Friday, April 24, 2015

The Debate - Teddy's view

I made a point of not watching the debate, but rather, watching the reaction to it, live, on twitter and elsewhere.

Doing so allowed me to see a few things that I think I would have otherwise missed.

For example, the "math is hard" comment, for me, was a throw-away line that I'd have forgotten about 5 minutes later; but for everyone else, it had impact.

By seeing the reaction I was able to lean a few things, and applying it to what I already knew, I've been able to deduce the following:

1 - David Swann might win his own seat, but that's unlikely at this point. If he somehow does manage to win his own seat, he's very likely to be alone in the legislature.

2 - Brian Jean did not do what was needed. While he stayed on message, that was not the key. Albertans know that if they want to get out of this mess they might need to pay a little bit more on taxes, and having him say he'll keep taxes low only appealed to those within the province for whom this is their main issue, and that is not nearly as many people as he seems to think. In addition, any reaction to him was limited.

3 - Jim Prentice did poorly, but did manage to hit some of the targets he needed to. With polls showing the Tories in third, he did manage to remain the 'big guy' in the debate, and the 'man to beat'. His comments, however, came across as far too brazen and harsh, especially against the NDP. These are things that might have been more relevant 2 weeks ago, but with more and more people digging into the NDP's platform, Prentice just comes across as scaremongering. In effect, he said "don't even bother looking at the NDP, they are scary" at a time when people have already given the NDP a serious look and found them to be quite moderate.

4 - Rachel Notley won the debate, nobody could possibly contest that. What I noticed from the reaction, and what is key, is the extreme magnitude of that win. Notley seems to have tapped into some of the emotional fear that some still have for parties on the left in Alberta and just plain switched it off. This was a near flawless performance and one which puts the NDP in a crucial position, one where an NDP government is quite likely possible, especially if other voters bleed away from other parties. Personally, I would say that given where we are, what the poll say, what the mood of Albertans is, and what is likely to happen between now and e-day, that Notley is sitting on a minority government. It could be a very narrow one, but that's really all that you need in a situation like this to "prove" that your party is nothing to be afraid of. In such a situation, a coalition would not be needed or even wanted, and all she would need to do is give enough to either the Tories or Wildrose to stay in government for at least one good budget. Once the price of oil recovers, she could present a budget that puts some oil revenue into savings, while keeping taxes stable, to spark an election, and with a "don't elect those guys, we've tried this before" message, she could well get herself into a majority and, as very strange as it sounds, cement Alberta as a cornerstone and hotbed of provincial NDP governance for decades to come.


  1. Post-debate poll from Forum shows the NDP at 38% followed by the Wildrose 25% and PCs 20% (Liberals and Alberta Party have somewhat unrealistic high numbers). Forum projecting a slim NDP majority with those numbers.

    Interesting tidbit form the Forum poll is that the NDP support is highest with people making more than $100 000 annually.

    38% of people who voted PC last election will vote NDP and only 18% of those voters will vote Wildrose. I guess it made sense why Prentice focused on Notley.

    I wonder if the Dippers have peaked, or they are able to maintain and even increase this momentum. Next week will be their toughest week as the entire election focus goes on them.

  2. I don't know Teddy. I would be shooting a new ad right now. A disembodied hand would be pulling a string and a Barbie would be saying Math Is Hard. The voice of God would entone : Do you want Prentise pulling any more strings ?"