Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tories and the polls

While the Liberal lead over the Tories appears to be stable, 35% to 26%, an article in the Globe and Mail caught my eye yesterday. A poll apparently shows that 59% of Canadians want Stephen Harper replaced. 37% of those calling themselves Conservatives want Harper out. The same poll indicates that 52% want Paul Martin replaced too. But what does any of this mean?

I'm OK with the part that suggests that a little over a third of Conservative sympathizers want Harper to go. That tells a story, although I'm not sure what the moral is. About two-thirds of the Conservative constituency still want to keep him, even after he fared worse than expected in the last election and spent all of his time fussing about same-sex marriage since. That’s actually pretty impressive, from one perspective. Even his Village People outfit didn’t seem to faze his base.

But I get distracted easily, and my attention soon ceased to be held by the cold, fish-eyed leader of the Conservative Party of Canada trying to make nice at barbecues and looking like a deer in the headlights. Instead, I began to wonder about polls.

59% of Canadians want him replaced. But if the 26% figure is right, then most of those who want him pitched aren’t supporters of his party anyway. So how does one interpret the answer to a question like that?

The mind races.

"As a life-long NDPer. I want Harper replaced. Definitely. Bring on Jim Pankiw. We need to pick up some seats in Ontario. Hell, we need to pick up some seats everywhere."

"I’m a Green, and I want Harper replaced. With Jim Harris. We need to broaden our base."

"As a Western Liberal, I'd favour replacing Harper with a Quebecker."

"J'suis bloquiste. Remplacez M. Harper par M. Martin--tous les anglais se ressemblent, câlisse."

I'm looking forward to the next such poll. Perhaps it can open with "Do you think the Liberal Party should be replaced?" I bet I know how the Harper folks would answer that one. In fact, I know how I'd answer it, too.

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