Aug. 1, 2019

We're living in an eternity now, anything can happen in 80 days

We’ve got less than three months to go before we select the next federal government, for the traditional four-year term.

About three months ago it was all over, the Conservatives were accepted as having it in the bag and the Liberals were going to be severely punished by the voters. That’s what the polls said at that point, largely a reaction to the SNC Lavalin scandal and numerous other Justin Trudeau faux pas.

In politics three months is an eternity. Those polls have turned around dramatically in that short period. I rely on the Calculated Politics aggregation of dozens of differing polls across Canada. Many of the individual polls are commissioned by the parties themselves and usually report what a particular party wants to hear.

In May it was the Conservatives inching toward a minority government, with the Liberals being taught a lesson. Now as of July 25, the Liberals and Conservatives are in a mathematical dead heat, but the seat count now favours the Liberals to win a minority government with 151 seats, compared to 135 for the Conservatives. The NDP would get 33 seats and the Greens four seats, picking up two extra seats on Vancouver Island. For daydreamers, that creates a couple of scenarios for either party to take power, with the help of the NDP. In B.C. we know all about how that works.

(UPDATED AUG 2 - Liberal 158, Conservatives 140, NDP 24 and Green 5)

338Canada.com has very similar figures, showing Liberals and Conservatives in a dead heat.

Nationally, the Consevative stumble out of the starting gate has been a real disappointment to some supporters, and fingers are pointing at leader Andrew Scheer that he’s too Liberal-like, merely cloning the Liberal platform – Tudeau lite.

What many Conservatives had been counting on was a bombastic storming of the ramparts in this campaign, not unlike Donald Trump and Rob Ford who won elections with that approach. Their success was well rooted in voters wanting a butt kicker in power, enough of swamp of politics, but so far the be-nice approach is not working. Politics is a dirty game. So far, Scheer has not put on his kicking boot, if he has one. Just keep in mind, 80 days can be an eternity in politics. The countdown is under way.

In the over-all picture, it doesn't matter what we think, Ontario and Quebec call the shots.

FOR LOCAL FOLLOWERS, there has been little movement in poll support from the May byelection returns, with Paul Manly and the Green Party a virtually sure bet with 35 per cent support. Where it gets interesting is that the the NDP has moved into second place at 26 per cent and the Conservatives locally have dropped a couple of points since May, slipping to 22 per cent support while Liberal support in Nanaimo has also lagged, sitting at 13 per cent which is up two from May.

Putting that into perspective, Manly got 37.3 per cent on election night while the Conservatives got 24.8 per cent and the NDP 23.1 per cent. In other words, a three-per-cent swap between the Conservatives and the NDP and a two per cent gain for the Liberals, from the Greens.