Monday, July 07, 2008

Slim Liberal lead on the environment

On Sunday I wrote that the Conservatives were trying to shift the Green Shift debate from the environment to the economy because the former is a weakness for them and the latter a strength, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t present these numbers from Nanos on the environment question released Monday:

Question: Which federal party do you trust most to manage the following issues?
The environment
Liberals - 21%
Conservatives - 18%
NDP - 14%
Bloc - 3%
Greens - 13%
None - 16%
Unsure - 16%

And commentary from Nanos:
The poll shows a statistical tie between the Liberals and the Conservatives for trust on the enviroment. Of note, even with the launch of the Liberal “Green Shift Plan” the Liberals did not enjoy a significant advantage over the Conservatives on the environment.

Interesting numbers, and a little disappointing for the Liberals. Clearly we have some work to do, and with none and unsure totaling 32 per cent there are a lot of people on the fence waiting to be wooed. And frankly, if we can frame and sell this Green Shift right, with an actual plan we have a better chance of wooing those people than the Cons do with their “tax on everything” rhetoric but then, as discussed previously, the Cons aren’t trying on this category.

Rather, they and the NDP with their similar anti-shift rhetoric, are trying to blow-up the Liberal numbers on this issue. I’d argue those attacks contribute to the high none/unsure numbers, although dissatisfaction with the Liberal environment record in office (which I could defend somewhat but that’s another post) also makes it a little tougher for us to convince Canadians we’re serious this time, leaving people to sit on the fence here.

Despite the “statistical tie” as Nanos calls it, I think we’re best positioned here, IF we can convince Canadians that a) we’re serious this time and b) this is the right plan. The Cons aren’t going to move much here, particularly since they’re not trying. The NDP has been trying, and this is an area they’d expect to be strong. But they’re four back of the Cons and just one up on the Greens here. I think their opposition to a carbon shift while backing cap and trade, which is also part of a Liberal plan, has the potential to move some NDP support to the Liberals here. Some of their traditional green allies are confused.

Lastly though, I’d really like to see the regional breakdowns of these numbers. The PDF with the breakdowns hasn’t been posted on the Nanos site yet. As I noted Sunday with the economic numbers, high Conservative numbers in Alberta (and a little less in Quebec) made their lead on the economic question management seem higher than it was. It will be interesting to see how the environment question breaks-down across Canada.

Other numbers

Today’s release included two other issues that weren’t released previously, FYI:
National Unity
Liberals - 29%
Conservatives - 25%
NDP - 8%
Bloc - 4%
Greens - 2%
None - 17%
Unsure - 17%

Liberals - 25%
Conservatives - 23%
NDP - 14%
Bloc - 4%
Greens - 1%
None - 17%
Unsure - 16%

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wilson said...

The rest of the story:

Jobs and the economy

Conservatives - 32%
Liberals - 24%
NDP - 8%
Bloc - 3%
Greens - 1%
None - 16%
Unsure - 16%

The War in Afghanistan

Conservatives - 28%
Liberals - 22%
NDP - 8%
Bloc - 3%
Greens - 2%
None - 20%
Unsure - 18%

Jeff said...

Which I talked about yesterday, and were released previously.

Mark Richard Francis said...

Here's where the Libs need to do work: The environment issue before us is an economic issue, because, fundamentally, over-reliance on oil is costing us economically.

Both the conservatives and the NDP want to do only cap-and-trade, without any financial relief for consumers. (Well, the NDP would do something, but they'd have to raise taxes to find the cash.) One of the problems with cap-and-trade is that in commodifying carbon emissions, you never quite know what the price of those emissions will be. In Europe, it hit $100/tonne.

The Green Shift will get us down the emissions-reduction road sooner, and when we get into cap-and-trade, esp. internationally, we will be better situated competitively.

I see that the ongoing myth that conservatives are good with money continues. Harper is spending like a drunk.

I will try to get around to dissecting the other parties' plans this week.

Geekwad said...

The numbers are strange until you realize that a lot of people don't think anything needs to be done, and even get angry at the idea that it does. After all, that's what their role models do.

Mike514 said...

21% support the Libs on the environment?

There's something fishy there. If the Libs are (let's say) at 30% in the polls, that means 1 out of every 3 Lib supporters doesn't trust their own party on the environment.

I guess re-distribution of the undecideds brings it up to about 30%. But it's all a little strange to me.

Oldschool said...

Canadians are just dumb enough to vote for the tax-me-more-party!!!
Heard it said the other day, if everyone got on board for the next ten years and acutally reduced CO2 emissions by 10% and a cost of Trillions of Dollars, we could lower the temperature of the Globe by .003 Degrees. And you thought last winter was cold.
But at least with Dion's plan, fewer people will have to go out in the cold . . . most will be out of work!!!

Demosthenes said...

I'd say that one of the better reasons to believe these numbers is that the Conservatives seem to have no lack of willing (and possibly compensated) stooges spamming the entire Internet with their agitprop.

As for the environmental numbers, well, think about it. That 18% is almost certainly that segment of the population that believes that the Conservatives are better at everything. They can't be shifted, can't be touched, they're almost certainly better off ignored.

(Or even mocked, if it gets you votes from friendlier sources. Mocking the far left is common enough fodder for Conservatives, and turnabout goes both ways.)

The low numbers outside of the crazy 18 is likely because you've got one "social conscience" party in the NDP that are probably more trusted to actually follow through on promises since they're unlikely to get elected, and another party that has [i]built its platform around green issues[/i]. It's going to be a bit tricky to convince people that the Liberals--a party that doesn't even seem to really like policy much--is willing to bet itself on anything, much less the environment.

But hey, that's where Dion's strong, right? He's not your typical "slippery Liberal", focused on the next election and vote-rich constituencies. For better or worse, he's cut from different cloth.

JimBobby said...

Mark Francis said...

Here's where the Libs need to do work: The environment issue before us is an economic issue, because, fundamentally, over-reliance on oil is costing us economically.

JimBobby sez:

Here's where the Libs need to do work: The environment issue before us is a healthcare issue, because, fundamentally, over-reliance on oil is polluting the air and contributing to "bad air days" that kill 9000 Canadians in ON and QC every year. It's costing us economically, for sure.

For each premature death, there's is an exponential number of emergency room visits and follow-up doctors' visits. The cost of a dirty environment is in the billions. More importantly, a dirty environment is responsible for the unnecessary suffering and death of thousands of Canadians.


Jeff said...

Mark, I made much the same point, though less eloquently, the other day. And as JimBobby says too with an excellent point, it's also a health issue. It's all interconnected.

Mike, similar points could be made with all the numbers, and for most of the parties. Some Cons, for example, don't trust them on the war. While it can be fun at times, there's probably not too much value directly comparing issue numbers to horserace numbers, unless there are wide gaps, and then only I think if broken down further: ie., if a certain % of those identified as Lib supporters don't trust the party, or trust another, on a certain issue. I find the issue numbers useful for in isolation, who is trusted more where and on what, and what the spreads are.