Political Perspectives is produced by the students and faculty of Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication, Canada's oldest journalism school.

MAY 2011

Twitter and elections: tales from the Twilight Zone

Posted by jsallot under All, Election 2011, Election 2011 Faculty links, Election 2011 Media commentary, Media Commentary, Post-election

Jeff Sallot

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…


The Conservative fork in the road

Posted by cwaddell under All, Election 2011, Election 2011 Faculty links, Post-election

Christopher Waddell

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.

Read more…

MAY 2011

Ignatieff’s pre-mature evacuation

Posted by padams under Election 2011, Election 2011 Campaign strategy, Political Strategy, Post-election

Paul Adams

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…


Final Observations

Posted by ealboim under All

Elly Alboim

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.

Read more…