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Liberal Nervous Nellies and chief strategists: take note.

In at least one polling company’s results, the Cons. polling numbers are taking a noted drop in the initial post-Cadman fallout, but the Liberals aren’t beneficiaries of this:

A new poll suggests Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have taken a beating in public opinion over the past week, but the opposition Liberals have done nothing to capitalize.The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey had the two major parties in a statistical dead heat, with the Tories nominally ahead of the Liberals 31-30.

Interestingly, the Bloc and NDP didn’t gain much either; it was the Green Party who benefited the most, and according to Decima, they have gone ahead of the NDP in Ontario, with a surprising 18% of voter preference there (within the Margin Of Error).

Why would the Liberals not gain? Well, as Steve noted, and I’m going to repeat for desired effect, the Budget strategy that the Liberals adopted didn’t go over well with the electorate according to a separate poll:

While Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion was critical of the budget, he immediately announced his party would not defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority government. Only 24 per cent of those polled supported his actions, with 51 per cent saying they disapproved of his performance.

Please note that this specific one is an Angus-Reid poll, so it could be one of the online users only-poll that they run. If it is, I’ll issue my usual disclaimer of not trusting online polling, but I’d not be surprised if that reaction was widespread, and it probably explains why there wasn’t more initial movement to the Liberals. People like to see parties stand up for their principles and fight for them, rather then looking opportunistic and scared at the same time by trying to explain how they want to wait till the polls look good and think they can win before pulling the plug.

That said.. you still have the Cadman affair ongoing, and you have a potential non-confidence vote being forced on the Parliament by the Cons. over the fate of the Canadian Wheat Board, so there’s still a chance of the Nervous Nellies and co. redeeming themselves. I actually think Harper’s threatened lawsuit on Liberal leaders has enraged enough of the caucus at his actions that they may forget their fears and bring the government down merely out of their loathing of Harper. We’ll see.

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15 comments to Liberal Nervous Nellies and chief strategists: take note.

  • mike h

    Let me rephrase what I previously said about the liberal paltform..i see very little that turns me on..not nothing at all…they have some good ideas but the things that are most important to me..arent there or arent going far enough…like the tory crime bill..it has teeth to it..and no one in a long time has had the stones to make it tougher on criminals…that is just an example!

  • mike h

    The problem with polls is that to the averge Canadian it means nothing. The whole Cadman affair means nothing. The pollsters pick and choose demographics which suit thier needs to obtain the results they want us to see. If they polled strictly in the GTA it would appear that the Liberals would have a lead over everyone but if you polled in just Alberta it would be the Conservatives in the lead. In my travels at work over the golden horsehoe area and the gta when people engage me in political talk there seems to be one common concensus..all politicians are crooks and they are only in it for the money..no one seems to give a shit who is running the country..so how do we fix that and get people to trust politicians. Lets face it. There is only and this is just my guess that only about 5% of the population really cares. The rest of the people just want to know that there tax dollars are being spent on good programs and that they..and i hear this all the time..pay less taxes. What i hear alot right now is that we are paying these idiots to run our country and what is getting done? Nothing at the moment because they are too busy acusing each other of scandals and fraud and all the crap that is taking away from what we are paying them to do. There are many issues that are more important right now that who said what to whom years ago and what was offered. If the Liberals ever stand a chance of forming a government they should be be getting a platform together and taking a stand on some REAL issues instead of constantly trying to figure out how to make the conservatives look bad and just how are they going to bring the government down. they have no agenda that is out there in the public eye. I hear this all the time when people talk. Why would we elect someone who has no platform. I know you are a die hard liberal and right now I am a conservative but to be honest i will vote for whomever i think is going to do the best job…and right now i dont see anything in the liberal platform that turns me on.

  • I’m certainly not going to rub my hands with glee over this whole thing, even though Cadscam should do in the Conservatives chances of even a minority government. The problem is there are now open questions about just what kinds of payoffs to MPs or candidates are allowable in both party practice and the law. And as an aside the media is still unwilling to let May into the televised debate, so that right there shows they are still going to frame the election as a two way race when in reality it is a 5+ way race around the country.

  • mushroom

    "Just where the [email protected]% are the Liberal newsletters?"

    A greener Canada means a move towards a paperless society.  No mailings.  In fact, Grits should be attacking Jack Layton for using the most taxpayers money with regards to office supplies ie. mailings. 

    Grit MPs win not by mailings but by constituency work.  Our MPs need to be out there in the riding fixing potholes.  In fact, we are so good at fixing potholes that our caucus attendance and discipline are not good.  We know who butters the bread of our MPs.  Or at least we think we do. 

