Why Are People Voting Liberal, Again?

Seen the polls lately? At left is a graph from Nanos Research’s nightly tracking and it has the NDP trailing the Conservatives by a mere five points nationally.

Look at that orange line. Rising up about to strike like a mighty cobra.

Meanwhile, on Nanos’ leadership index, Layton is actually 12 points out in front of Harper. All through the campaign, Harper has been ahead on that one by like 20 or 30 points — and that’s pretty usual because voters typically find it most easy to imagine a sitting PM as a leader. But now, it seems the leader of the hitherto always third-place NDPs strikes a more stately and competent figure in the minds of most Canadians than either the guy who’s actually been captaining the ship for the last three years or the guy who’s fronting the Natural Ruling Party™.

I almost feel sorry for Harper and Ignatieff. They’re having to eat a lot of you-suck pie this election.

I’d be going into Monday with a feeling of novel and unexpected optimism were it not for the fact that it looks like as far as Regina’s ridings are concerned, that NDP surge I had my fingers crossed for a few days back is still a very uncertain thing. And, if the NDP fails to paint Regina orange, it looks like it may be the result of those Liberal spoilers.

Based on the rollup projections on projectdemocracy.ca, in Palliser Ray Boughen of the Conservatives is now leading Noah Evanchuk of the NDP (13,979 Con; 11,248 NDP; 5,431 Lib). In Regina-Lumsden, Lukiwski is still handily beating Brian Sklar (15,876, Con; 9,338 NDP; 4,612 Lib). And in Regina-Qu’Appelle, Fred Clipsham still has to gain a lot of ground on Andrew Scheer (13,915 Con; 9,023 NDP; 2,760 Lib).

As you can see from the numbers, vote splitting might once again wreck everything.

In each case, only with a goodly chunk of Liberal support switching to the NDP will the tide of Tory blue get turned back. But will enough voters move in time?, is a big question right now.

The other is, why is there so much support for these Liberal candidates anyway? It seems patently obvious that, with the exception of Ralph Goodale, the Libs aren’t running significant campaigns in the Queen City. Sorry to be blunt about it — I’m sure these are all nice people — but come on. These aren’t the party’s brightest lights. And their campaigns seem… dare I say? Perfunctory?

As evidence, have a gander at these screen caps of the websites for the Liberal candidates in Palliser, Regina-Lumsden and Regina-Qu’Appelle.

Lifeless, generic websites built from Liberal-party templates which lack even basic functionality like, obvious links to the candidates’ facebook pages or twitter feeds (although you will find links to Michael Ignatieff’s social network pages). And, amusingly, once you do find your way through to these candidates’ facebook pages, they haven’t even “liked” one another.

This is hardly a slate of serious contenders intent on actually, you know, winning in this city.

(Meanwhile, if you want to see how to put together a serious, campaign website, check out noah4palliser.ca.)

And you know, fair enough. There’s a long and illustrious tradition in this country of putting placeholder candidates in ridings you don’t expect to win or where you want to avoid vote splitting with another party.

That’s what you do when your democracy is busted.

But the thing is, putting up websites like those above is a way of signalling to voters, “Hey, you know, you don’t really have to vote for us this time around.”

So maybe people should take the hint?

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

7 thoughts on “Why Are People Voting Liberal, Again?”

  1. Same thing is happening up here. (Although I think Nettie Wiebe will get in, I hope.) I really, really, really want the Saskatchewan ridings redrawn. Urban and rural populations have different needs and deserve proper representation.

  2. Yeah, what is it with Saskatchewan ridings? They’re huge! I know it’s a population thing, but surely one can’t assume that the concerns of someone living somewhere between Pense and Moosejaw are the same as someone living in the heart of the Cathedral district (both in the Palliser riding).

  3. On one hand, I am annoyed with the implications that “vote splitting might once again wreck everything” being an issue now that NDP candidates are leading in the poles, when in previous years the same could have been said when Liberal candidates are ahead. On the other hand, I haven not been impressed with the three, I hate to say it, “lesser” Liberal candidates running in Regina ridings. So, I’m pulling for the NDP this time around, but maybe just keep the vote-splitting complaints down if this doesn’t happen?

  4. It is time to say GOODBYE to Harper and his selfish, egotistical rule. Please vote NDP or Ralph Goodale. No more BS.

  5. The other 3 NDP candidates have web pages just as generic and pathetic as the Liberals’. Maybe that’s why, sir. You’re not biased are you? Anyway, if people cared about fancy web sites, then Boughen wouldn’t be kicking your boy Noah’s butt, would he?

  6. Joel: I think you’re implying that Paul wouldn’t endorse voting Liberal if a Liberal candidate was polling in the number two spot behind a Conservative in a tight race. That is incorrect and possibly mean and unfair. Paul definitely would. In fact, Paul ordered me to vote for Ralph Goodale when he perceived I was waffling because in Wascana, Goodale is the only candidate who can defeat the Conservative candidate.

    (Not that voting for Goodale is upsetting, but I think Mark Spooner could do a lot of good in politics and I would enjoy being able to support him.)

    Keep in mind we didn’t have this website “in previous years” and weren’t in a position to play the vote ABC game with a print paper that comes out every two weeks. You can’t compare what we’re doing now with what we did in other elections because we’ve never done this before.

    As far as I can tell, none of our writers are NDP loyalists. We always try to vote for what we think will produce the best outcome for the most Canadians. Same as most voters.

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