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Paul Wells: ‘As far as I can tell, Stephen Harper is winning’

The Conservatives are gaining ground in the polls faster than the Liberals. And the NDP slump is serious.


 
Conservative leader Stephen Harper speaks at a rally during a campaign stop in Quebec City on Wednesday, September 30, 2015. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Conservative leader Stephen Harper speaks at a rally during a campaign stop in Quebec City on Wednesday, September 30, 2015. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Hi. Remember that great joke I had a few weeks ago about the two hikers chased by a bear, and the one guy starts lacing up running shoes, and the other guy says you can’t outrun a bear, and the first guy says, “I just need to outrun you?” That joke? And how Stephen Harper was the bear, and the hikers were Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair?

Yeah. Turns out that joke doesn’t work if the bear eats the slow guy and then runs down the one in sneakers.

In English: Perhaps Stephen Harper is winning this campaign. No, strike the “perhaps.” As far as I can tell, Stephen Harper is winning this campaign.

From the archives: Is this the last stand of Stephen Harper?

Now, winning a campaign isn’t necessarily the same as winning an election, but, if recent trends hold, it won’t even be necessary to make that distinction.

Here are the trends: The NDP has lost support over the past month. The Liberals have gained support, but not much. And the Conservatives have gained more.

Here are the results, from the polling aggregation website ThreeHundredEight.com. The website’s owner, Éric Grenier, has kept a running average of public polls for each week of the campaign. After the first week, the NDP stood at 35 per cent. By Week 4, it was at 34 per cent, then fell to 29 per cent at the end of Week 8. The Liberals have risen at glacier pace from 27 per cent after Week 1 to 31 per cent after Week 8. Plainly, Justin Trudeau brought his sneakers for this hike.

Related: How Gerald Butts plans to make Justin Trudeau the next prime minister

Ah, but the bear. The Conservatives spent the first half of the campaign losing support, falling from 30 per cent to 27 per cent by Week 5. But then they reversed course, rising to 31 per cent by Week 8, a straight tie with the Liberals and a statistical tie with the NDP. What’s the fuss?

The thing is, these trends have continued through this week, the campaign’s ninth. On Tuesday, Nanos showed the NDP down three more points, to 26 per cent. And on Thursday, two pollsters—Forum, whom I never take seriously, and the Angus Reid Institute, whom I do—both showed the Conservatives pulling well ahead of the others. Angus Reid Institute showed them at 34 per cent, with the others tied at 30 per cent.

The numbers bounce around and vary from pollster to pollster. What’s been most striking about this campaign has been the way three parties have contended realistically for power until now; how close this race has been. But the Conservatives have gained faster than the Liberals, and the NDP slump is serious. Historically, polls have modestly underestimated the Harper Conservative vote and exaggerated other parties’, compared to the final election result. If the Conservatives gain a couple more points, then get a ballot-box bonus of a couple more, it’s not impossible to imagine them winning another majority.

What happened?

First, the Mike Duffy trial took a recess until November. The revelations from the trial about Nigel Wright and Ray Novak’s amazing bubble-like impermeability to news from his colleagues’ offices made August a lousy month for the Conservatives, but then they stopped. For days, Harper took questions on no other subject. In the last three televised debates, there has been essentially no substantive mention of the Duffy trial.

Second, the economy is looking less queasy. The wee first-quarter recession ended with growth, now officially confirmed, in June and July. Encouraging economic news always depresses the “time for a change” vote.

But, of course, I’m saving the most significant events for last. On Sept. 2, Alan Kurdi’s body washed up on a Turkish beach. Thirteen days later, a Federal Court of Appeal panel dismissed the feds’ appeal over veiled citizenship ceremonies. And, 10 days after that, Justin Trudeau reaffirmed his opposition to a Conservative law that provides for citizenship to be revoked for terrorism or other grave crimes. Later that day, the Harper government revoked a convicted terrorist’s Canadian citizenship. That was last week; this week, we learned the government has sought to revoke other convicts’ citizenship, including that of a native-born Canadian who has never seen the land where he has another, inherited citizenship.

On this rockpile of events and fears, the Harper campaign has found purchase for a steady climb. The Prime Minister’s response to little Alan Kurdi’s death—insisting on military engagement against Islamic State as well as refugee resettlement—struck some observers as callous. But, within days after his comments, France joined allied airstrikes against ISIS in Syria and, this month, British Prime Minister David Cameron will ask Parliament for a mandate to do the same. Their rationale matches Harper’s.

