Political Perspectives is produced by the students and faculty of Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication, Canada's oldest journalism school.
Following the early East Coast results on Twitter election night while TV and radio broadcasts were still blacked out in my time zone was like stepping through a door into another universe that was being run by the Mad Hatter and the cast of Saturday Night Live.
It was bizarre and often funny, but the sober morning-after message is clear: we better damn well fix our voting laws here in Canada before the next election to accommodate this new parallel universe where real-time communication has a global reach.
If we don’t we risk corrupting the electoral process.
And those of us in the journalism biz may find the value of our coin – credibility – greatly debased. Read more…
Lost in the post-election commentary about the future of the Liberal party and the challenges Jack Layton will face in managing his new caucus is the dilemma that Stephen Harper must now confront.
Monday’s results demonstrated that two groups of voters who had no obvious home in this election – fiscal and social conservatives and fiscal conservative/social liberals – both cast their lots in with Mr Harper.
The former group has always supported the Conservatives but had plenty of reason to be disappointed with the past two minority governments, particularly as it pertains to controlling government spending and reducing the size of government. They have also chafed at the Conservatives’ unwillingness to implement a social conservative agenda on issues such as abortion.
Michael Ignatieff’s decision to get out of Dodge is completely understandable on a personal level. Although he is by no means solely responsible for the devastating defeat, he made a significant contribution to it — just as Kim Campbell did with the Progressive Conservatives almost two decades ago.
As opposition leader, Ignatieff chose not to develop a clear program for the party on the economy, on social programs or on the environment. He preferred to wait for distaste of the Harper government to build, expecting that he would automatically be the beneficiary. This spring, he forced an election without having conveyed to Canadians any clear purpose to it other than re-electing the Liberal party, just as he had done with similarly unfortunate effect in the late summer of 2009.
While many people have correctly commented in recent days that no one anticipated the scale of the Liberal defeat, or the wave of support to the New Democratic Party, that is not the whole story. Many people did wonder in March why on earth the Liberals would force an election that they were extremely unlikely to win. It almost seemed as if Michael Ignatieff and many others in the party just wanted to get on with it — so he could have his crack at an election, and that in all likelihood, he and the party would then be released to move on. Read more…
Posted by ealboim under All
The final days of the campaign matter
Despite the wind down of media coverage beginning with the Royal Wedding, it was clear once again – as happened in 2004 and 2006 – that the final three days of the campaign can make a difference. In those two elections, the Liberals fought back and depressed the NDP vote. This past weekend, it seems clear that the Conservatives blunted the NDP surge in ROC, most particularly in Ontario. They forced a second consideration and gained a crucial couple of points that won them seats. The NDP increase was not large enough to overcome it. Paid media and a call to strategic voting appeared to work again.
Assessments of leaders matter more than people like to think they do.
The finish is quite consistent with the leadership attribute scores. Mr. Layton’s Quebec breakthrough seems to have a strong leadership component. Mr. Harper ‘s leadership scores stayed high and Mr. Ignatieff’s never really moved. It is likely, as it usually is (see Ed Broadbent), that Mr. Layton’s scores clustered around the “soft” attributes of likeability, while Mr. Harper’s clustered around the “hard” attributes of competence – usually a closer fit with final results. It may be that the weighting of the variables was different in Quebec than was the case in ROC.
See our colleague, Dwayne Winseck’s blogs on newspaper endorsements here
There has been a proliferation of seat projections in this election campaign, as people try to get their heads around the NDP surge and what kind of parliament that might produce. There’s is an excellent article on seat projections in Pundits’ Guide this morning, and I want to add just a few thoughts.
For the record, I am generally a believer in the usefulness of seat projections, and continue to be so in this election, which promises to be historic in some ways. However, I also think that there are reasons to be more cautious about them in elections where there is potential structural change, and where there is volatility late in the campaign.
A few projections have caught the attention of media in this campaign more than the others. At the outset, many reporters relied on the 308 website because it was frequently updated and took account of all the polls. But the 308 model is deliberately cautious, which also means that it is less sensitive to sudden changes in party support as we have seen in this election. Because it didn’t dramatize the NDP surge story line, reporters suddenly lost interest in it.
