Thursday, March 27, 2008

You can always count on the National Post for half the story

In how many ways is Don Martin’s column in the National Compost Tuesday full of it? Really too many to count, but I’ll mention a few anyways.

Don’s thesis is that according to a recent poll, men tend to statistically favour the Conservatives over the Liberals, 41 per cent to 27 per cent according to Don’s Ipsos poll.

A question for Don. He says:

But what's even more sobering for Liberals is that Mr. Harper's negatives are concentrated in young to middle-aged women of lower to middle incomes.

Those approaching retirement or enjoying a $60,000-plus salary tend to side with
Mr. Harper, a split decision that keeps Conservatives in a dead heat with Liberals among women voters nationwide.

Now Ipsos doesn’t release the full tables, and Don doesn’t quote any stats for women supporters, who in the stats I’ve seen from other polls vastly favour the Liberals. Unsupported by stats, he claims women are split between the Liberals and the Conservatives, and men are vastly favouring the Liberals. How, then, prey tell, does this same poll show:
The survey, administered March 18-20 by Ipsos Reid, showed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives and the Liberals led by Stephane Dion are in a virtual tie in public support. The Grits, with 33 per cent of the decided vote, were up two points from a previous poll conducted March 4-6. The Tories remained at 35 per cent.

If men vastly favour the Cons, and women are divided, or as Don as, “in a dead heat” then why aren’t the Cons way ahead? Why are they tied? Is there some third sex out there with massive Liberal support I’m not aware of?

If anyone with an Ipsos subscription out there could share the raw numbers on female support I’d appreciate it. The last numbers from Nanos (SES) I could find with a gender breakdown are from November, and they had decided voters at men C40.1 to L30.9, and women L37.6 to C30.6.

Anyway, moving on from the incomplete numbers and Don’s ignoring of salient but inconvenient to his premise points, I will grant him men do tend to favour the Conservatives. Let’s move on to why Don thinks this is.

Besides Stephane Dion’s overall wimpiness compared to Stephen Harpers, *cough*, rugged masculinity, it’s the Liberal platform says Don:
The party platform is not expected to be much of a male magnet either, specifically a focus on fighting homelessness, enhancing daycare, boosting education tax advantages and imposing emission caps on greenhouse gas producers.

Is he serious with this crap? Yeah, I’m a guy and I agree, fighting homelessness is so girly and feminine. Enhancing daycare? Take off the dress Doris! Education and the environment? Who cares! Get back in the kitchen and make me a pie while I go scratch myself and watch football.

But the Conservative platform, says Don. It’s enough to make a man chug a six pack, belch, and pass out on the couch after beating-up some nerds:
The Conservative alternative practically oozes testosterone -- boosted military spending for Afghanistan, reasserted northern sovereignty and tax cuts with specific benefits targeted at male-dominated trucking and trades.
Yeah, guns make stuff go boom! And only men drive trucks or work in the trades. Manly men. (Not to be confused with Manley men). Men’s men. Why, it’s a veritable stereotype jamboree from our friend Don.

I will give Don one point:
To have any hope of recapturing 'Y' chromosomes, Liberal insiders admit they'll need to successfully attack Mr. Harper on the government's ethical and economic shortcomings.

This is true. And given the laundry list of Conservative flip-floppery on maters ethical that should be easy. And Dion does need to get tougher. Kicking some ass in Quebec would be a good place to start.

Maybe some photo-ops with his dog. After all, Harper is a cat person. To lapse into lame Don Martin-like generalizations, dogs are manly pets. They practically ooze testosterone. Cats are girly and lame, eww. Men won’t support a cat guy.

But seriously, he glosses over Harper’s challenge though:
The key to a majority mandate for the Conservatives is to win over Metro Toronto women, Mr. Bricker notes...

Yeah, good luck with that one Steve. Not just women, but Toronto women? Just keep telling everyone Ontario sucks, keep reducing female clout in your cabinet, and keep ignoring female priorities and you’ll be fine.

I'm sure in some future column Don will devote some column inches to Steve's challenges there...

UPDATE: Thank-you to mrvnmouse in the comments for providing the numbers for female support, which are:

Women Con/Lib/NDP - 29/38/15

So, when Don says "Conservatives in a dead heat with Liberals among women voters nationwide" he means a nine-point Liberal lead. A dead heat Don, really? I see now why you didn't include those actual numbers in your piece.

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MrvnMouse said...

I have a subscription, here are the numbers for women/men. (All in %)

Women Con/Lib/NDP - 29/38/15
Men Con/Lib/NDP - 41/28/10

18-34 Con/Lib/NDP - 24/33/15
35-54 Con/Lib/NDP - 35/33/14
55+ Con/Lib/NDP - 44/35/9

So there you go.

ch said...

Without the age groups broken down by gender, one can't say anything about women by age. Is that all the information there is? Interesting how Liberal support is so constant with age.

MarkCh said...

In fairness, that story was the first one I have heard with that point of view. It seems that, most of the time the gender gap issue is discussed, the perspective is the Conservatives' problems with women voters.

RuralSandi said...

I guess people like Ghandi, Bill Gates, etc. would be hated by conservatives because they are not manly enough.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's because women don't like being spoken down to by paternalists.

I've been a lifelong Liberal and nothing can change that. But I'm not a woman. Most women I know are either NDP or Liberal. Only one of them is Conservative and she's a Stepford wife.

skdadl said...

Nice dissection of Martin, BCer. And thanks for getting the full stats out, too.

I realize that I'm more an anecdote than raw data, but I'm a 62-yr-old woman and, like every contemporary I can think of, I'd open a vein before I'd vote for Harper.

Jay said...


I had a stepford wife working for me. She despises EI, yet she was on a EI work project when I hired her temporarily. I never in my life had to deal with such a self defeating person. To make it worse, she then started temping on EI and never reported it and kept showing up here to ensure her EI/entitlements were never severed. She was also religious, most likely believed in supply side Jesus.

Gus said...

I read the article yesterday and thought that something wasn't adding up.

Well written post. I espeically liked "I’m a guy and I agree, fighting homelessness is so girly and feminine."

Unknown said...

I liked that you said "I'm sure in some future column Don will devote some column inches to Steve's challenges there..."

I know you meant challenges with Toronto women, but the way the sentence was worded made it sound like Steve's challenges with, um, inches. If y' know what I mean.

Jeff said...

Marckch, true, there was the Greg Weston column that took another approach, claiming women and Ontarioins are twits for supporting the Liberals.

Wilson, if you like double entendres, you'll love this one from Martin's piece:

Ipsos-Reid president Darrell Bricker notes that the traditional softness of male support for the Liberals has drooped to an alarmingly flaccid state since Mr. Dion became party leader 16 months ago.

Gayle said...

"Most women I know are either NDP or Liberal. Only one of them is Conservative and she's a Stepford wife."

That is one reason why I would not support the cons. Any party that draws its support from stepford wives and REAL women holds no attraction for me.

Anonymous said...

The National Post only has to run half the story. The other half is what gets published in the Toronto Star and the Globe & Mail.