Related: How the refugee crisis went from burden to boon for Harper

On refugees, some commentators were disheartened by Chris Alexander’s insistence on security—which implies the refugees are a threa—in increasing the rate of settlement. But, in Europe, even the most welcoming leaders—Angela Merkel, the European Council’s Donald Tusk—pivoted rapidly from an open-door policy to a far more diligent policing of the Union’s external borders, because the refugees number in the millions. “Recently, I visited refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan, and I heard only one message: ‘We are determined to get to Europe,’ ” Tusk said in Brussels on Sept. 24. “It is clear that the greatest tide of refugees and migrants is yet to come. Therefore, we need to correct the policy of open doors and windows.”

So Harper has support for his positions, including, it is becoming increasingly clear, from voters who will change their vote on the issues he has chosen.

Veiled citizenship ceremonies are an exquisitely slim wedge on which to build a comeback: Since everyone taking the oath must reveal her identity minutes before the oath, and since nothing stops anyone from putting a veil back on minutes later, this is a dispute over how an infinitessimal fraction of the immigrant population should behave during a few minutes of their lives. Critics of Harper’s policy see that as sufficient reason to mock it. Quebec’s National Assembly, unanimously, agrees with Harper’s policy. Denis Coderre, the longtime Liberal MP who is Montreal’s popular mayor, and who could pick any side of this debate that pleases him, agrees with Harper’s policy. A lot of voters outside Quebec seem to agree with Harper’s policy.

Justin Trudeau doesn’t, and finds himself sailing into the wind. Tom Mulcair doesn’t, and it is not clear his campaign can recover. The trends I’ve described could be reversed in the less than three weeks remaining in this campaign. But it’s hard to see what could happen that would be as momentous as the events that set this dynamic into gear. The polls showed an effective tie for weeks. Everyone waited for the tie to break. It has broken in Harper’s favour. His detractors were sure he could not win in 2006 and 2008 and 2011. He is used to the feeling he has now.

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Paul Wells: ‘As far as I can tell, Stephen Harper is winning’

  1. Or maybe it is just that we get closer to an election, more people pay attention, vote demographics change, polls change? Is it really Niqab/refugee making the difference? Not sure how valid the diagnosis of ‘why’ on polls can be.

    This race may be exciting as races go…but there’s not much big important stuff to contemplate…I don’t see the party’s offering anything but tweaks in their economic plans. The foundation of Trudeau’s campaign (middle class in trouble) seems fabricated out of thin air. Mulcair trying to sell major permanent new entitlements with nowhere near the $ he needs and Harper spends at rates faster than inflation while growing the public service.

    Maybe NDP comes out strong against Free Trade agreement, that might give me something to vote around.

  2. Canadians are feminists, and the niqab issue is a women’s equality issue. The state should not tolerate symbols of the worst patriarchal forms of the oppression of women in official ceremonies. It “says” the country is a hostile place for women.

    We should not tolerate white hoods at citizenship ceremonies either.

    The right to free expression must be balanced by the right to equality. Women are one of the designated protected groups under the charter equality provisions, which means symbols of the oppression of women should not be allowed in official government ceremonies.

    The niqab issue may seem like a small thing, but it is symbolic of a big thing.

    The Toronto elites have become dismissive of women’s equality in their creeping tolerance of the oppression of women as demonstrated by the niqab issue, and their acceptance of human trafficking/prostitution. (Prostitution cannot be separated from human trafficking and enslavement).

    There is very little free choice for the majority of women wearing the niqab, or who are involved in the sex trade.

    • This is a legal question, and all Canadians should view it as one. However you may feel, there is no one in Canada who is an absolute authority on whether the niqab is a symbol of women’s oppression. Therefore, the government has no legal basis on which to ban the wearing of this garment during an oath ceremony. It’s as simple as that. You may view the niqab as a frightful enough symbol that you are willing to vote for the party that best plays to these fears, but when it comes to gaining citizenship in a liberal democracy, religious garments should not ever be an excluding factor.

