Bad news for Andrew Scheer

Notwithstanding the absolutely horrid proposal to punish doctors, farmers and small business owners for not being civil servants, notwithstanding the colossal screw-up of the CF-18 replacement, notwithstanding failing to keep Justin Trudeau’s signature electoral reform promise, notwithstanding the shameful payoff of Omar Khadr, and notwithstanding the chaos on our borders, ABACUS Data tells us that it’s latest poling shows that “if an election were held today the Liberal Party would garner 43% support, compared to 31% for the Conservatives and 17% for the NDP. These numbers are in line with our results from July … [and] … On a regional basis, we see the Liberals with an 23-point lead in Ontario, a 22-point lead in Quebec, and an 18-point lead in BC. The Liberals have a 12-point lead among men, and an 11-point lead among women. The Liberals have a substantial lead among all age groups except voters 45-59, where they are effectively tied with the Conservatives.

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The Liberals are, in fact, slightly higher now than they were when they were elected in October of 2015.

The Liberal Party lead,” the report says, “is built in part on the fact that 47% say they approve of the job the government is doing, compared to 30% who disapprove. This rating has hovered around the 50% mark since the end of 2016 … [and] … When it comes to views of Prime Minister Trudeau, 47% say they have a positive opinion, compared to 28% who have a negative opinion. These numbers are slightly improved from those we saw as the House of Commons recessed …[but] … For Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, 19% say they have a positive opinion, compared to 18% who have a negative opinion. These numbers are not that dissimilar to those found for Rona Ambrose.” In other words, Canadians still like Justin Trudeau and they remain unaware of Andrew Scheer.

Bruce Anderson, who heads ABACUS Data, says that ““As they enter the latter half of their mandate the Liberals support is based on generally satisfying the large majority of people who cast a ballot for them, plus about half of those who voted NDP last time.”

So what? There’s two years left to go, right? Plenty of time to turn things around …

There is time, but not plenty of it. Some factors ~ the economy, Prime Minister Trudeau’s genuine “likability” coupled with the fact that he’s nearly the polar opposite to President Trump, Canadians general lack of concern about defence, the fact that many Canadians actually agree with the tax on doctors, farmers and entrepreneurs ~ are operating in the Liberals’ favour. The Conservatives need to identify the issues that will resonate with Canadians … immigration, refugees and migration might be one of them. But the CPC must not use the sort of ‘dog whistle’ approach that damaged Kellie Leitch.

Big business, big labour and the Laurentian Elites will remain, solidly, behind Justin Trudeau and the Liberals; that means the Conservatives have to go after small business, Main Street, the farmers and people in the small towns and suburbs with issues that resonate there … and without the sort of social conservative baggage that will cost them the suburban vote. It probably means de-emphasizing some of my big issues like cutting government, free(er) trade, foreign policy and national defence ~ none of those are vote getters. It does mean focusing on individual, community and job security (immigration) without singling out any one group as a problem, and on cutting, not raising taxes.

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