Canadian election 2011 .. now it seems things are starting to get interesting .. maybe (would you believe PM Jack?)

Apr 21st, 2011 | By Randall White | Category: In Brief

Jack Layton in what would seem to be some kind of mystery appearance, somehow connected with Lini Evans, a multi-lingual international vocalist, actor and voiceover artist based in Vancouver.

[UPDATED MAY 1]. I started out earlier today writing about how “surfing the Globe and Mail website for federal election news this day before Good Friday on the Christian calendar can make your head hurt.” After a bit of sweat on my top articles for April 20–21, it became clear that four new opinion polls released on April 21 could make your head hurt even more.

Moving from best to worst for the always leading Harper Conservatives, a “new Ipsos Reid poll … has captured the collapse of the Bloc vote in Quebec that has catapulted Jack Layton’s NDP into first place there and second place nationally as the Liberals sink to third place … with this new political landscape, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives may well be headed for a solid majority government … If the election were held tomorrow, the Conservatives would receive 43% of the vote among decided voters.”

Michael Ignatieff views an Iggy bobblehead while on his Liberal Express cross- Canada stop in London, Ontario, August 2010. Whatever else, at least he’s honest — a refreshing quality in Canadian politics today. MARK SPOWART/THE CANADIAN PRESS.

According to this morning’s latest daily Nanos poll, “Jack Layton’s New Democrats are closing in on Michael Ignatieff’s struggling Liberals.” According to Nik Nanos: “We should all get ready for a wild ride in the close of this campaign.” Nationally, “Mr. Nanos has Stephen Harper’s Conservatives 12 points ahead of the Liberals — 39.0 per cent compared to 26.7 per cent … The NDP, meanwhile, is at 22.1 per cent — up from 19.8 per cent the night before. The Bloc Québécois is at 7.5 per cent and the Green Party is at 3.4 per cent.”

A Forum Research survey conducted on the evening of Wednesday, April 20 “gave the Conservative Party support from 36 per cent of decided and leaning voters, 25 per cent for the NDP, 23 per cent for the Liberal party, and six per cent each for the Green Party and the Bloc Québécois. A separate Forum Research analysis, based partly on ridings won and lost in the 2008 election, suggest[s] the survey results would give the Conservatives 149 of the 308 Commons seats if an election were held today, with 71 seats for the NDP, 64 for the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois would have 24 seats.” (A bare majority is 155 seats.)

Jack’s grandfather, Gilbert Layton (far right), as minister without portfolio in first Quebec cabinet of Maurice Duplessis (far left).

Finally, an EKOS survey conducted April 18–20 gives 34.4% of cross-Canada  decided voters to the Conservatives, 24.7% to the Liberals, another 24.7% to the New Democrats, 7.8% to the Green Party, 6.5% to the Bloc Québécois , and 1.9% other. On these results , the Conservatives win 134 seats, the Liberals 82, the New Democrats 60, and the Bloc Québécois 32.  And note too that in this case the Liberals and New Democrats together have 142 seats — eight more than the Conservatives. And this “scenario could well lead to a coalition” (or whatever other more politically correct name you may want to choose).

If you’re wondering which polls you might want to place a bit more faith in, it may be significant that the last two, from Forum Research and EKOS, have at least twice as large sample sizes.

All four polls show the New Democrats at least much more competitive with the Liberals, or more. This raises the question of just who the prime minister of some Liberal-NDP (or NDP-LIberal) alternative to a third Harper Conservative minority government might be. And on this subject it has been pointed out to me that on May 31, 2010 — almost 11 months ago — the counterweights editors posted a report entitled “More news on coalition blues .. a PM Layton could win (with Quebec spin)?”

This May 31, 2010 post highlighted an Angus Reid poll of that day, suggesting “the Conservatives led by Stephen Harper would defeat a coalition led by Michael Ignatieff 40-34 per cent … However, if the coalition were to propose Jack Layton as prime minister, according to the Reid poll, it could defeat the Conservatives by 43-37 per cent.”

So … whatever else — and at least for the moment — the Canadian federal election of 2011 suddenly does seem more intriguing than it has been so far. (Especially if the Forum Research and EKOS polls prove more reliable guides to what finally happens on Monday, May 2!)

UPDATE MAY 1: See the counterweights editors on “Nothing dead certain about end of surprising and unsettling Canadian federal election campaign of 2011.”

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  1. The surprising surge in NDP support is great news for those of us who would dearly love to see Stephen Harper go down (at least to minority status). It seems to me that the 6000 vicious Conservative attack ads in early 2010 have made it very difficult for Michael Ignatieff to dig himself out of the hole Conservatives buried him in, no matter how well he performs. But wait, in their attempt to destroy Ignatieff, they left the field open for the other alternative to “the Harper government”.
    Lesson for next time dear Conservatives: leave no stone unturned: destroy everybody with your vicious tactics!
    Meanwhile, we finally have an election that has some life. And if Harper does end up with a minority. let’s see how willing he is to work with anybody. And if his unwillingness to consider the views of an opposition supported by about 60%of voters causes the governor general to call on someone who will work cooperatively, then bring it on!

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