      • Let’s call it a dress code for the swearing-in ceremony? Or they can post a sign outside “no shoes, no shirt, no service — also no face coverings”. Personally I couldn’t care less about the niqab, but it seems reasonable not wear that at the swearing in. The other parties should have just ignored the issue completely — they tried to make it a wedge against the Tories and seems to have actually gone against the NDP and Libs. The NDP has hung it’s chances too much on “ABC” and “HDS” whereas the Libs are not real change but rather a blast from the past. But at least they have outline extensive policy.

    • How far do you want the government to go to put that ban in place?

      Even if you support the ban, it’s clear to see that the minister didn’t have the legal authority to put the ban in place under the current legislation. The government’s going to lose the next court case — and the lawyers and judges haven’t even started talking about ‘Canadian values’ or rights or any of that.

      Now, the Conservatives have said if they’re that they will develop new legislation if they lose again (and they will). Are you confident that the ban will survive a charter challenge? I’m certainly not confident of that. So, in order to make the ban fly, they’re going to have to invoke the notwithstanding clause.

      Ask yourself: is that a road you really want to go down? Do you honestly think that you can compartmentalize that state-sponsored charter violation to just niqab-wearing women?

      Folks should be careful what they wish for with this niqab ban. I don’t like the niqab either, but that’s a road I don’t want to go down.

      People say Harper is just exploiting the niqab issue for votes. I hope that’s all it ends up being (not that it’s good). I hope, if he’s fortunate enough to get re-elected, he reflects more carefully on the issue and lets it die a quiet death.

    • Congratulations, this is the most warped interpretation of feminism I’ve ever seen.

    • As a feminist, I see the common practice of women changing their names upon marriage as a symbol of outdated notions of “women as property”. Changing her name identifies her as some man’s wife.

      So, since Conservatives are so opposed to symbols of oppression, even when those symbols are freely adopted by consenting adults, I guess Harper will go after this outdated and outrageous practice next?

      • Obviously, they’re just going to have to revert to their birth-names for “official government ceremonies”.

        • Are weddings official government ceremonies? Women often wear veils for them. I think it’s a cultural thing.
          I suspect far more women can evade identity by adopting their husbands last name than they can by hiding in a Niqab.
          It’s nice to see how much interest in citizenship the niqab has inspired though!

      • I think the name change is a bit more complicated as a surname identifies a family as a unit. Moreover, there is no obligation to change your last name. Some couples adopt a hyphenated last name. Also — the name change has been a Canadian cultural practice (not so the niqab). There has been a close association of the necessity of wearing a niqab with male oppression. Even though you may see a similar association with the last name change, there is little indication that any form of oppression is involved. With the niqab, it is impossible to know if a woman is being forced to wear it or not.

        • There is no dispute that the name change has its origins in the concept that a woman is to be identified as her husband’s wife. The fact that women now choose to change their names for other reasons is no different than women who choose to cover their faces for religious ones.

        • “Moreover, there is no obligation to change your last name.”

          Indeed. Just as there is no obligation to wear the Niqab. Both are choices that people in a free society make.

      • Nothing says feminism like rejecting your husband’s last name and keeping your dad’s.

        • Well that is a good point, although it really has nothing to do with mine.

    • Allright then. If ‘the state’ is going eliminate symbols of patriarchy from “offical government ceremonies” I guess we better start drawing up the list of those symbols, because it’s long.
      Sheitels off, ladies!
      And obviously Niqab and Sheitel-wearing women are disqualified from running for office, receiving any sort of awards from the state, etc.

    • Yes it is a women’s issue. A woman should be able to wear what she wants in Canada. That’s true women’s equality. Forcing Canadian women to remove it is the antithesis of women’s equality. We are not in Pakistan here. Have you listened to the women who wear the niqab or the hijab in Canada? I have and they all say they do it of their own free will. A number of them said their parents or husband tried to convince them not to wear the niqab because of the negative repercussions on her and on them (people thinking they are forcing her to wear it while they are not forcing her). If the women are happy with their choice, I am too. Who am I to judge them?

      • Women are a protected group under the equality provisions of our charter. This can limit the freedom of expression of others, including individual women, if their expression is hostile to the substantive equality of women.

        I agree that the state has no say in what a woman might want to wear in her own daily life, but it does have a say when it is an official state event. The wearing of the niqab at citizenship ceremonies suggest that Canada is fine with symbols of vicious patriarchal oppression of women, which suggest that Canada is a place hostile to women.

