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KLRvu polling methodology update

Well, we’ve had quite a few of blogposts on the KLRvu pollsters and their polling numbers for Guelph throughout the blogosphere (including yours truly), and even one by David Akin looking at them. All this publicity no doubt thrills Allan Bruinooge, the head of the polling company, to no end.

I mentioned on Friday that I’d written the polling firm asking them of the 3396 households they polled in Guelph, how many of those refused to answer, hung up, etc. I received this response in email from Mr Bruinooge, and to be fair to him, I’ll quote his reply in full. He explains that the 3396 figure is the final […]

The anger in tobacco country is palpable towards the Conservatives

I’ve been seeing that anger in a lot of the local newspapers around here in the past month or 2, but it’s drawn enough attention to make it into today’s Toronto Star in an article entitled “Despair and anger in tobacco country”. This isn’t just about the tobacco farmers either being angry at the Cons. and Diane Finley – many in Caledonia, the site of the native protests – blame her and the Cons. for failing to resolve the issue:

For tobacco growers in southwestern Ontario, hope has turned to despair. Banks are foreclosing, marriages are dissolving and some growers have even taken their lives..What the tobacco farmers and the Caledonia residents have in common is anger, much of it directed toward their Haldimand-Norfolk MP – Conservative Diane Finley, immigration minister in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet. Caledonia residents feel Finley has abandoned them, while tobacco growers accuse her of failing to live up to her many promises to bring in an aid package that would allow them to turn to other crops or another way of life.

That anger is potentially deadly to Finley’s chances for re-election here:

“When she runs again, I am going to have a sign on my lawn that says `Never ever vote for this woman again.’ She’s useless. She’s done. She will never get back in here,” said Reid, 65, who blames having to take medication for elevated blood pressure on the two-year-old dispute.. His wife, Marg, 47, guessed that Finley’s chances of being re-elected are “nil.” About 150 farmers made a very public statement in March when they gathered outside Finley’s Simcoe office to express outrage over the absence of a buyout program. After ripping up their Conservative membership cards and a Finley lawn sign, they marched to the office of Dr. Eric Hoskins, the Liberal candidate, to fill out memberships for the federal Liberal party.”I have voted Conservative my whole (adult) life … but I feel very much that I have been led down the garden path,” Brian Baswick, 53, a tobacco farmer from the Delhi area… Dave Brown and his wife Dana live on the west side of the (Caledonia) development…”There are so many times when I sat here waiting for (Finley) to call me and the calls just never came. She does not deserve the position she’s in. She will absolutely not win the (next election). I will make sure of that,” said Brown..

And what has Finley offered in her defense? Nothing but excuses and threats:

The Toronto Star requested an interview with Finley but a spokesperson on her behalf said issues involving agriculture and native affairs were not her responsibility. “The minister is only the local MP and not the lead on either file,” wrote spokesperson Timothy Veil…Fearing for her own safety, she refused to attend a meeting in Delhi late last month with more than 1,000 tobacco farmers. But she did send a letter warning the farmers that if they launched a lawsuit against the federal government that “everything we are working on stops. Plain and simple.” She also chastised the farmers for their “negative messaging,” which she said was only jeopardizing a final exit plan, one which could entail Ottawa buying their tobacco quota

She chickened out of talking to her own constituents, not because she feared for her life, but because she knew she’d get booed off the stage if she showed up, and she didn’t want any more bad publicity.  To top it off, she then tried to intimidate the farmers into silence.  These are farmers that have seen their farms foreclosed, themselves forced into bankruptcy, and they’re supposed to take this lying down?

Between this and Caledonia, I think this line in the paper is the most apt to describe Finley’s plight:

When Finley first entered politics – she defeated former agriculture minister Bob Speller in the June 2004 election that returned Paul Martin’s Liberals with a minority – she often accused the government of over-promising and under-delivering. Those words are coming back to haunt her.

I believe that Norfolk is one rural riding you will see switch back to the Liberals when the election is finally called. I don’t think even if by some chance a buyout is finally agreed to, that the farmers will forgive Finley for her perceived inaction and lack of empathy for the farming community. Caledonia and area residents certainly won’t over her perceived inaction on the native standoff.  I think this is one riding where local issues will far overshadow national ones.

