There is a very useful article by David Coletto, CEO of ABACUS Data, about a presentation he gave to the recent Manning Networking Conference here in Ottawa entitled: “The next 10%: Reflections and data on how the Conservatives can grow.“
The article explains that while the most recent ABACUS Data polls show this …
… the really important data is this:
Somewhere between the 26% who are ready, now, to vote for the CPC and the 51% who would consider voting Conservative is the margin of victory in 2019.
Remember, please, that only twice in my lifetime, in 1958 and again in 1984, has a general election been won by a party that won over 50% of the popular vote. It was John Diefenbaker’s Conservatives and Brian Mulroney’s Conservatives … no Liberal, not the great statesman, Louis St Laurent ,and not the charismatic idol, Pierre Trudeau, has done that since MacKenzie-King in 1940. It can be done because it has been done … by Conservatives.
Mr Coletto distinguishes between the 51% of Conservative Potentials (the target) and the 26% of Conservative Supporters (the base) in these graphics:
This goes to themes that I have been harping on almost since I began this blog: the CPC needs to be a socially moderate, fiscally responsible party that has polices that are attractive to, above all, suburban voters in and around Greater Vancouver, Greater Toronto and Southern Ontario. It needs to challenge the Liberals and even the NDP in urban centres, too. Angry, old white men cannot win. The face of Canada has changed and the Conservative Party must reflect it. If the CPC cannot or will not adapt to the new face of Canada then it does not deserve to govern.
Single parents, LBGT families and new Canadians are just like the “old stock” Canadians in our small town base: they want lower taxes, they want fair treatment for all Canadians, they want a clean, healthy natural environment, they believe that climate change matters, even if they are unsure about how much is enough, they want Alberta oil to reach tide-water but they want First Nations and the environment treated with respect during the negotiating process, they want a principled foreign policy ~ based on their values which, at bottom, are generally quite conservative.
David Coletto concludes, and I agree, that: “These results suggest that the Conservative Party does have a path back to power. And it doesn’t mean it has to move completely to the centre and mimic the Liberal Party. I think it means its leaders have to talk about the big questions of our day: equality, climate change, and economic security … [but] … to do so, a few things likely have to occur:
- First, impressions of Mr. Trudeau must change among those open to voting Conservative. Right now, only 20% have a negative view with a majority feeling positive about the Prime Minister. At the same time, Mr. Scheer needs to introduce himself to this group, build a relationship, and demonstrate he’s a viable alternative as Prime Minister.
- Second, while there is runway for the Conservatives to appeal to the more conservative and populist elements of the potential supporter group, such a strategy requires converting almost all of those who share views with the majority of Conservative supporters.
In contrast, a route more likely to “widen the tent” may be one in which the party better aligns with these potential supporters on some key issues. It needs to be seen as having a credible plan to deal with climate change. It has to offer an open minded and welcoming attitude to those from more diverse backgrounds and different lifestyles and it needs to offer conservative solutions to those living in cities and among younger Canadians … [and] … Unless the party can appeal more broadly to these groups, the road to majority is tenuous at best.“