Thursday, September 2, 2010

Harper has given up on a majority

With Iggy rightfully taking to task Harper's neglect of Canada's second largest province, it brings up an obvious question in the minds of political watchers such as myself: what does this signal about the Conservative's electoral strategy?

With polls showing the party in the mid-teens, and websites like 308.com, DemocraticSpace and Canadian Election Watch showing the party stuck between 6 and 9 seats (down from 11 they have currently), and no relief in site, Harper is probably asking himself, as Ipsos pollster John Wright said, "why bother?"

Furthermore, the fact of the matter is that Harper will not get a majority government, and by this time, he realizes it. Even if he says it in memos and meetings, he and his strategists must know by now that a majority is simply not in sight for them. The best possibility they have to even get close is another strong minority, between 135-145 seats, while hoping the Liberals, NDP and Bloc are once again dependent on each other to ensure the government's defeat on any motion. It's been a comfy situation for them so far, and instead of throwing the kitchen sink and attempting to get a majority, why not save their resources to ensure they keep the current situation they have?

This isn't to say Harper doesn't want a majority - it's obvious he does. But Harper knows he can't waste resources and political capital on attempting to do so. After four years in power, they're already facing huge deficits, attacks on several fronts, and some pretty bad Cabinet cock-ups. Harper, in what would be his fourth election as leader, knows that the Conservatives have some fairly permanent stains on their record, and it will drag them further. Protect what they have now, and keep the comfy situation they're in today.

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