April 6, 2011

Update: Proving my point on Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper.
I'm still reveling in the thrill of getting mentioned in Hot Air by Ed Morrissey.  In response to his painting the conservative party as center-left I drew a distinction between conservatives and the conservative party in Canada as opposed to the general electorate:
The conservative party of Canada is far less of a center-left party than you suggest. While it is not currently conservative in the sense of American conservatism, it’s still a center-right party. The way it governs is affected by the country as a whole. The conservative government is hampered by decades of liberalism and socialism, so moving the country back to the right will take considerable time. The country fears conservatives as being radicals and Prime Minister Harper has had to temper his lower taxes, stronger national defense, pro-business views to suit what is still a center-left country that is slowly testing the waters with a conservative government (three elections later).

Harper’s prudence isn’t as exciting as Reagan or Thatcher in a full on charge to the right, but it’s the smartest approach in a country ready to run back to the liberals at what it regards as the slightest hint of radical conservatism. If we are to get to a center-right nation, we unfortunately have to do it slowly.

Other than that, glad as always that you are paying attention to what’s going on up here.

I'm quoting myself now. Not good. In any case, a Maclean's Magazine article out today has this to say about the vote-rich battleground province of Ontario;
Conservatives hoping for a breakthrough in “Battleground Ontario” are once again running up against suspicion of Stephen Harper, a survey done for Maclean’s and 680 News indicates.

When asked how they would vote if the election were held today, 37 per cent of respondents on Innovative Research Group’s Canada 20/20 panel said they would cast ballots for the Conservatives, while 33 per cent indicated they would vote Liberal. NDP support stood at 14 per cent, while the Greens scored nine per cent.

The spread between the two front-running parties is well below that shown at the beginning of the campaign, when polls suggested Conservative support in Ontario was running as high as 47 per cent and Grit support around 33 per cent. Those early results led to speculation of a Conservative majority, as southwestern Ontario and the heavily populated areas around Toronto are home to a slew of hotly contested ridings that could tilt the outcome of the election.

Unfortunately for the Tories, the recent findings suggest Ontarians still have reservations about both Harper and the party.
I think that bears out my point - Harper has to tread very carefully because of the potential backlash from a liberal leaning, vote rich province.  That said, while expected the polls to tighten, particularly in Ontario, this is a bigger and faster swing than I would have expected and I think the poll may be overstating the swing at this point.  In other words, the poll could very well be an outlier.

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