Posted by ealboim under All
With five days to go to the election and one to the Royal Wedding, there is a bit of a competition for attention. Conventional wisdom seems to be saying that election information will have trouble displacing wedding information and by the time Canadians will be done watching the live event and the endless replays, the election will be, for all intents and purposes, over.
Well, maybe. But there are some contrary things to consider.
While earned media about the campaign may diminish for a day or two, paid media will continue unabated and perhaps at greater frequency. It is an interesting decision for the parties whether to buy during the wedding (they can’t be refused political advertising time during a writ period) to reach a potentially huge audience. Even more of a dilemma is whether to run negative ads during that time.
The Sun Media Corp., which now includes the Sun News Network on TV, likes to mix some fun with its political coverage. So it wasn’t any great surprise that the flagship Toronto Sun ran a Photoshopped picture of Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff on its front page last week to go with a story inside the paper.
Labeled (in small print) a “photo illustration,” the picture showed Ignatieff wearing a desert camouflage army helmet. It might not have been immediately apparent to readers the photo was a spoof, a digital equivalent of an editorial page cartoon.
The accompanying story suggested that Ignatieff was in bed big time with the Pentagon and the Bush administration in the run up to the Iraq invasion by the U.S. Ignatieff has always acknowledged his political support for the invasion. But the Sun story suggested Ignatieff, who ran a Harvard think tank at the time, helped with Pentagon war planning.
The story didn’t have the kind of legs it needed to become an election issue last week. But in a strange twist that could change with Sun Media’s acknowledgement today that the story was peddled to the news organization by a Conservative political operative, Patrick Muttart, who used to be Stephen Harper’s deputy chief of staff. Read more…
A couple of quick thoughts on advance poll numbers released by Elections Canada today.
This may be the first time (I can’t recall a previous one) when the advance polls were held on a holiday (Good Friday) and a quasi-holiday (Easter Monday). As a result it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that turnout was high when voters had the day off work. So take the news releases about record turnout with more than a grain of salt. It might be little more than a transfer of votes from May 2 to Easter weekend.
There is a interesting element to this though.
At a town hall meeting in Vancouver last night, I had a chance to see Michael Ignatieff personally for the second time in this campaign. He was, as I remarked upon earlier in the campaign, a surprisingly capable campaigner in front of a partisan crowd. He was sharp, witty, self-deprecating, and handled questions from the audience deftly. Despite the polls of recent days, he seemed to be enjoying himself. At the end, he said he felt almost tearful that this would be his last town hall (of the campaign, I think he meant, though maybe not).
But this threatens to be an earth-shattering election for the Liberals, in which even if they hold on to most of the seats they have at the moment, they may find themselves no longer the obvious alternative to the Conservative government because of the unexpected rise of the New Democrats in Quebec, British Columbia and the Atlantic provinces.
Ontario appears to be an exception for the moment, and remains the place where the Liberals would hope to hang onto the bulk of their seats. But it tells quite a story when one of the country’s leading pollsters, Nik Nanos, explains the failure of the New Democrats to break through in Ontario in terms of memories of the Rae government in the early 1990s.
- 04 May 2011 Twitter and elections: ta...
- 04 May 2011 The Conservative fork in ...
- 03 May 2011 Ignatieff’s pre-mat...
- 03 May 2011 Final Observations
- 30 Apr 2011 Counting up the newspaper...
- 29 Apr 2011 Seat projections…do...
- 27 Apr 2011 Royals versus politicians...
- 27 Apr 2011 Outing a Tory dirty trick...
- 26 Apr 2011 Those advance polls
- 26 Apr 2011 The trouble with Liberals...
- All (93)
- Election 2008 (117)
- Election 2008 Campaign strategy (46)
- Election 2008 Faculty links (12)
- Election 2008 Media commentary (51)
- Election 2008 Student articles (37)
- Election 2011 (53)
- Election 2011 Campaign strategy (45)
- Election 2011 Faculty links (38)
- Election 2011 Media commentary (36)
- Election 2011 Student articles (1)
- Media Commentary (48)
- Political Strategy (50)
- Post-election (3)
- Uncategorized (1)
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- October 2008
- September 2008