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Friday, October 10, 2008

Pollsters Predict Harper is Back in Majority Territory.

The volatility in the Canadian election continues and there are races in some constituencies that are closer than anyone ever expected and impossible to call.

Strategic voting is the nagging question for soft Green and Dipper voters going into the weekend. Vote swapping is a new but growing phenomenon so citizens can "make their votes count" for the party they prefer.

If Harper is not threatening to win a majority the Green and Dipper vote firms up and stategic voting thought wane. If Harper is threatening to achieve a majority then the soft voters start thinking about strategic voting and vote swapping.

As of today, pollsters are telling us Harper is once again threatening a majority government...even without Quebec's suport he was conting on. The EKOS and Harris Decima rolling polls shows the Harper Conservatives have hit bottom and the trend is got an uptick yesterday.

Today EKOS seat projection says Harper is within MAJORITY territory once again with possibility of 152 seats. 155 seats are a majoirty. EKOS notes that “Seat projection models can be sensitive to small shifts in the regional distribution of support.” The go further and say “In sum, we (EKOS) think if anything this projection may somewhat understate Conservative strength.” Strategic voting therefore becomes a critical concern again going into the final weekend.

Harris Decima has the Conservatives up2 points to 34% and the Liberals and NDs dropping 1 point each leaving an 8 point Conservative lead. Harper and Dion are statistically tied in Ontario and Quebec meaning every vote counts for second place behind the Bloc.

The Liberals are the major second choice for Dippers but the Conservatives have seen a significant resurgence in NDP second soft choices since the debates. Harris Decima says the market turmoil will have significant impact on voter psychology over the weekend before Election Day. They say “The economy and the potential movements of the NDP and Green support are the most important factors to watch heading in the final weekend of campaigning.”

Elizabeth May is endorsing strategic voting to Stop Harper. She is quoted in today's Globe and Mail saying: "I just think Canadians need to take a long hard look at the potential here to get rid of the government of Stephen Harper and all the it represents." She is not saying vote strategically in those races that are not tight. But in those that are close then strategic voting to Stop Harper is well advised.

Like Don Martin, I am going into this weekend with no idea what the final election outcome will be. All scenarios are possible. It is very similar to how I felt going into the final weekend in the March Alberta election. The mood there was for change and the electorate who showed up still gave Ed Stelmach, the incumbent Progressive Conservative, an enormous majority government.

This weekend as Canadians gather around family Thanksgiving dinners they will be thinking twice before they vote once. The market turmoil and economic concerns will dominate. It is a 2 horse race between Harper and Dion's team. May and Layton are also-rans and at least she knows it.

Will they believe in Harper's indifference and Do Nothing approach is the best way to go? Do they think Dion's consultative and deliberative planning approach with the help of Paul Martin be a better way forward?