        The niqab is at odds with the substantive equality of women in Canadian society.

        • “…but it does have a say when it is an official state event. ”

          Heh. Never mind the Nanny State, bring forth the Stylist State!

        • I was unaware there was a dress code for an official state event. Apparently it only applies to women. Or maybe Justin Beiber was just exempt.

      • I disagree. It is not a women’s issue, it’s a civil liberties issue. Unless it can be demonstrated that wearing a niqab during a citizenship ceremony somehow impinges on the rights of others, then there should be no issue. And, I, at least, can’t see how it impinges on the rights of others. Additionally, FWIW, the niqab conjures up a number of negative connotations for me, but that’s not a sufficient reason for me to impose my notion of what is right and good on others.

        • Apparently your freedom is secondary to my right not to see you symbolically oppressed.

          • LOL!

        • It is not a “women’s” issue. It is an equality issue. You know. The charter right to equality.

          For the niqab to be permitted at official government ceremonies tells women that the country is hostile to the substantive equality of women.

          There is more than one charter right. The right to free expression AND the right to equality Each imposes limits on the other.

          The state should not be tolerant of vicious symbols of the oppression of women in official ceremonies. It undermines the substantive equality of women in our society.

          • Got that list of symbols of oppression started yet?
            We know the sheitel has to go.
            Maybe we should convene a meeting of the CPC menfolk to draw it up.

          • Telling women what they can and cannot wear is oppression.

          • “Telling women what they can and cannot wear is oppression.”

            ll usually, but when it’s Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney doing the telling, then, as WHYSHOULDISELLMYWHEAT says, it’s feminism.

            *snort*

          • Nonsense. What it says is that we respect the private beliefs of others.

            Conversely, the message we send by refusing to allow it is that certain groups are not welcome. If we are trying to prevent radicalization, telling a group they don’t belong probably isn’t the best way to go about that.

            Do I personally think she should remove the niqab for her oath? Absolutely. I think not doing so displays a lack of respect for the cultural traditions of the land she claims to love enough to join. It makes me doubt her sincerity in seeking to join us.

            But do I think we should forbid her from doing so? No. If we accept her for who she is, maybe she will come to truly accept us and our traditions. If we refuse her, we engender bitterness – and not just in her.

            And then there’s the whole issue of s. 2 of the Charter…

      • Problem is, you really do not know if they are wearing it by choice — or not. The few outspoken ones claim to be doing it of their own free will — what about the ones who do not speak out? No one is forcing them to take off the veil forever. This is simply for citizenship purposes. In that particular context showing your face is an important acknowledgement of Canadian traditional values and culture.

        • Wow. And we can all be absolutely certain that all women who change their names upon marriage, have sex with their partner on demand, go through with a pregnancy instead of an abortion, are doing that only because it is their choice.

          Maybe educate yourself a little. Sheesh.

          • You are a feminist of the worst kind. If you really believe that’s why wives have sex or elect to have children you are one very sick puppy!!

          • Poor Jerome, understanding words is hard.

    • ” but it is symbolic of a big thing.” Well stated. An important consideration.

    • I noticed that too… if you look at the underlying methodology of Nanos’ polls, they take a rolling average of the last three nights. The previous two nights the trend was Conservatives up, Liberals down, NDP flat. Last nights numbers went WILDLY towards the Liberals. (like in the order of 5% over night) in order to move the average as much as it did and drive the Conservatives down (slightly) and the NDP down (a lot). This means one of two things… everyone has decided that Trudeau best represents the ABC movement and they all decided this LAST NIGHT, or more likely that it is an outlier. We will be able to see tomorrow. If the Liberals numbers continue to rise substantially, it is a trend… if they stay flat it’s an outlier (and it will take 2 more days to purge it from the polls). Until that happens, I don’t think anyone should look at it one way or the other.

    • Nick Nanos is a Liberal Shill. All other polls are the polar opposite of Nanos. What’s with that.

      • The national poll by Leger shows the same thing as Nanos.

  3. Wells asks “What happened?” He runs through various explanations for the Conservatives’ recent rise without for some reason mentioning Lynton Crosby, the bigoted Temporary Foreign Worker they hired to run Harper’s campaign. It’s more than a little coincidental that as soon as Crosby comes on board, niqabs etc. become the major campaign issue, rather than things that actually matter.

