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Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Election Trends Are Changing in the Home Stretch

Harris Decima and EKOS rolling polling results up to yesterday showed some interesting and shifting trends. The Cons have been humbled and Harper has been accurately framed by his own words and deeds as cold callous and uncaring about the anguish of ordinary Canadians.

That said the Conservatives slide has seemed to stabilize. If that sustains, Harper is likely to form government again unless Harper blows it even more in the next 5 days. Campaigns matter and anything can happen.

The demographic shifts and regional volatility is where the interesting changes are occurring. The sample sizes in the regions and provinces are very small and very unreliable in each poll. If you can believe the polls, which is not a given, the Cons look like they have regained their solid in B.C. and stealing soft NDP support.

In Quebec the Cons have dropped 10 points and flirting for 4th place with the NDP. Here the Cons failure is most dramatic. After promising Quebec per capita spending of about $94o, pandering language about fiscal imbalance and “Quebec nation” has been rejected. Quebec has seen Harper for who he is. His “dissing” of artists and demeaning culture and putting children jail for life has shown Harper does not share the same values as Quebecers. The released costs of the Afghan war twice as high as Harper said it would be will be another big blow to Harper’s support in Quebec.

Ontario and Atlantic Canada is a sprint to what will be a photo-finish because the support is all so
close.

If Harper was in majority territory strategic voting would be important. It will still be a factor in close and key ridings and I will post on that later. The polls note the Liberals will be the largest beneficiaries of strategic vote switchers – if that happens. The Greens are the most likely to switch Liberal for strategic purposes. About 60% of Undecided voters are still up for grabs as strategic voters but only a third of them are saying they would vote mostly to stop a Con majority.

Harris Decima shows the NDP national support is showing slippage but they are still healthy except in Quebec…no surprise! In Ontario they are growing but the Liberals are ahead of the Cons and that is the real story.

The big shift that may make al the difference is the female voter. They are leaving the NDP and moving to the Liberals. The Liberals have more female support than Harper for the first time since the election call. When it comes to urban female support the Liberals have really taking off moving up 10 points in a week taking it away from Harper and Layton.

I’m thinking there will be some serious strategic voting with soft Greens going Liberal and NDP soft female support doing the same thing on a constituency basis, not nationally. Quebec voters are the only ones who had a larger advanced poll than in 2004 and they are going to bury Harper on Tuesday. Ontario and Atlantic Canada may shift to a larger Liberal vote if they realize that Danny Williams and Bill Casey is right and they have been screwed around on the Atlantic Accord by Harper.

Right now Harper’s death-mo decline in popularity has stopped but who knows where it goes. Dion has gotten into the game and the advent of Martin joining his team can only serve him well in gaining the confidence of Canadians in these turbulent times.