The on-again/off-again story of Ms. Guergis and Mr. Jaffer in the polls .. what does it mean?

Apr 27th, 2010 | By | Category: In Brief
After attending her Simcoe-Grey riding association annual general meeting, Helena Guergis spoke briefly with reporters outside the New Lowell Legion in central Ontario, Saturday, April 24. She had little to say, but did take time to thank her supporters. QMI Agency.

After attending her Simcoe-Grey riding association annual general meeting, Helena Guergis spoke briefly with reporters outside the New Lowell Legion in central Ontario, Saturday, April 24. She had little to say, but did take time to thank her supporters. QMI Agency.

The polling evidence for the impact of the so-called  Guergis-Jaffer scandal on party standings in Canadian federal politics is … well, volatile at best, it would seem. For the moment, in any case. Who knows just what the next half-hour may bring?

For the deep background note the two counterweights items below: “Misadventures of Miss Huronia .. have Canadian Liberals found their ticket?” and “Mr. and Mrs. Huronia .. have Liberals found their ticket .. apparently not?

From here go back to this past Friday, April 23, and consult such headlines as “Tories’ poll number stable as Jaffer scandal widens” and “Poll: Jaffer-Guergis affair has little impact on voters.” Now, move ahead to yesterday, Monday, April 26. The key headlines are “Tories hit lowest level in a year amid Guergis-Jaffer scandal” and “Tories drop, NDP gains amid Guergis-Jaffer affair: poll.”

The one half-consistent theme lately has been that, whatever else, the opposition Liberals are not profiting from the churning of the political waters (yet, some Liberals would say, no doubt).

New Democrat MP Olivia Chow, standing on guard for Canada with a famous Mountie.

New Democrat MP Olivia Chow, standing on guard for Canada with a famous Mountie.

The big news in the most recent Harris-Decima poll — which “puts Conservatives at 29%, the first time in a year Harper’s team has dipped that low” — is that the New Democrats are suddenly showing strength. Canada-wide the Liberals are stuck at 27%, while the New Democrats have jumped to 20% (“a level of support the party hasn’t enjoyed since shortly after the last election in October 2008”).  At various regional grains the NDP has: “Pulled into the lead in British Columbia” ; “Gained on the Tories in the Prairies” ; “Pulled ahead of the Tories in Quebec” ; and “virtually tied the Liberals and Tories among female voters.”

What does it all mean? The most sensible advice is don’t jump to any conclusions for a while yet. Everything could look different again tomorrow.  But, for whatever exact reasons, some kind of storm appears to be gathering in the diverse minds of the Canadian people. Sometimes it has seemed the Greens who are profiting. Now it’s the New Democrats. As matters stand, it doesn’t look good for either of the old parties, Liberal or Conservative. And that may dampen the prospects of yet another federal election any time too soon — regardless of Canadian House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken’s landmark decision this afternoon: “Stephen Harper loses detainee battle; MPs given two weeks to reach deal“?

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