Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fundamental media narratives

Was just flipping through the channels and CTV's Craig Oliver was on Newsnet, talking about the year ahead in federal politics. He was also trying his best, unsurprisingly, to minimize recent polls that have shown the Conservatives and Liberals neck in neck.

Oliver cautioned people from reading too much into the poll numbers, saying Canadians aren't ready to throw-out the Harper government yet, and we shouldn't read any kind of “fundamental change” from just a few polls.

The fact is these polls aren't showing anything new. The media has just been slow to recognize the consistent numbers, since they were busy for most of the year trying to squeeze everything into their “Conservatives inching towards majority” narrative.

No one is saying Canadians are ready to toss Harper out, I think Oliver is being deliberately obtuse there. But the fact is, going back to the last election, the Conservatives have failed consistently to build and hold a substantial lead, despite all the advantages of incumbency and the public purse. While Liberal numbers have, yes, been aggravatingly and disappointingly stagnant, Conservative numbers have yo-yo'd, with any lead more than the margin short-lived.

Indeed, numbers for all the parties have been relatively stagnant since the last election, with the possible exception of the Greens. Canadians aren't enamored with Harper, but he hasn't burned the place down yet and the situation the country is good, so he gets the incumbents' bump and a short leash. The Dion Liberals have failed to inspire, Canadians are taking a wait and see. And the Layton NDP has also failed to gain any ground, despite (or because of?) their attack the Liberals first policy.

The trend Oliver and his colleagues don't seem to have recognized is that Canadians aren't particularly excited about any of their options, and don't much care either. And, barring something unforeseen, we'll continue to see these same “none of the above” numbers until the next election. Once the campaign starts, all bets will be off.

P.S. Oliver now says not forcing an election last fall was “the best decision Dion ever made.” That's nice Craig. I won't go back and check what you were saying about that decision at the time...

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Ti-Guy said...

I won't go back and check what you were saying about that decision at the time...

Oh, come on. Don't make me do it. Isn't this what we pay bloggers for? ;)

The only advantage I see to this government is that it's a minority, which I happen to prefer, especially when practically most institutions seem to have become confused and uninspiring, serving up nothing but bad ideas and baseless hype.

RuralSandi said...

Yes, I'm impressed with the young folks at times (I'm a boomer). Kady O'Mally always has something and different to say - she actually researches and does her homework - more than I can say for most of the "standard" political journalists.

I compare her to Taber - what a difference.

Example, O'Mally reports on her blog today about John Crosbie being appointed Lt. Governor of NFLD - ah, as Lt. Governer he cannot be questioned in the Mulroney-Schreiber affair...hmmmm -nice move Harper. Crosbie was Min. of Transport during that period.

Other writers, like L. Ian MacDonald who seems to have a man crush on Mulroney - attacks CBC and anything Liberal pretty much and gets out the honey jar for poor victim Mulroney.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Oh, come on. Don't make me do it. Isn't this what we pay bloggers for? ;)

It's Christmas, I was feeling chairatable towards Craig.