Finally -- after endless configurations of yet another way to produce a minority Conservative government -- there is light. Emergent and flickering, but a sign nonetheless that we are on a path to change.
The hopefulness is from the latest Harris Decima poll of more than 2,000 Canadians (a large sample). The Conservatives are reduced to 29%, the Liberals are at 27% and the NDP has risen to 20%. These numbers would put the Conservatives and Liberals in a virtual tie and give a large balance of power to the NDP.
Whether or not these results are replicated in the next round of surveys is beside the point. This survey stands out because it is the first recent research to find that change might be in the air, and in very rough terms, it describes what that could look like.
Some of the detail in this research that I found strategic for progressives suggests that the opposition parties should waste as little ammunition as possible on each other:
First, the progressive equation only works with the Bloc at commanding heights in Quebec. There is room for the NDP to pick up a seat, but Harper must be taken down in Quebec and the heavy lifting falls to the Bloc.
Second, the high numbers for the NDP are not generally at the expense of the Liberals, but come from Tory territory. In BC and the Prairies, it is PC vs NDP; the NDP-Liberal blood feud is confined mostly to southern Ontario. But even in Ontario, both the NDP and Liberals gained.
Finally, even the Greens win a seat in this scenario (in BC, i.e. Elizabeth May) while the NDP runs up record numbers in the West.
Federal politics is starting to get interesting again.
A media note: It is a comment on the state of political reporting in the land that one of the more perceptive eyes on our body politic comes from a television reporter, the Globe’s John Doyle. This week he asked a question that I have asked a hundred times: how come so much of the political air time on Canadian television goes to right wing nuts like Ezra Levant? This week Levant attacked the CBC (on CBC, of course) over the Frank Graves/Ekos advice to start a “culture war” with the Harperites. Doyle says: “You want feisty, biting political punditry and insight on Canadian TV? Look to the right. Ignore the left, ignore the rest.”
Is the Canadian left really too dull for TV? Maybe he has a point. But why not test the thesis by actually having someone from the left appear on CBC or CTV?
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