Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Post-Debate '11

My impressions of tonight's English language debate are similar to what I feel much of this election has been in the eyes of most Canadians: unnecessary.

The fact is, tonight, I don't feel any of the party leaders made much of a case beyond what their own supporters expected them to make. This debate was essentially a fight to meet expectations, and while you saw some interesting divergences on issues like the spending priorities, justice issues, and our image abroad, you didn't see anything substantial come out of it. None of the party leaders impressed beyond what their own parties expected; they all had their hits, their drawbacks, and their plain stupidity.

Harper was definitely the "winner," by virtue of his ability to remain composed during the entire debate. However, he was almost inanimate, and made no case beyond the idea that as an incumbent party, they've done this and that and you should vote for us to continue this. Maybe that's an effective argument, I don't really know; I'm pretty sure, however, that instead of advancing the argument why he should have a majority, he instead made the case for simply a Conservative government - beyond that, he let the other leaders define why he shouldn't have a majority. After all, if Harper got all of this done as a minority, why risk a majority?

Ignatieff won in a way that only he could - by not totally crashing and burning. He managed to keep a relatively composed stance, while attacking Harper on key issues, drawing attention away from Jack Layton, despite the hits he took from him, and remained relevant in the debate. Liberals should be pleased with his performance, because he didn't disappoint. Issue, however, is that he didn't excite either; he managed to keep himself afloat, but never pulled himself out of the water. He also didn't define why he should be Prime Minister, just why he should be an excellent Opposition Leader to hold Harper to account. That's not the end result we wanted, though I think its all that we expected - and I'm personally happy with that.

Layton was described as looking like a "wild-eyed socialist" by my grandfather; I can't help but think he may be right. It isn't that Layton did anything crazy or bad, in fact he was effective in several attacks he made against both Iggy and Harper. But he never articulated why he would be better in the OLO than as the fourth party leader. In fact, he seemed more liked a novelty than reality; but it will play well with NDP voters, probably clawing back enough support to keep the Dippers afloat. This being said, however, I don't expect to see Layton riding above the Libs anytime soon. Also, I expect to see support in Quebec drop, at least among federalists, thanks to the corner he was backed into by Duceppe on expanding Bill 101.

My prediction on the effect of the outcome? Basically nada:

Conservatives - 140-160
Liberals - 70-90
Bloc Quebecois - 40-50
NDP - 25-35


  1. 1, Harper kept his cool, stayed on his message- the economy.
    2. Ignatieff was aggressive, he had to be. Got in some shots, but lost his cool towards Layton, twice.
    a. paraphrasing:... appearing angry
    "At least we get elected to government and not forever in opposition.
    b. again angry "I do not need any lessons in democracy from you."

  2. I think Iggy could have done better, but I don't think Iggy "losing his cool" was anything major.

  3. Why is keeping your composure a positive? I want these guys to get emotional and motivated about their message to me. This will be a CLEAR indication to me that they are alive... that they care... that they are engaged with us... that they understand our issues and what we want them to accomplish when they REPRESENT US in Parliament.

    Mr. Harper's soft spoken, "come on listen to me I'm the best choice" way of speaking is CLEARLY a method he uses to manipulate his audience. He appears to be very good at this and CLEARLY fools a lot of people. Not me.

    I hope that the CPCs get a majority, just so it can be made CLEAR what devastation they will wreak on this fine country. In our society, the majority put their heads in the sand until something devastating happens to wake them up. Look at Japan, a disaster waiting to happen. Now the world is awake. Mr. Harper has a history of shady, back-room politics. I see this manifesting into something terrible should he be given a majority government.


  4. The idea, for Harper anyways, is that keeping his cool is a "plus" - the man can get emotional, and when he does, he usually gets angry. That's the positive.

    Otherwise, it looks like you'll get your wish if the polls continue as they are...

  5. "Why is keeping your composure a positive?"

    my thoughts:

    1. because the LPC and the MSM have spent the past couple of years attempting to create a narrative that Harper is some vindictive control freak. Him not playing to this ideal, while Ignatieff does shows the transparency of this argument.

    2. The Howard Dean influence on campaigns

  6. Volkov: I am curious where you find the seat projections on your sidebar. (Interest not attack)

    308 shows 152/73/50/33 - a vast difference in the level of LPC support.

  7. Eric,

    They're basic swings that I use. If you look at the actual popular vote, we're not hilariously different. All I do is calculate basic averages with little weighting, and run them through a basic swing projector. That's what pops out.

    308.com's projections are similar but he a) has a lot more polls than I do, and b) his regional swings and weighting on specific ridings and polls are a lot more fanciful than anything I've got. Eric of 308.com as built up his system over time with lots of tweaks - I throw mine together in about 10 minutes. I'll always give him the benefit of the doubt on projections.

    However, realize as well that 308's projections are the lowest for the Liberals out of any other projection systems, from DemocraticSpace, to Too Close to Call, to LISPOP, to Riding by Riding, to Canadian Election Watch, who put the Liberals between 76 to 85 seats. There's a lot of variation, and some say 308 penalizes the Liberals a lot.

    On a basic swing, I'd say the Liberals probably gain more than they should, but hey, that's why I have a disclaimer. Besides, the other numbers aren't too far off what others are saying.

  8. But as I said, you'll want to follow up on those seasoned projections more than mine - I only do mine for kicks, just to add something interesting to the site.

  9. Thanks. I didn't know that you did the work yourself!

  10. I have a lot of time on my hands sometimes.