The Election: Day 42 (Liberals are toast)

The Liberals got hit with three polls in the past 24 hours showing Conservative lead growing. Last night I posted the results of the Strategic Counsel poll which showed the Conservatives leading Liberals nationally by 8 points, 37% to 29%. Conservatives were also leading Liberals in Ontario.


Cons 37%
Libs 29%
BQ 13%


Cons 41%
Libs 40%
NDP 14%


BQ 52%
Libs 21%
Cons 19%

Midday today Decima released their poll showing the Conservatives leading nationally by 9 points:
Cons 36%
Libs 27%
NDP 20%
BQ 11%

Decima CEO Bruce Anderson said the poll suggests the NDP continues to draw the support of voters who might otherwise migrate to the Liberals in a two-party race. Attempts to persuade soft NDP supporters to block the Conservatives by voting Liberal do not, as yet, appear to have worked, he added.

That's particularly evident in Ontario, where the Liberals plunged 10 points to 30 per cent, while the NDP shot up eight points to 26 per cent. The Conservatives edged up two points to 38 per cent, snatching the lead in a one-time Liberal stronghold that's home to one third of the seats in the House of Commons.

In Quebec, Bloc support dropped 11 points to 49 per cent, benefiting the Conservatives, up six points to 15 per cent. The Liberals were stalled at 22 per cent.

Some federalists in Quebec appear to have chosen to support the Tories rather than ``hold their nose'' and vote for the separatist Bloc, Anderson said.

Across Canada, the poll suggested the Liberals were clinging to a narrow four-point lead in major urban centres; outside those areas, the Conservatives led by 16 points. Moreover, the Liberal lead among women voters has evaporated, with 30 per cent saying they would choose the Conservatives and a statistically equivalent 31 per cent supporting the Liberals.

Just before the debate tonight Ipsos Reid released a poll conducted for Global National and CanWest newspapers.In this poll Conservatives led by 11 points. Results were as follows:

Libs 37%
Cons 26%
NDP 18%
BQ 14%
Greens 5%

Cyberpresse.ca(La Presse) reported before the debate that:

"Le dernier sondage quotidien de la firme EKOS traduit une percée si spectaculaire des conservateurs que la firme a décidé d'attendre à ce soir avant de dévoiler ses résultats, afin de doubler son échantillon de 500 répondants.

"Nos données sont si surprenantes qu'il serait irresponsable de les dévoiler à un moment aussi critique que l'aube du débat», a expliqué à La Presse le président d'EKOS, Frank Graves."

Mike Duffy reported on CTV that the EKOS poll showed Conservatives leading Liberals by 43% to 29% (unconfirmed). EKOS decided to poll another day before reporting the results.

With these encouraging polls Harper needed to come through tonight's debate without making a major gaffe. Martin needed to hit one out of the ballpark to halt the Conservative momementum.

Martin came out swinging, targetting Harper but he was quickly cornered by all three of his opponents on the ethics and accountability issue, particulary the issue of the RCMP criminal investigation. Overall, Harper achieved his goal of looking calm, confident and reasonable. Martin tried to corner him (e.g. remove the Notwithstanding clause for federal govt -a potential trap)but didn't succeed (Harper actually handled that one skillfully). Duceppe has had better performances in the past but held his own. Tomorrow night will be his turn. Layton stayed on message: elect NDP MPs to keep the others honest.

Martin must be really desperate to pull that stunt on the Notwithstanding clause. We can look for the Liberals to throw everything including the kitchen sink at Harper during the remaining two weeks of the campaign.

My dominant impression was of a different nature. Paul Martin looked extremely pasty and extremely fatigued despite the make-up. He seemed on the verge of collapse.

For a blow-by-blow commentary on the debate check out Calgary Grit

Here are a couple of other perspectives taken from the Election Talk forum on www.nodice.ca

"Jason" summed it up thus:

"The debate changed little and once the dust settles it'll have very little effect on the momentum of this campaign. Harper didn't wow everyone but he seemed composed and ready to answer questions. Martin on the other hand, although obviously the most rowdy of the four, kept trying to get Canadians to believe that there's a gigantic chasm between his values and Harper's values. With the last SC poll suggesting Canadians identify more with Conservative values that might work against him. Layton was a good debater, perhaps the best, but he came across as too idealistic. Duceppe gave a moderate performance, I think he stressed the "Quebec nation" thing too much."

"Hampsteadgirl" summed up the leaders' performances as follows:

"I don't think that Martin has the stamina for this type of thing.
"He looked tired.
"He looked panicked.
"He looked like the guy who needs to get to the bank before it closes.

"And that Layton was irritating with his infomercial routine.
"Oh Jack, I just can't get this stain out. I've tried red and blue. Oh what to do?"
"Well have you tried a third option. Yes that's right try the third option for a "cleaner conscience and cleaner clothes."

"And Duceppe was balls to the wall.

"And Harper was just a little too comfortable."

Final comment:

Martin's Notwithstanding clause gambit may well blow up in his face. It has all the earmarks of desperation.


Anonymous said...

Harper clearly won the debate by not making any gaffes. Martin's Notwithstanding clause surprise will no doubt upset half his caucus and the provinces.

Anonymous said...

Martin looked like he was over the hill. Time to pack your bags, Paul, and head for a long vacation in barbados.