    • That Harper campaign is not pushing the niqab as a campaign issue. They are simply pursuing an initiative that was previously put in place. The fact that the court decision on this are coming out at this time makes it a campaign issue. (Same with the Duffy trial — it had an impact on the campaign, a year after everyone forgot about Duffy.) I might also ask why you think that Lynton Crosby is a bigot??? That seems somewhat unfair.

      • Yes they are because Harper keeps talking about it every time he opens his mouth.

        Secondly, Harper is pushing revocation of citizenship and actually took action in the middle of the campaign while no action was really required for months and probably years.

        Thirdly, today they have now introduced another hot button issue – the barbaric cultural practices. Now you will be able to call a tip line to denounce those.

        If it is not making it campaign issues, I don’t know what is.

        • Bingo! And let’s not forget “old stock” Canadians, or “those people” who inhabit the north…

      • OK. Now you are being ridiculous.

        Defend the policy if you must, but for gawd’s sake try to appreciate the fact that people here actually follow what is going on. Maybe try that argument on someone who has been living in a cave for the past two months.

      • There is no doubt this man is a bigot. Read the stuff he has said in Austalian and British elections.

  4. Harper’s exploitation of the niqab and citizenship-stripping issues are exceedingly depressing, more so the fact it seems to be working, and have sapped the initial enthusiasm I had for this election.

    • The Liberals stripped citizenships first. Of war criminals. War criminals and terrorists do pretty much the same thing. Kill innocent people.

      Liberals are willing to strip the citizenship of war criminals, who mostly have killed foreigners in foreign wars, but are unwilling to trip the citizenship of terrorists, who mostly have killed or intended to kill Canadians in Canada.

      • And has been pointed out to you by others, on other comment streams, the stripping of citizenship for War Crimes is because the citizenship would have fraudulently obtained, in that the individuals in question would have misrepresented themselves. Additionally, is stripping of citizenship in those instances not determined by court action, and not the whim of, say, Jason Kenney or Pierre Poilievre?

        In the case of the man born in Canada, can you argue he obtained his citizenship in a fraudulent manner?

        • Terrorists also obtained their citizenships fraudulently, by lying during their citizenship oath.

          • If it can be proven case by case in a court of law, then I would have no problem with stripping citizenship.

            But I noticed you are silent regarding the man born here.

          • As has been pointed out to you before, if this is true then legislation already exists and Harper’s law is not necessary.

            But don’t let the facts stop you!

          • Stop pretending that revoking fraudulently obtained citizenship is the same thing as what Harper is doing. It’s not. You know this.
            And Harper has enabled stripping the citizenship from people who haven’t ‘lied’ during their oath because they were born here and have never sworn one.

          • Most of them were kids when they came to Canada. At least one was born in Canada, so he never took an oath!

      • I don’t think there is any doubt that Trudeau has the “Give a Canadian Passport to Terrorists” segment of the vote locked up. The rest of us… not so much.

        • Splitting the “give a Canadian Passport to Serial Rapists and Murderers” vote with Harper, though.
          Derp.

      • There’s a distinct difference in rescinding a citizenship that was obtained fraudulently, and stripping legitimately obtained citizenship because the person subsequently broke the law. In the first case, prior acts made the person ineligible, but managed to cover that up. In the latter, you’re saying that some citizenships are conditional – even if you are born and raised here. http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/exclusive-tories-move-to-strip-citizenship-from-canadian-born-terrorist/

        We can’t have different laws for different citizens. Else the next steps will be laws based on sex or skin colour.

    • Crosby is obviously the architect of the most recent fear campaign: one hundred thousand unchecked refugees, end your senior income splitting, terrorists everywhere, a veiled Muslim woman doing I’m not sure what to me here at home, climate change radicals stealing our jobs.

      I’m amazed at how quickly and easily the Conservative campaign was able to get the Ottawa and national press, Wells, Coyne etc to ignore Harper’s admission that many crimes in the future, not just terrorism, could result in the government taking away citizenship. Althia Raj the sole exception I’ve seen. That’s control.
      Libertarians are you happy with all of this? I’m amazed you’ve been muzzled.

