Is Joan Crockatt about to meet her Waterloo?
As reported first by Dave Cournoyer of the Daveberta blog and moments later by the Globe and Mail, a new poll released yesterday shows the by-election campaign in Calgary-Centre tightening into a three-way race among Crockatt, who is the Conservative Party's standard bearer, and Harvey Locke of the Liberals and Chris Turner of the Greens.
Crockatt has been described by many commentators, with some justice, as a polarizing candidate. Even so, it would be a shocker if an electorate in a dependable Calgary riding were to send a brisk message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the way he runs the government by electing either one of the two environmentalists who showed well in the Nov. 12 robopoll by Forum Research.
The survey, of 376 randomly selected residents of the downtown Calgary federal electoral district, showed Crockatt, a former journalist and right-wing commentator, in the lead -- but barely so, at 32 per cent. Nipping at here heels were Locke, with 30 per cent of the respondents, and Turner, with 23 per cent.
Forum says the margin of error for the poll is five percentage points, which would certainly appear to put Crockatt and Locke, a lawyer and prominent conservationist, within spitting distance of one another.
The NDP candidate, Dan Meades, who was nominated late and whose party for some reason only recently made much of an effort in the riding, trailed distantly with 12 per cent.
The idea that a robocall poll -- called an interactive voice response, or IVR, in pollster talk -- with a tiny sample to boot, could call it right when I've said repeatedly I thought Crockatt would be a shoo-in because of the way Calgary voters historically behave leaves this blogger torn.
I've called 'em wrong before and will no doubt call 'em wrong again, but it still makes me cringe when it happens. On the other hand, given Crockatt's hard-right economic views, nothing could delight me more than to see Calgary Centre's voters coalesce around any more progressive opposition candidate, Locke looking like the most likely at the moment, to give Harper and his unconservative neoconservatives a sound and much deserved spanking on their home turf.
Given the choice I'm going to plump for the horserace and pray that progressive voters in the riding rally 'round the best placed non-Conservative.
The Calgary vote will take place on Nov. 26.
After the Battle of Waterloo, which was fought on Sunday, June 18, 1815, in present-day Belgium, Napoleon Bonaparte wrote to the British: "Exposed to the factions which divide my country, and to the enmity of the great Powers of Europe, I have terminated my political career." One can only hope for a repeat of history.
This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.