Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Swift Kick in the "Rebut" From McBeath

Fellow Blogger Will McBeath’s (Noise From the Right) recent posting gives me a swift kick in the “Rebut.” Is Alberta more Progressive or Conservative and where are we going anyway? His answer: Alberta is on its way to a Conservative Heaven. I presume with a hand basket that is chock full of Alberta-only money.

He gives us real numbers on real election results to prove his thesis. He admits to some issues with his earlier numbers explaining them to be “hyperbole to illustrate my point.” Ah yes lies, damn lies and statistics.

I applaud Will’s analysis and accept its accuracy on faith because I trust him. I don’t need to double check the data. Because, frankly, the data is mere fact! In politics, facts, while interesting are almost entirely irrelevant. In politics it is more about how you frame the issues and how you activate value drivers about what people believe to be important. That makes the difference in how a citizen decides who to trust with his or her vote.

Election results taken out of context are essentially meaningless stats. The rational positivists really believe tomorrow will reflect yesterday and the world is static and people are predictable. Any student of human nature knows just how wrong that is.

So I don’t argue with Will’s data on past election results. I say so what! Does it matter? What difference do the past stats make in today’s reality? Trends are not destiny. I do know that campaigns matter and they do make a difference. For example in 2004 the Liberals convinced the voting public that Harper was “scary” based on comments coming from his ultra-conservative far-right religious supporters. Harper lost. Value drivers, not data made the difference. In the 2006 election Harper engineered a no-confidence vote and convinced those people who made him “scary” to keep quiet during the campaign. They did. This campaign had Gomery in full bloom and the RCMP publicly announcing investigations on an alleged leak about something called Income Trusts. The values drives kick in and the new “non-scary” Harper gets to be PM.

The moral of the story? Campaigns matter. Just ask Harper. Context is king. Kings are made by context. Counting old ballots is not context is just a bunch of old data. Nice work “Noise” in collecting the data - but in reality, it signifies nothing.