Fun Election Tool

Folks, if you are having problems leaving comments, I apologize. Something is slowing up my Movable Type connection. My bandwidth is doing okay, but my application is just going slow. Isn’t it supposed to take heavier loads than this?

The company Hill and Knowlton have provided Canadians a free, web-based election predictor. This neat little tool allows you to punch in numbers and predict election results, either by vote swings from various parties, or by simply predicting the split in popular support. The device allows you to drill down to individual ridings, and gives you a map of Canada and its various parts, showing your results in the parties’ colours. It even adjusts by province. For example, if you type in 14% national support for the Bloc Quebecois, it automatically applies those results just to Quebec.

The machine is probably guesstimating as much as we are, but it’s a slick device that allows you to play around with a number of scenarios. One fun one to consider is the following split: Liberals 27%, Conservatives 26%, NDP 25%, Bloc 14%, Other 8%.


An Interesting Poll

Happy December! How goes the election phoney war?

Interesting poll ran in the Globe and Mail today, mentioning that the Liberal’s lead among Canadian immigrants may be falling away.

Conservative support among visible minorities — who traditionally have overwhelmingly favoured the Liberals — hovered just under 30 per cent, within striking distance of the Liberals’ 38 per cent.

Moreover, Tory support from minorities is in line with the party’s support from the broader population, suggesting the Liberal advantage in this area may be overblown.

Intriguing. Then they talk about the Bloc’s inability to gain traction with ethnic voters (I’m betting they might not have traction with money, either, if dollar bills could vote), but they don’t make the connection when they offer up these polling numbers:

How would you vote if the election were held today?

Canada

Liberal 35%
Conservative 29%
NDP 17%
Bloc Québécois 14%
Other 5%

Immigrants

Liberal 46%
Conservative 29%
NDP 17%
Bloc Québécois 6%
Other 2%

Notice that the Conservative and NDP numbers among immigrants are exactly the same as their numbers throughout Canada? And notice that while the Liberals take a significant jump among immigrants, it’s the BQ (and other parties) that take a significant fall?

I’m wondering if the Liberals’ heightened support among immigrants is solely to be found in Quebec, where these individuals fear that there is no other credible federalist party, yet, who can face off against the Bloc. As for the rest of the country: immigrants fear Conservatives and the NDP about as much as everybody else does — which is to say, not very much.


Bad Idea, Good Idea

Ladies and gentlemen, in deference to The Animaniacs, we have our first installment of the 2006 Canadian election version of Bad Idea, Good Idea.

Bad Idea: raising the spectre of repealing same sex marriage during the first day of the campaign. Although some say there is a benefit to removing the word “hidden” from the phrase “hidden agenda”, I think most left-leaning voters were once-bitten, twice-shy over the Liberal fearmongering of the previous election. If Harper had walked away from the issue, content to let Martin scream blue murder about it, the bulk of the electorate would have walked away with him. The problem is, you sort of lend the boy who cried wolf a great deal of credibility if you show up in wolves’ clothing.

Harper can take solace in the fact that this is the phony war portion of the campaign, so the damage done to him will be minimal: most Canadians simply aren’t paying attention. And while left-leaning voters have had their faith in a Conservative-NDP informal coalition shaken, they can take solace in the fact that Harper will be limited to a minority, and it is unlikely they can get a repeal past the three parties around them who largely voted in favour of the legislation.

Especially considering that, with Jason Kenney confusing sci-fi geeks with multicultural television viewers, twice, Harper’s minority could well be a slim one indeed.

Good idea: raising the issue of cutting the GST. Whether or not this is good policy is certainly debatable, but it is most definitely good politics. The Conservatives have raised the discourse away from Liberal fearmongering and Conservative corruption babble and they actually have Canadians talking about the merits of a consumption tax versus an income tax. When was the last time Paul Martin did something as constructive?

And Harper’s move suddenly has Martin defending one of the most hated taxes in Canadian history. Given that the Conservatives introduced the tax and the Liberals promised (but failed) to repeal it, this is enough of a counterintuitive approach that may break through Canadians’ holiday malaise and make them pay attention to the issues of this election.

This has been Bad Idea, Good Idea. Good night!


My Journalism Portfolio has been updated with my latest column in The Record going up beside my latest article in Business Edge.

I’m pleased to say that, so far this year, I’ve managed to place at least one article a month, with the exception of the month of May. I’m currently working on a Business Edge article on rural wifi and broadband, and I’m shopping around a couple of articles that I’ve had in the works since this summer. These last two, I hope, will broaden my portfolio to include other publications. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

On The Unwritten Girl front, we’ll soon be into the copyediting stage and Dundurn is currently working on its spring catalogue. I’m hoping to get my first glimpse of the (sort of) official book cover at that time. There may also be an ISBN number.

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