Monday, March 30, 2009

Layton loses no ground – ranked the leader best able to understand the problems of Canadians

Imagine that every time you applied for a loan or met someone new your cheating ex-spouse was permitted to comment on the matter.

That’s the way it is with Buzz Hargrove. In terms of fidelity to the New Democratic Party the former Paul Martin-booster ranks with such courageous defenders as Hazen Argue, Rick Laliberte and (in a delightful twist of irony that has never been fully examined) his old arch nemesis Bob Rae. The man who New Democrats could almost never count on for anything can now be counted on by journalists with tight deadlines and unimaginative editors to heap mud on Jack Layton with the all the suspense of a vending machine.

Which accounts for this.

But aside from Hargrove’s ludicrous objectivity and absurd claims (he says the NDP “felt more comfortable attacking the Liberals” than Harper in the last election. Um, WHAT?? Did the eagle-eyed Hargrove not catch a glimpse of the most vicious attack ad of the last campaign?), the article builds its house on the sand of recent polls to suggest New Democrats should be worried about the Liberal “juggernaut” version 3.0.

But recent polls don’t show much evidence of this at all. The Angus Reid poll that came out last week had the Conservatives at 35, the Liberals inching to 31 and the NDP down at 16 percent. A margin of error drop for the NDP since the election is hardly proof positive of a hollowing out.

If anything, New Democrats should be buoyant from this poll. In terms of leadership “best ats,” Canadians rank Layton first or second on almost every issue.

Which leader is the most honest and trustworthy? Jack Layton ranks first.

Which leader agrees with you on the issues you care about? Jack Layton ranks first.

Which leader cares about the environment? Jack Layton ranks first by a 22 point margin!

And on the critical vote-determining question of which leader understands the problems of Canadians? Canadians rank Jack Layton first by four points over Harper.

Ignatieff’s only first place ranking is “inspires confidence.” After the leader Liberals just had the contrast alone makes this understandable. But even in political death, Dion haunts the Liberals.

Consider that days after becoming leader, after a leadership race that blistered his credibility for “not getting it done” and at a time when the economy was showing no signs of weakness and Harper appeared in control and confident, Stephane Dion brought his party to a record 40 percent in the polls.

More than 90 days since becoming leader himself in circumstances far more favorable, 40 percent support remains a feat Michael Ignatieff hasn’t come close to matching.


leftdog said...

Buzz Hargrove is pathetic.

The Mound of Sound said...

Someone touched a nerve, oh dear. Don't worry, Jack Layton has led your party to its zenith. It's all downhill from here on in. When times get tough, Canadians get serious and when Canadians get serious that's bad news for the NDP. It's too bad that wonderful guy David Lewis isn't still around. He'd explain it all to you.

A BCer in Toronto said...

No commentary from me (other than bolding), just quotes from the study you linked to.

*Much of the Liberal increase from the last election seems to have come from the NDP. In fact, nearly a quarter (22%) of people who voted NDP in 2008 are now supporting or leaning towards Ignatieff’s Liberals.

*For Layton, the situation is dire. The NDP leader posted the worst momentum score this month (-27) and half of Canadians (50%) disapprove of the performance of the party he commands.

*While Layton is still regarded as a man who cares about the environment (49%), understands the problems of Canadians (39%), is honest and trustworthy (34%) and who generally agrees with Canadians on issues they care about (30%), he lost points from January in every single one of the qualities that are tracked in this survey.

*Layton is holding on to first place on some issues, but his numbers are starting to flounder as opposition voters appear to be giving the Ignatieff-led Liberals a second look.

The survey shows that the NDP—a few weeks removed from an electoral campaign that was designed to promote Layton as PM material—is facing a tough battle. There is marked increase in the proportion of Canadians who disapprove of the party's performance, and little positive momentum for its leader.

Blogging Horse said...


All your Liberal Juggernaut Version 3.0 bluster sounds woefully familiar. And here's one reason why:

"[Gerard]Kennedy interprets Tory efforts to discredit Dion as proof that they're scared of his potential.

"There's a slight whiff of desperation around all of this. If they're worried it's because there are some ingredients that they can't match, which is Mr. Dion is a leader with a mission, Mr. Harper is not."
- Gerard Kennedy on the unstoppable force that was Stephane Dion, Canadian Press, 18 February 2007

Mr. Ignatieff can borrow Dion's tactics of ordering Liberal MPs to prop up Harper on vote after vote in the House, but he'd be making a mistake to borrow his lame message box of the inevitablity of a Liberal government too.