, who does poll aggregations and analysis for CBC News, wrote, a few days ago, on the CBC News website, that “When this election year kicked off, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were on track for victory in the fall federal election. Now, as parliamentarians prepare to head home after this week’s expected adjournment of the House of Commons, they’ll return to a very different political landscape … [and] … It’s one that favours Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives — and it’s one that might be settling in as the new normal.” The operative word here, especially for Conservatives, is “might.”
M Grenier offers a brief overview of the results of a half dozen recent polls, explaining that “The CBC’s Canada Poll Tracker, an aggregation of all publicly available polling data, had a lot of numbers to crunch lately, with six polls being published over the past week,” and concluding that:
- “The averages now show the Conservatives leading with 36 per cent support among decided voters nationwide, putting them a little more than six percentage points ahead of the Liberals, who trail with 29.8 per cent;
- Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats are in third with 15.1 per cent, followed closely by Elizabeth May’s Greens at 10.7 per cent; and
- Another 4.3 per cent say they will vote for the Bloc Québécois, with 2.5 per cent supporting Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party and 1.5 per cent saying they will support other parties or independent candidates.“
“These numbers,”have the Conservatives straddling the 170 seats needed to form a majority government, according to the Poll Tracker’s seat projections. Accordingly, if the election were held today there would be a 74 per cent chance that the Conservatives would emerge with the most seats. A majority is nearly a toss-up.“
That seems pretty consistent with what other analytical groups have concluded from the same polls:
The problem for the Conservatives, and for Canada, in my opinion, is that anything but a CPC majority is a failure. If the Liberals win 130± seats and the NDP and Greens manage 30± between them then they will, very likely, propose that the separatist BQ join them in a “national unity” government in order to deny Andrew Scheer an opportunity to put Canada back on a sane socio-economic course. It has, almost, happened before, in 2008.
The Liberal slide, M Grenier says, has stopped, but the problem is that the Conservative rise has also stalled, and, with summer nearly here and the house rising soon, Canadians are much more likely to be concerned with holidays than with politics. There is still time and opportunity, however, for Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives to present Canadians, especially Canadians in the seat-rich suburbs around, especially, Vancouver and in Southern and South Western Ontario, with a suite of policies that both make sense and address the issues that concern them most. The Conservatives, I think, are, already, more trusted on matters related to finance and the economy, including taxes, and, probably, on the (far less critical) foreign and defence policy files, but I suspect they trust Greens, the Liberals and the NDP more on climate change, which is a big issue, in particular, and on the environment in general and also on social issues.
The Liberals are going to use the summer to try to paint Andrew Scheer as a socially conservative Christian who is anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-immigrant and, indeed, a racist and a closet white-supremacist … they are going to succeed, up to a point, because, up to another point, he is some of those things and the true bits make the lies easier to sell to an electorate that has not, yet, gotten to know Mr Scheer.
The best way for the Conservatives to counter the attacks on Mr Scheer is to emphasize that he is the leader of a big, diverse team that has powerful voices who are social moderates, pro-choice, who stand up for gay rights and who have good ideas about combatting climate change and managing the national health care system and about a whole host of issues:
The Liberal mudslinging is going to be vicious and relentless and bits of it will stick because some Conservatives, veterans and new recruits alike, will make mistakes and the Liberal war-room and the Liberal-friendly elements in the media will pounce. Liberal MPs and candidates will slip up, too, and Conservative partisans will follow up but I hope that the CPC, proper, will try to run a well focused, clean campaign that deals with issues rather than gossip and innuendo.