Friday, September 19, 2008

New EKOS Poll Has Some Fascinating Results.

EKOS has a new poll out of about 4000 Canadians with some interesting numbers and some “same old” numbers too.

Hat tip to Kady O'Malley of Macleans for the EKOS link. The pollsters reporting on the Undecided voter has not been very high profile in this election. Nor has the variability of the voter intentions been studied much to date. The voter intention have been given extensive media coverage but are essentially a “no news story because nothing much has changed in this election from the results in 2006.

Some momentum seems to be building for the Greens. They are making BC a three way race for second place running equal to the Liberals and breathing down the neck of the dippers. In Tory-blue Red-neck Alberta the Greens are also competitive with the Libs and ahead of the NDP. They are all way out of contention here over all but it may mean a concentrated effort by Dipper Linda Duncan in Edmonton Strathcona and the same by Liberal Jim Wachowich in Edmonton Centre may make them contenders in the home stretch.

The core Conservative support is strong but they have no growth from any second choice preferences. So if strategic voting is going to happen, and it will, the Cons are vulnerable, especially if they seem to be heading for a majority. Most notable is the Undecided group split virtually equally between the four major parties but conventional wisdom is the Undecideds don’t show up anyway. In what many see as a boring pointless election, expect this to hold true.

In the simple ABCs of a Danny Williams world, voters who want to support “Anybody But Conservative” has some reason to be encouraged. The EKOS poll shows the Conservatives would attract only 10% of all second choice voters. That means there not much chance of Harper getting a swelling of strategic voter support to push him into a majority government.

Harper will have attract support for his coveted majority based on his new advertising persona of a metro sexual “Who’s Your Daddy” family man that has come from his in-house Image Consultant preening of his new “true self.” Harper has a core and committed voter support with consistent polling between 35-38%. But it is concentrated mostly in rural Canada. That seems an unlikely voter mix to manufacture a majority, but campaigns count and that possibility should not be counted out.

A Harper majority could happen if Quebec wants it to happen. Any whiff of that as a real possibility, then expect Ontario to see that coming. They would engage and show up to reject Harper like a cold cut on a Ritz wise-cracker, just to balance it out the Quebec influence on Harper and push him back into minority territory.

With a minority government second and third place seat results become very important. They become the holders the balance of power and hold the strings that keeps the government in office and honest. The second choice Liberal support comes mostly from the NDP. A full third of them would go Liberal if they were to switch votes. Not good news for Layton the self-delusional “I am running to be PM as the wannabe Canuck version of Obama. If it becomes strategically necessary to beat back a Harper majority or to simply humble them, Dion could pick up a quarter of the soft Green vote too. Even stranger is the possibility that 16% of the obviously disillusions old time true blue Reformers who want to send Harper and really embarrass him, could do so and turn to the Liberals to serve those ends.

This election has not yet started and is far from over. The lessons learned from the Dion and Stelmach victories should not be lost on Emperor Harper. When the front runner is found wanting and the path forward is not clear in the minds of the electorate, then anything can happen. Layton is a non-starter and Harper has shown his in not to be trusted. Harper may well “win” the election but not the country. Making Layton the reason to believe in the NDP because his leadership numbers were better than Dion’s ignores the Liberal depth and bench strength compared to the narrow and shallow Dippers.

The voter has a long weekend to really decide who they choose to trust with their future. This election will be decided over the long weekend before the Tuesday vote on October 14th. My money says that the victory of a majority government will not go to Harper because he is a one-man show demagogue and therefore deemed to be dangerous.

This election will not be a blessed event for Jack Layton because he is seen as essentially superficial. It will not be the Greens because they are a parking lot for many disgruntled voters. Expect May to personally surprise us all and especially Peter MacKay, who could be dumped again. It will not be Dion but it might be the Liberal Team who could have the best overall election showing by simply exceeding expectations.