That could also be the case in Oxford, if it were brought up more. I also think that this is a wedge issue that the Liberal Candidate in Oxford, Martha Dennis, could and should  be using more against Conservative MP Dave Mackenzie, as there are a fair number of tobacco farmers in this riding as well. She may very well be doing so in her campaigning, but I’ve seen nothing in the local papers around here from her attacking Mackenzie’s failure to help get a buyout package for the tobacco farmers in his riding. I believe she needs to get more press exposure for herself on this issue and pressure Mr Mackenzie on this issue.

You should understand that Oxford County is a very blue riding and only seems to vote Liberal when the Liberals do Chretien-style landslides in the province.  I’m not sure this issue would tip this riding to the Liberals, but it sure would make Mackenzie feel a tad uncomfortable having to defend to farmers why he’s been no better then Finley at securing a buyout compensation package for tobacco farmers to help them turn to alternate crops and preserve their way of life and income.

Another poll…

….another deadlock:

The survey, administered March 18-20 by Ipsos Reid, showed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives and the Liberals led by Stéphane 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. The New Democratic Party moved down two points to 13 per cent, and the Green party had eight-per-cent support, down one point. Seven per cent of Canadians were undecided.

With the polls remaining close, you must wonder why Jim Flaherty and the Conservatives continues their unprecedented assault on Ontario and its Budget plans. In a deadlocked country, it should be rather obvious that you need to keep your Ontario seats to retain power, and expand them to get a majority. Continuing to diss Ontario when 2/3 of those polled here say they pick Mcguinty’s view over Flaherty’s (knowing full well how much of a disaster he was when he was Ontario finance minister) puts you at risk of losing most of your suburbia seats here.

Perhaps the Flaherty/Harper strategy is that they feel bashing Ontario will get them votes and make up seats elsewhere – but I have my doubts that strategy will work. The other reasoning is they’re trying to make McGuinty’s government a scapegoat for the economic downturn that is coming that won’t be helped by their failed federal policies — that probably makes more sense to me. The Conservatives have invested in blaming everyone else but themselves for problems that have popped up during their tenure, so this would follow that pattern

Liberals take lead in Nanos Research Poll (formerly SES)

For those who didn’t know, SES Research changed their name to Nanos Research – which kind of makes sense, considering it’s Nik Nanos who runs the firm. At any rate, his firm released a new poll, and it confirms the Decima poll from a week ago that shows the Cons. have slumped into 2nd place:

Canada (N=841, MoE ± 3.4%, 19 times out of 20)

Liberal Party 33% (-1)
Conservative Party 31% (-4)
NDP 19% (+2)
BQ 10% (+1)
Green Party 8% (+2)

Interesting comment from Nik here on the Cons attempted portrayal on Stephane Dion as a weak leader:

Even though the Harper Tories have been merciless in their attacks on Stephane Dion, these attacks have not, over the past year yielded any political dividends in public opinion for the Tories. The reality is that the Tories are not fighting Dion…they are fighting the Liberal brand. In vote rich Ontario and also in Atlantic Canada, the Conservatives have never been able to surpass the Liberals in popular support over the past two years.

More evidence to the Liberal Nervous Nellies that there’s no reason to fear an election (I do believe from what I’ve been reading at Garth Turner’s blog that the attitude is hardening in the Liberal caucus  toward the Cons. and that more then less of the caucus want to go… but that may be just me).

Messages from the electorate.

I don’t know that I trust this type of survey any more then I trust online polling, but it does say something interesting that if people picked their preferred parliament, they end up giving no one a majority government, and they end up giving the Liberals a plurality of seats, with the NDP holding the balance of power and the Greens with substantial representation.

Two things I observe here: First, not exactly great news for the Liberals, but with Harper and his Cons. throwing everything (including the kitchen sink) at Stephane Dion and trying to portray him as a weak leader with all that money and all those attack ads, […]

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