat-out "uncomfortable" with a Conservative majority by 11% (50-39). That's a pretty clear indication that yes, the NDP voters are even more worried about Harper than the Liberals are. (It would have to be a pretty huge margin of error.)

These numbers show us two things: 1) The Liberals need a leader and some unity, fast-like. I know some Liberals thought an early leadership campaign was a bad thing, but I think these numbers show how desperately the Libs need to make their case. 2) The Liberals still have a huge opportunity to "steal" (to use their language) NDP voters by making a genuine progressive appeal to NDP voters. Whether they waste this opportunity or not is up to them, as always. I'm not optimistic.

Nevertheless, if the Liberals want to scream at the rest of us about how we should all surrender to Big Red for the greater cause of defeating the Harper conservatives, they should maybe, for the sake of honesty if nothing else, achieve some kind of unanimity themselves.

1 comment:

Richard_Cranium said...

In our country of political apathy, there is little difference between doing everything right, and doing nothing wrong. So I see it that it matters not who is in power, we never really have it that bad anyway.