  • slg

    Maybe a method in their madness – I remember Chretien saying in an interview just after the Liberal leadership race – they should wait until Harper hangs himself – not the exact words, but it’s the essence of his message.

    And, it seems Harper is finally hanging himself.  He’s in a hurry for an election because stuff may come out  and has, Layton’s in a hurry because the Green party are crawling up their backsides.

    hmmm….

  • ALW

    Jeff,

    But all that means is that people should be fired; it doesn’t mean that the Liberal Party is ready to fight an election.

    Then again, it could just be Nervous Nellies.  Is it worth rolling the dice to find out though?

  • Paul

    BCer in Toronto…
    I think you have missed the issue entirely.  People do not trust the Liberals with their money.  Their grassroots and monetary support is equivalent to the NDP.
    Mr. Dion may or may not be incompetent, same as the people around them.  My belief is they have been unable to adjust to the new fund-raising realities Mr. Chretien hung on them.
    As a Conservative I am loving it more and more as time goes on.  I think the Liberal braintrust (as it were) knows that they face annilihation if the writ is dropped now.

  • and for whatever reason, someone(s) in the Liberal braintrust does not think the party is ready to fight an election

    I’ve heard the lack of organization readiness excuse as well, and all I say is if we’re not organizationally ready some two years into a minority government, one year since leadership, then either those responsible are doing an unacceptably bad job getting ready, or they don’t want to be ready. Either scenario is unpalatable, because at this point we should be ready.

  • Hey Scott.  I think it’s too early to see public opinion on Cadscam.  When I talk to regular Joes (read: non-political) here in BC, they don’t have a clue about it.  Very few people I talked to have just heard the news. 
    We need a lot of time to let this fester – let it sink in.  The Cons had a great plan on "Adscam".  Keep bringing it up for years.  The Cons have monthly and/or quarterly newsletters to every constituent.  Can’t remember the last time I saw a Liberal newsletter.  In those newsletters to every voter in Canada (not just Con voters), they hammered on about the supposed Liberal scandals.  Even if they were untrue, a LOT of voters read those newsletters.

    Just where the [email protected]% are the Liberal newsletters?  Our organization sucks.  We’re certainly not a PR machine.  We need to start thinking of better ways to reach voters.  Reformers were shut out by the media, so they started the newsletters, among other ways to reach out.  Garth Turner’s townhalls are pretty good, but paper in hand always trumps everything else – including emails…

  • mushroom

    I know that was the Liberal amendment to the budget vote yesterday.  The full budget is going for a vote today.

    The seven MPs were the Party Leader, House Leaders, Whip, Shadow Minister, and their deputies.  For a grand total of seven.

    At least the Grits should have mobilized the whole Shadow Cabinet (designated critics) to show up for the vote.  Fills up the Official Opposition front bench instead of subjecting the party to taunts from the Cons and the NDP.

    There are ways to avoid an election this week without resorting to farcical situations.  The New Democrats are going to present a non-confidence motion on Friday.  I suspect many MPs are going to leave Ottawa after Question Period on Thursday, which is generally the case.      

  • ALW

    Not gonna happen, sorry.

    Scott, I don’t know how much experience you have working on the organizational side of a campaign, locally or nationally, but it’s not really the sort of thing you want to lurch into without any preparation – and for whatever reason, someone(s) in the Liberal braintrust does not think the party is ready to fight an election. I understand you and many other Grits are very angry and outraged at the government but the policy/issues stuff is only half the fight, and from the sounds of it you seem to think the Liberals can win purely on the issues without any thought to organizational preparation.So that said, by all means, if you are still willing to roll the dice, bring an election on. I know the Tory machine has been ready for it for more than a year.

  • That was on the Budget vote, Mushroom, not the Wheat Board Bill which hasnt even been introduced yet.

    And go read Garth’s site. If he’s to be believed, the leadership were the ones who asked that only 7 MP’s would show up – it had nothing to do with not being "willing to back him up".

    Really mushroom, I know you’re disappointed as I in some of this strategy, but don’t get carried away.

  • mushroom

    Update.

    On the day the Cons used the courts to bully our leader, only a handful was willing to back him on our own motion of non-confidence.
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/03/03/budget-vote.html

    Maybe our guys should avoid the House of Commons like a plague, similar to the PCs post 1993.  It is now time to go to the nearest nursery and fill the Liberal seats with lots of potted plants.

  • mushroom

    The vote of confidence is today, Scott.  Anyway we can attack the Blackberries of the Grit caucus members and threaten them? 

  • Scott, Angus Reid aside, the Harris offering suggests the same thing.  When is the last time the Cons dropped a full 4 points, and the Liberals stayed the same?  I would argue the drop might have been bigger, had voters seen a credible alternative. 

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