      • J.W., that was an excellent, concise and heart-breakingly true analysis of the current situation. The ease with which Harper (under Crosby’s brilliant guidance) is able to sway the electorate through fear is absolutely breathtaking. It says a lot about human nature and what it says is not that flattering. Harper has deftly taken a page from the Stasi, the KGB and Nazi Germany. Yes, Nazi Germany. Things there started out fairly innocently there too. People feeling a bit worried about “foreigners”…

        • This “Tip Line” to allow people to report barbaric cultural practices to the Harper regime sounds a bit like the other secret police dominated states you mention.
          After the tip line perhaps they will establish a block by block network of correspondents to keep tabs on their neighbours.
          I hope Wells comments on the tip line. Maybe this will be too much even for him to accept.

          • Don’t we already have “tip” lines for people abusing their kids? I think this is basically an issue around reporting abusive situations.

          • D’uh. If we already have a tip line, why do we need Harper’s? Maybe because his tip line is so we can report brown people who do weird things that he does not approve of.

          • Gayle1: That’s it exactly. This is Harper capitalizing on xenophobia. Just when you think he can’t sink lower, he finds a way. And the fact that it’s boosting his numbers says some pretty ugly things about our nation.

          • Exactly Keith. I can only hope this tip line notion is one step too far.

            Yes, I am a hopeless optimist.

  5. Harper did not “win” elections in 2006 or 2008. He merely won a plurality of seats each time, insufficient
    to take control of Parliament & form government. The opposition voluntarily crowned Harper PM/Emperor in 2006 & 2008 by voluntarily propping up a Tory minority by voluntarily granting confidence to Harper’s gang by voting with Tories in confidence votes in Parliament. The opposition had every democratic,/Westminster system right (some, like me, think they also had the duty) to JUST SAY NO to a Harper minority government, and cooperate with each other to form gov’t instead of cooperating with Harper. The opposition had a number of opportunities to pool their collective Parliamentary majority of seats & form government, ousting Harper’s gang with its paltry plurality that entitled them to nothing.

    Only in 2011 did Harper’s Tories win an election because they won a majority of seats entitling them to form government without needing Opposition consent. Arguably though, Harper would not have won in 2011 had not the opposition previously devoted years to willingly enabling & propping up a Tory minority it had every right (duty!) to reject & replace. If the Opposition had not allowed Canadians to become used to having a Tory gov’t for years, Tory chances of majority in 2011 may have been non-existent.

    The opposition is as much to blame as Tories themselves for all the policies & practices perpetrated by the Harper gov’t often deemed unjust, ill-conceived, anti-democratic, autocratic, unethical, even illegal, etc. The Opposition parties have been Harper’s gang’s greatest allies & enablers in Parliament, ensuring he remained in power for many years. Harper couldn’t have done it without them.

    So far, polls don’t show Tories strong enough to win another majority. If they “win” another mere plurality of seats, let’s hope the Opposition doesn’t again fail the majority of voters (60% – 70%) who always vote against Tories, by voluntarily crowning Harper Emperor in another Tory minority gov’t anyway, instead of using their collective majority to cooperate to oust Harper’s grim gang as is the Opposition’s right (& duty, I say) to do.

  6. None of this surprises me. I’ve long predicted the result would be a Harper minority, and that remains my prediction. I say minority because I predict the ABC vote will coalesce behind Trudeau.

    Still lots of time for me to be proven wrong though.

    • There will be no Harper minority, unless Trudeau and/or Mulcair are lying about not supporting him under any circumstances. What worries me, though, is that we’ll end up with another majority simply because we have a substantial number of bigots who put their hatred of others ahead of good sense.

      • Well my minority I simply meant seat count. I tend to agree with those who believe if Harper wins a minority he will not recall parliament until the new year.

        There is the fact that the other parties will not have the resources to run another election right away, so they are going to have to find a way to cooperate. Harper will use the next few months to make such a cooperative agreement poison to the electorate – though I do not think he will get away with that this time.

  7. Remember two weeks ago – then pundits and the drive-by media had the Harper campaign falling apart and in deep trouble? Hilarious!

    • Yup. I wonder what will be hilarious 2 weeks from now? Hopefully the bold prediction some have made that Harper will get a majority.

  8. Oh, oh, a new Leger national poll published today in Le Devoir appears to refute Well’s theory Cons are “winning.” It shows Liberals leading with 32%, Cons 2nd at 30%, & NDP trailing in 3rd place with 26% support. Unsurprisingly, Justin Trudeau today tweeted a link to this new Leger poll. Take that, wannabe-Emperor Harper!

