Has Canadian federal campaign finally turned the corner .. and is “Justin” where it’s going at last, after all?

Oct 4th, 2015 | By | Category: In Brief

Nanos National Nightly Tracking, Three day rolling average of 1,200 voters, Sep 29–Oct 1, released Oct 2nd, 2015, 6 AM Eastern.

[UPDATED OCTOBER 5, 7]. With just two weeks to go to the Monday, October 19 election day, it’s beginning to look like the front lines of the 2015 Canadian federal election ground war we were lucky to hear from at this site last week absolutely did and do have a point.

The Mulcair New Democrats have yet to altogether implode. But over this past week they certainly have lost ground in a number of polls.

The new “Orange Crush” that the polls and then the media suddenly began to talk about, not long after the surprising Alberta provincial election this past spring, has now turned into what one self-proclaimed Canadian national newspaper is calling “signs of ‘orange crash’.”

Lawrence Martin’s Globe and Mail piece from this past Monday “The New Democrats can kiss their chances goodbye”— is beginning to look definitively prophetic. And as of yesterday the message has spread across the Atlantic Ocean, with “Canada election: New Democratic party could finish third despite prior lead” on theguardian.com.

Nanos National Nightly Tracking, Three day rolling average of 1,200 voters, Sep 30–Oct 2, released Oct 3, 2015, 6 AM Eastern.

Just quickly looking over the last 14 polls included in Eric Grenier’s CBC Poll Tracker as I write, the NDP has been pretty consistently the third man/woman, after the Harper Conservatives and  Trudeau Liberals, since last Saturday, September 26.

(In fact, there are three exceptions, covering just over 20% of the 14 cases : a Forum poll taken September 28–29, in which Mr. Mulcair’s party placed second, a September 28–30 Angus Reid poll in which the NDP and Liberals were tied for second place, and a September 29–October 1 Innovative poll in which the NDP and the Conservatives were tied for second.)

Mr. Grenier himself is arguing that “2 narratives emerge in national polls.” In one the Conservatives are pulling ahead, and may even be destined for a majority government.

Nanos National Nightly Tracking, Three day rolling average of 1,200 voters, Oct 1–3, released Oct 4, 2015, 6 AM Eastern.

Take, eg, Don Martin’s piece on the CTV News site this past Friday. He worries that the “niqab has become the Conservative’s most successful re-election rallying cry, particularly in Quebec.” And he concludes :“If voters want to give Stephen Harper an historic fourth mandate and second majority, they’re absolutely right to do so … Just don’t do it for the wrong reasons.”

In the other narrative the Liberals and Conservatives are competing for first place.

I’m reluctant to point to what strikes me as the best recent example from the mainstream media here, from the National Post this past Friday. But it’s wrong to let hostility towards the author interfere with a good headline, that almost nicely summarizes the main point : “Conrad Black: The NDP still isn’t ready, but it turns out Trudeau may be.”

UPDATE OCTOBER 5: The Liberals remain ahead on the Nanos National Tracking released at 6 AM Eastern this morning, covering October 2-4 : “Support for the Liberals stands at 35.6% followed by the Conservatives at 31.0%, the NDP at 22.8% and the Greens at 4.7%.”

Nanos National Nightly Tracking, Three day rolling average of 1,200 voters, Oct 4–6, released Oct 7, 2015, 6 AM Eastern.

UPDATE OCTOBER 7 : The Conservatives have gained some ground on the Nanos National Tracking released at 6 AM Eastern this morning, covering October 4-6 : “The two way race between the Liberals and the Conservatives continues with the Liberals at 34.3%, the Conservatives at 32.1%, the NDP at 23.0% and the Greens at 4.6% nationally.”  And see also Robert Fisher on “2015 election has parallels to 1999 Ontario vote … Former Ontario PC premier won reelection by attacking ‘untried’ Liberal rival, Dalton McGuinty.” So … like Mr.McGuinty, Justin Trudeau may have to wait his turn a little longer? On the other hand … for better or worse October 19 remains a mystery!

* * * *

Can orange and red forge ahead together under the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau, for a while at least?

At least until October 7, the competitive narrative that has the Trudeau Liberals gaining ground had been bolstered by the pollster currently appearing most often, as in “Federal Liberals trend up for last two nights of Nanos tracking” and “Liberals trend up, NDP trend down, Conservatives steady.” (And note the now four red, orange, and blue charts above for what may or may not be the new confusion?)

Or, as deftly summarized by the weekend edition of the daily election news from Nik Nanos, released at 6 AM Eastern on Sunday, October 4, 2015 : “National Ballot – The latest Nanos nightly tracking has the Liberals at 35.3%, the Conservatives at 31.0%, the NDP at 24.3%, and the Greens at 4.5% … Regional Battleground – The Liberals lead in Atlantic Canada and Ontario while the Conservatives lead in the Prairies. The NDP are ahead in Quebec but support continues to slide. In battleground BC, the NDP and Liberals are in a tight race.”

Who knows what the next few days may bring? Personally (for what it’s worth), I would still not write off any chances of some kind and degree of NDP revival over the remaining two weeks of campaigning, as of Monday, October 5.

NDP Premier of Alberta Rachel Notley (l) meets Liberal Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne at Queen's Park in Toronto, Thursday, October 1, 2015. (Marta Iwanek/Canadian Press.)

And if there is again some kind and degree of ultimate movement towards Justin Trudeau as the new progressive prime minister of Canada over the next two weeks, it will most likely (or even almost certainly?) only be as the head of a minority government, somehow clearly supported and otherwise aided and abetted by and dependent on the Mulcair New Democrats.

Still, it strikes me there are a number of other signs that the mood of the five to six regional elections we seem to be having has started to shift ever so gently towards the charismatic husband of the lovely Sophie Gregoire Trudeau — son and heir etc.

As a case in point, note “Sarcastic Twitter users report ‘barbaric cultural practices’ to Conservatives.”

All this plays to what even seems to be worrying Don Martin, when he writes : “Keep in mind, a majority Canadian prime minister is among the most powerful democratic positions in the world. Over time, they can unilaterally stuff the bureaucracy with handpicked preferences, fill up the Senate with lapdogs and stack the courts with like-minded judges.”

Learning to paddle Canadian prime ministerial canoe at a very young age. Who says he lacks experience?

I am further encouraged in my residual (and I hope not too delusional) progressive cross-party optimism by Wendy Mallick’s recent Toronto Star column on “Are Liberals, NDP too nice to beat Harper?

Ms Mallick worries that they are too nice : “And that is why I fear we will not win.” Personally, I think one thing we have happily discovered since this election campaign began is that none of the three main party leaders can seriously be described as a nice person. And Justin Trudeau clearly has the best hair (and childhood on-the-job training as well).

Finally, I very much admire Wendy Mallick’s many talents, as a journalist and sensitive human being. But reading her columns over the years I’d say shrewd political judgement is not her strong suit. I agree, however, that in the right dinner dresses disdain for the details of this sort can be a strength. Maybe one  thing  our enemies should be starting to fear at this point in the long Canadian campaign of 2015 is Wendy Mallick.  If she is suddenly afraid something political won’t happen, it probably will.

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