Friday, January 13, 2006

Allan Gregg, Attack Ads, and Liberal So-Cons

This will be a pot-pourri election entry.

1) I've said it before, but it bears repeating - seat count projections based on national or provincial polling data are bunk. Today's piece in The Globe and Mail about Allan Gregg's seat projections prove that point admirably. Eight Conservative seats in Quebec?!? Where, pray tell?? Even the Conservatives are praying for three at best. And no Liberals off Montreal island? I doubt the collapse in the Outaouais has been that bad. Even more startling is the prediction that the Liberals will only hold four seats outside of the GTA in Ontario. There are more Liberal safe seats than that in Eastern Ontario alone, where the Conservatives are expected to do very well - let alone the rest of the province, especially the north where the NDP and Liberals usually split the pot. Unless you're looking at riding-by-riding profiles, there is no point in making seat projections.

2) While I think that the "soldiers in our streets" ad was ill-advised, I'm not convinced that some of the others won't work for the Liberals. The direct quotes they are taking from Harper are more useful than the newspaper quotes damning Martin being used by the Conservative ads. And it's hard for the Conservatives to fight back by quoting Martin and his so-con caucus members (Hello Dan McTeague), because they can't criticize the policies of their base. The NDP, on the other hand, would be well advised to start hauling out choice quotes from Martin et al. if they want to prove that "Liberal minority = Conservative minority". Of course, there is something to be said for staying above the fray and remaining positive. But we still haven't seen the exodus of soft-NDP votes yet, and I think it's on the way.

3) Speaking of social conservative Liberals, Chantal Hebert is right (I say that so often here, it's become one of my mantras, like "Paul Wells has a brilliant piece." I suppose it's better than Paul Martin's verbal tics like "This is very, very, very important." But I digress...) when she points out Martin's hypocrisy in calling for the abolition of the notwithstanding clause in order to block social conservative initiatives while allowing a host of social conservatives to run under the Liberal banner.

What I find entirely too depressing is the fact that even after the election, barring an annihilation of the Liberals tantamount to the Conservative Party in 1993, many of their socially conservative members will survive the election. Far too many of the "god squad" are from urban ridings in the GTA - like Dan McTeague, Tom Wappel, Derek Lee, and Paul Szabo. As one of the commentors on Idealistic Pragmatist's blog points out, we could even end up in the awful situation with a Conservative or Liberal minority, but a socially conservative majority.

And on that dreary prospect, I will let you, my friendly readership, dwell for the day.

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