  9. Harper is winning according to Paul Wells, Angus Reid and Forum. However, both Nanos and Leger (largest poll) have the Libs in the lead. The only constant in all of the polls is that the NDP is slipping. Mulcair needs to have an excellent showing in tonight’s french version of the Harper Debates.
    Looking at the Angus Reid write up of their poll, I noticed a very interesting paragraph and accompanying graph about strategic voting. Basically it was that 55% would consider strategic voting and that 13% would definitely consider strategic voting. If you are interested, I would suggest that you check out the strategicvoting.ca website. 13% of voters can make a huge difference in a close election (no matter what the Conservatives tell you).

    • Also check threehundredeight.com and check their projections for all 338 ridings. Very interesting.

      • 308.com currently shows the following seat count:
        CPC -126
        LIB – 107
        NDP – 102
        BQ – 2
        GR – 1

        That appears to be in line with what Paul wrote.

        • Looks like quick defeat for Harper in confidence motion.
          Is it clear GG will have the courage to act independently and ask Trudeau to try and form a government and test the House?

    • Why exactly is tonight a ‘Harper debate’?

      The NDP also opted out of the consortium debates. There have been more national leadership debates in this election than ever before.

      What is wrong with that?

      • The fact that the three English debates were held in a way that restricted access compared to the consortium debates of the past. Harper was afraid to face voters en masse in case he screwed up; easier to spin the results if fewer people saw the whole thing.

  10. It seems unusual even for Wells to be touting Harper at the time Liberals are gaining in all the polls. He must have written this a while ago.

  11. You can’t outrun a bear. Apart from being old and dusty, the joke is so stupid it’s always bugged me.

    Separating and fleeing from a bear is the last thing two or more people should do. You have to stand together in a block, making yourselves a more formidable obstacle. Bears are more likely to cut their losses when the pickings are less easy. But who knows, bears are unpredictable.

    This didn’t start out as a metaphor, but the polls are still showing that something like 60 percent don’t want to vote Conservative. The real issue is getting the vote out, which Conservatives usually do win at, and how messed up the election is going to be under new regulations. If the turnout is something like 61 percent again, there’s only so much whining you can do.

    If Trudeau and/or Mulcair start taking it to Harper, that would gratify those of us who are heartbroken at the vile tactics of the Conservatives, and motivate voters to get out (as well as serve the metaphor).

    I agree this looks like that Australian’s work. But he only uncovered the fact that a good many Canadians have ignorant and disgusting opinions they feel entitled to write into law, he didn’t make us that way.

    • @Dijon the 40% of Canadians that don’t vote are not upset with Harper government. Of the people that do vote only at the very most 65% are against Harper. Not even 40% of the eligible voters are upset with Harper enough to take 5-10 minutes to vote against him.

      • So, only 20% of eligible voters are happy enough with Harper to take 5-10 minutes to vote for him? Wow.

  12. And given Jason Kenny’s dissent comments today just mere days after the Farmers TPP protest.
    Or the connection the media and the public have made between the very same ideals around veils and niquabs made by Pauline Marois that then Minister of Immegration Jason Kenny went ballistic over are now the very same language and tatics Marois used in the dying days of a dying campaign to salvage herself and the PQ from total defeat to the Liberals and ADQ.
    So how much is Lynton Crosbie’s work or how much of this a PMO hail mary because internal polling showing the NDP tied for phone booth status with the Greens, Bloc and the Tories and that the Liberals have a solid majority in the making

  13. Mr. Wells you need a better editor/fact checker:

    ” the Angus Reid Institute, whom I do—both showed the Conservatives pulling well ahead of the others. Angus Reid Institute showed them at 34 per cent, with the others tied at 30 per cent.”

    The facts are AR have the CP at 34 but and the Liberals and NDP tied at 27. That is why Trudeau is panicking and twittering to a poll that has him ahead 32-30.

  14. It’s really disheartening to see so many people think that this is a new low for Harper and conservatives. The ruling just came out from the federal court in defense of the niqab. So far Harper is the only candidate who spoke out against wearing it as you swear your allegiance to Canada. This issue is outweighs everything else by a huge amount.

