Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is breaking even now a sign of momentum?

… it is if you want to believe the Liberal spin machine.

Embarrassed by their crêpe paper opposition to Harper and blistered from the heat coming off the phones and blogs - and even from Dion’s “friends” - Liberals are desperately spinning the four St. Patrick’s Day by-elections into a story about their rocketing momentum.

As one columnist notes, they have thus far managed only to convince themselves:

More positively, Liberals have convinced themselves they will gain momentum and a stronger team next month by winning by-elections in four seats they previously held in Toronto, Saskatchewan and Vancouver.

Allegedly "up for grabs” are four seats the Liberals won in 2006; with over 50% of the vote in 3 of them. Four seats where the Liberal MP chose to resign rather than run with Stephane Dion. Four seats where the Liberal Party has had the advantage of organizing in an incumbent riding for between 2 to 24 years.

Keeping these four seats in the Liberal column is not momentum.

If it were, then the hot shot who’s down $40,000 at one point, yet leaves the casino having broken even would be on a roll!

But since we are talking about it, how precisely do the 24 Liberal MPs who have left their party or announced their intent to leave register in the calculation of alleged Liberal momentum?

Just asking.


Malcolm+ said...

BH: "If it were, then the hot shot who’s down $40,000 at one point, yet leaves the casino having broken even would be on a roll!"

M+: Not quite. A better analogy would be the guy who is down $40,000, loses another $5K and then recovers the $5K. He's still down $40K, but he's got the big mo.

Of course, there is every possibility that the Liberals may not break even. Joan Beatty isn't that strong a candidate, and the manner of her appointment has created significant discontent among riding Liberals. Given the narrowness of Merasty's win last time - and Merasty was a strong candidate with deep roots in First Nations politics - I think the Liberals are likely to be down one.

So the byelection tally would stand thus:

New Democrats > +2
Conservatives > +1
Bloc Quebecois > -1
Liberals > -2

Malcolm+ said...

Sorry. That should be:

Conservatives > +2
New Democrats > +1
Bloc Quebecois > -1
Liberals > -2

janfromthebruce said...

I am wondering if the NDP might be competitive in the Sask riding? Considering that the lib vote has to go somewhere, might the voter not throw their vote the NDP way?

Blogging Horse said...

Sure. Expect that voters who are rightly exasperated by the spinelessness of today's Liberals will march to the more credible NDP in every riding.

And if enough of them do, Churchill River has the best chance of changing from red to orange.

That'll give the Liberal spin machine an even harder workout.

Jimmie said...

As the Horse notes, with the exception of Churchill, these are all VERY safe Liberal seats.

Byelections can be funny, imprecise indicators of things. Were the Liberals to lose all four that would be more than a freak of nature, it would be a very clear sign that the HMCS Liberal is heading below the waves.

That scenario, however, is very unlikely. They will likely win the three urban ridings handily.

But a good way to guage "momentum" is to see how much their vote goes down in what are otherwise Liberal fortresses.

If they dip below the 50% mark by which they have won them for the last 20 years--say by 5% or more--the pointy heads at LPC HQ should be bracing themselves for an absolute pummelling once the real election happens later this Spring.

Malcolm+ said...

There have been rumours that the Cons have been running low-key in the Toronto seats and quietly encouraging their folks to support the NDP. That makes some sort of sense in Toronto-Centre, but not particularly in Willowdale.

I do expect that the NDP will go up in the two Toronto seats and in Saskatchewan, while the Liberal vote will go down. I don't know Quadra well enough to guess though.

If the NDP vote overall is up and the Liberal vote down in a series of "safe" Liberal seats, Jack's spin on the byelections practically writes itself.