Monday, January 09, 2006

Latest Decima Poll & Tonight's Debate

The Truth Hurts: Canadian Political Blog
The latest Decima poll is confirming that the Conservatives have pulled in front of the Liberals. More to the point, the public has had time to absorb the apparent likihood of a Conservative government and the Conservatives are not losing support nor are the NDP moving to the Liberals. I have included the Ontario and Quebec results of the Decima poll in the seat forecaster (the results from the other regions have not yet been released).

Here is what to expect from the various leaders during tonights debate:

Paul Martin:
Expect Martin to highlight his leadership experience over the others. His numbers have been dropping in that area and he needs to convince the public he is the best leader. Expect him to mention quite a bit about families. Also expect a great deal of talk about how we need to keep a progressive and caring Canada, which will be code for, "NDP supporters: if you do not want the Conservatives you have to vote for us." Finally, Martin has to deliver a knock out blow to Harper. Anything short of that almost certainly means he effectively loses the debate.

Stephen Harper:
His most important goal of the debate is not to look scary. Win or lose, if he can come out of the debate with that accomplishment then he is one step closer, and likely heading to, 24 Sussex Drive. In order to keep and gain more of the protest vote I think you will also see Harper remind Canadians a few times that the NDP supported the Liberal government for several months - with the idea being how can the NDP now say the Liberals are corrupt after having supported them in government for several months.

Jack Layton:
Layton has the difficult task of making a Conservative goverment look too scary so that the protest vote will go to the NDP but not so scary that the NDP vote goes to the Liberals. However, I think Layton should give up trying to walk this thin line. His numbers have held reasonably well in the midst of a Conservative rise so he should he should take a gamble and go after both the Liberals and Conservatives whenever and as hard as he can.

Gilles Ducceppe:
While the audience of the debate tonight will mostly be english speaking Canadians, the media coverage of the debate tonight will be in english and french. So, I think both tonight and tomorrow night Ducceppe is going to: 1) avoid any major confrontations with Harper so as not to give him any higher profile in Quebec; and, 2) portray the Conservatives as far right wing (and I would not be surprised if he throws in an American reference with that). I have said for several days now that the Conservatives are a potential threat to the Bloc in Quebec. The Liberals have a ceiling in Quebec that they cannot break. So the Bloc would much rather see the Liberals do the best they can in Quebec than the Conservatives, since the Conservatives ceiling is probably much higher. With that in mind, Duceppe may ease up on their attacks of Martin tonight and tomorrow night.