    How absolute is your liberalism? It is a well known fact that (stated in the quran) muslims must push for sharia or as much sharia as possible in their communities. It is impossible to be a good muslim and be passive on that.

    Allowing niqabs is a vote for fascism.

    • Ummm, what? Your “well known fact[s]” sound pretty much like something you found on one of those really super “factual” anti-Muslim websites some racists like to read.

      And FYI – 6 months ago Harper spent your tax dollars to poll on this issue, so spare me the whole “it is only coming up now because of the court decision” crap. Harper planned this from the beginning. Otherwise, why poll on it?

      But you are right – Harper is the only politician actively courting the racist vote. The majority of Canadians will not give him that, but that is why he is also working so hard to ensure the anti-Harper vote is split. Mind you, the NDP and LPC are happily helping him out with that one.

  15. Given the Nanos numbers the past couple of days, and especially the ones that came out this morning showing a Liberal lead of 4 points, to use your analogy, I think Mr. Trudeau has put on a burst of speed to put some distance between him and that bear.

    • Indeed…and I expect that desire for change will see the NDP supporters going to the LPC quite soon.

  16. The problem I have with communicating on social media is that it isolates your voice. You’re left talking only to people who agree with you and you’ll never be able to change minds that way. Left wing and right wing are part of the same bird. It’s pointless to stay loyal to one side forever just because that’s how you’ve always voted. There will be times that we must make course corrections or we risk flying into a window. We don’t get to do that if we aren’t at least communicating with the other side to warn them that our instincts suggest there’s a danger ahead. To my friends who are voting conservative I say only that I’m worried we are heading toward hazard. I believe it’s time to make a course correction. Of course there is comfort in hearing “now is not the time for change” but no one in charge is ever willing to hand over the reins and let someone else steer. The powerful do not give up power. That’s why we debate. We discuss our concerns. We vote because that is our opportunity to change direction. Every Canadian has a right to be critical of our government without being beaten down by their peers. Yes, discuss what worries you. There’s fear on both sides, but don’t descend into the pandemonium of hating each other because your beliefs have come to an intersection. The division that is happening is precisely how we make enemies of each other. We are not enemies. We are citizens of a country we care deeply about. We can’t let our passion burst into flames that will burn us all.

    • It’s starting to look like some of my thoughts: Mulcair- Quebec NDP (pro Layton enthusiasm) are disappearing either back into the Bloc ranks (Duceppe reporting accurately the Quebec people’s dislike of the niqab issue is deep.
      2. Trudeau in Quebec is see as Patristic, son of his father, grandson of his grandfather (Outremont)n never really respected as ordinary people in Quebec.
      3. May : not really in the running Her like -minded voters might go.
      4. Duceppe: Of Quebec interest, but also where he encourages voters to not go.
      4 Conservatives Like a Highlander gathering their kilts around them.

      The high counts of sociaol media are meaningless, just as a man shouting in a rain barrel – he hears himself back and is confused. A woman hears herself and thinks it is others.

  17. Usually Paul Wells is pretty astute when it comes to political predictions, but I think he totally missed the mark on this one. The latest Nanos daily poll is out and the trend is now clear: the NDP is dead (now down to 24.3%) and the race is between the Libs and the Cons.

    What Nanos shows better than any other polling firm is second choice and, if current NDP voters are looking for somewhere else to park their vote, 49% of them are going to be pinning on red. Only 8% will go blue. In fact, of the other four parties, the Cons is the last place former NDP voters will park their vote, even below no second choice at all!

    Looks like a Liberal victory to me, probably a minority, but we’ll see how bad the NDP bleedout is. Depending on how the individual seats fall, especially in vote-rich Ontario where there are a number of tight Lib/Con races, it could even be a Lib majority.

    • Much as I want to believe this, there are other polls out showing different things. It is hard to know what is happening, and on election day all kinds of factors are in play (ie. the cons cheated last time with misleading robocalls). Get out the vote is pretty important and the CPC have a strong ground game, though to his credit Trudeau has done a lot of work on that score.

      Personally I think what is more important than the polls is the narrative – and that narrative is that the NDP are sinking and the LPC have momentum. Whether or not that is true right now, it will become true if enough people believe it.

      • BELIEVE IT!!! We now have a LIBERAL MAJORITY government!!!

        So long, Harper. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! :)))

  18. Hey Paul, let us know when Harper is no longer winning.

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