April 17, 2006

meaningless polls...

On Saturday the Canadian Press released a poll showing that 40% of Liberal voters and 25% of NDP and Bloc voters were content with the performance thus far of the Conservatives. For some Conservatives this may seem like a big thing because with that kind of support coming in, there's a chance they could win the next election. However, I think it needs to be pointed out that the Conservatives haven't really done anything yet. This poll is essentially based on Harper flying to Afghanistan and keeping a death grip on the members of his party. I can't seem to find any real meaning behind this poll. Even the pollster, Bruce Anderson cautions that,

"the numbers don't mean that those Liberal, NDP and Bloc voters would automatically check off Conservative on their ballot if an election was held tomorrow."

It should also be mentioned that these numbers are mainly based on the Conservatives performance in the economic and international relations areas. The performance ratings drop significantly in the areas of the environment, child care and health care. And this poll was done prior to the Conservatives axing the Kyoto research programs and initiatives. Though that brings me right back to my point: What the hell are these performance scores based on?

The only guess I can really conjure up is that they are based on what the Conservatives will or might do with consideration given to what is perceived to be their traditional and strong areas are supposed to be. Couple this with the fact that, under the iron-fist of Harper, most MPs haven't been allowed to breath without permission and therefore no massive controversies have arisen. Between these two points I am not surprised that polls would show some growing approval for the Conservatives. Especially after all the turmoil the Liberals had in their last few years.

So what these polls really indicate is nothing at all, kind of. With no performance for people to really judge the Conservatives on, it is hard to give real consideration to performance rating. However, there are a couple things that should be noted. With the perception that the Conservatives are going to do well in certain areas, that means there are expectations to meet on the part of the Conservatives. Getting into a disagreement with the US may disappoint a lot of people fairly easily. On the other hand, having poor perception in areas such as the environment, child-care and health care could also be as tedious. It's already an indication that people aren't really trusting Harper to do the right thing in these areas and could be taken as an indication that what Harper has planned isn't meeting approval. So while this poll has no real meaning in terms of an election or a true rating of approval, there may be some meaning found for the Conservatives in regards to their plans.


SilverWinger said...

I think what the poll means is that the voters, unlike the liberal bloggers, are not in hysterics everytime the PM makes a subtle change in the way the PMO does business.
They actually like and appreciate the leadership qualities, as compared to the past few years.

wilson61 said...

Agreed with Silverwing. Canadians are comfortable maybe even surprised (that the sky didn't fall) with PMSHs successful first months in office. A PM with a backbone is a welcome change form the Lib rule. Doesn't mean they will vote Conservative, but I hope so.

Kyle said...

No offense, but I think both of you may have missed the point. If he were to have been successful for his short term in office, he would have had to actually do something.

And you need to remember that the general satisfaction rate comes in
specific areas (economy, international relations). What Canadians may be appreciating is that the sky hasn't fallen in regards to scandals, etc. but it can't be a performance approval because no performance has really taken place yet. Hence, it basically is a poll based on nothing.

SilverWinger said...

Not all liberal and NDP voters are as far left as the die hards, these being polled are probably more central in their views and are finding that Harper is not as far right as he has been painted.
Of course the polls mean nothing to the converted as it goes against their plight, which is to be in power at any cost.
This is a good poll for the conservatives as it shows potential to win over more liberal and dipper votes, and should be a warning to the libs as it shows they are losing grip.
Ignoring the polls or dismissing them as meaningless may be a mistake that can not be made up at a later date, the signs are there for all to read.

ALW said...


I don't think this poll means a lot, and I certainly don't think it means that Liberal and NDP voters would suddenly move in large numbers to the Tories.

What I do think this is the beginning of is the establishment of a 'comfortability' with Stephen Harper. For more than a decade, the Liberal Party stayed in power by appealing to one base instinct in Canadains: fear. But from now on, people won't rush out to vote just to vote against the Tories.

This is a good thing for democracy, since it allows for people to make decisions without some irrational fear hanging over their heads; and god forbid, it might lead to people actually discussing issues.

None of this guarantees a Tory victory next time. But it does mean that they won't face the same sort of absurdities they did in the last election.

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)