Monday, October 06, 2008

Canada Federalection 2008 - [insert colour] Shift

A lot has happened since my last post 6 days ago... the debates (including the Canadian, the U.S. bailout, and looming world economic recession.

Polls indicated that the Conservatives were teetering close to a majority if not there. The Liberals remain stagnant in the mid 20's, the NDP are edging close to that, and the Bloc has regained its earlier losses.

But with a week left, and a weak left (get it?), Harper is poised to continue on as prime minister.

So what's happened in a nutshell?

The old Harper, er..., John Howard speech from five years ago I think was spun well by the Liberals; the story had legs over a few days. The Conservative war room seem to be asleep in trying to point out heavily that Bob Rae and Dion have both plagiarized themselves. But all the parties have had candidates quit over some controversy. I don't think this has affected the national campaigns overall that much.

Duceppe won the French debate, Layton the English debate, while Dion improved and went beyond his very very low expectations, where Harper didn't wow anyone, and has remained calm, cool, and collected throughout it all... as a prime minister should do. Chretien did it in 1997.

The Liberals have gone to the old playbook in equating Harper with Bush. I think Canadians are really tired of this line and reeks of desperation from the Liberals. The Conservatives are coming out with another warm fuzzy one with a positive message, which will work and gain them a couple points.

So let me get this straight... arts folks in Quebec are complaining about Harper's so-called cuts to arts and now putting their protest vote with the Bloc, a party that wants to separate from Canada and no longer receive ANYTHING from the federal government. Hmmm... yeah, makes a lot of sense to me. With 5000 people marching in Montreal today, you wonder why they're not working instead.

I don't think people are buying Dion's carbon tax approach and Harper needs to remind everyone of that, which he did in the debates. Today, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Harper both went on national TV to calm investors and mention the aspects of the Canadian economy that have controls on it and the foresight they had a year ago when they put in these measures such as requiring 5% down on a mortgage and eliminating 40 year amortizations. They need to continue to hammer this all week to ease people's worries.

Dion's plan to have meetings within the first 30 days will be too late and Jack's plans will also be too late, which is why the Conservatives need to explain that they already put in measures to protect the Canadian economy.

Most of all, if the Liberals get near the margin of error, then you can expect soft-NDP votes to go Liberal again. It's these folks who seem to determine how well the Liberals do by preventing some vote splitting. But luckily for the Conservatives, the NDP have put together an excellent campaign and Jack Layton's performance has been very good.

Noise Filtering
This week, we're going to see more campaign TV ads, spin, rhetoric, polls, and pundits than we've ever seen before. How Canadians filter the noise and soak up the one or two emotions they get will determine their vote.

I think people see a Conservative gov't as inevitable, and the only way Harper will get to the magical 155 seats is with a split left happening in 20 more ridings this time around. I think they've gained their lost seats in BC (+5), will still grab more in Ontario (+10) and double their seats in Quebec (+10) which puts them awfully close to a majority. If they hit 37.5%, they'll get the majority.

Therefore, I still stand behind my 157 seat prediction for the Conservatives with the Liberals around 75 and as a result, the Red Green Shift will have turned Blue.

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