Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Liberals In Big Trouble In BC, Ontario, Quebec - Part II

The Truth Hurts: Canadian Political Blog
The Liberals are in big trouble (for Part I of this article click here, for Part II click here). The daily seat forecaster is now calculating a Conservative minority government (see link in left column). Here is what is most likely happening:

Ontario:
Boy, Ontario. The Liberals still have a hold on the province in terms of seats, even though they are essentially tied with the Conservatives in the polls. But there are now Liberal wastelands and some serious red flags in other areas (I am sure I could have come up with a good pun about 'red' flags).

In eastern Ontario, including Ottawa, the Liberals are likely getting decimated. The Reform party's first breakthrough in Ontario was here, and now the Conservatives are laying waste to most of the Liberal support left. Southwestern Ontario is really two areas: urban and rural. The Conservatives already dominated the rural area after the last election except for the riding of Huron-Bruce - and no matter how bad the Liberals fall in Ontario the MP there will be the last Liberal standing. But the urban area of the southwest is Liberal country, with pockets of NDP. The Liberals will still do very well here, but the Conservatives are going to win some seats in this urban area. And that is a good breakthrough for them. In the 905 belt my numbers show only a slight improvement for the Conservatives at this point, but the Liberals are clinging onto many ridings by the skin of their teeth. Liberal 905 is like a house of cards waiting to be blown over.

Toronto remains a Liberal powerhouse. However, the NDP will be making a very good breakthrough there. And even the Conservatives have an outside chance of a seat. One seat does not mean a whole lot for the national numbers (though remember it was one vote that saved the Martin budget last spring). However, the Conservatives should not be competitive anywhere in Toronto and now they have a chance at a seat.

Northern Ontario remains up for grabs in many ridings. The NDP are weak in a couple of them, but the rest can be won by any of the three parties.

Negative Advertising:
First I have to say to all those Conservatives who have been saying these are not negative ads because they are true - get real! If I called you ugly and stupid I am still being negative even if you are ugly and stupid. Negative political ads convince you to vote for a party for negative reasons, and positive ads for positive reasons. The latest round of Conservative ads only have negative reasons. But guess what? As I predicted, they are working. Negative ads are a powerful tool and can easily backfire. These particular ads are very effective because of their message but also because of the timing. Had there not been an RCMP investigation going on I think undecided voters would have thought these ads were over-the-top. But the investigation has created a context to these ads that make them more acceptable. Plus, the Liberal war room let it leak that they would go negative. The Conservatives brilliantly played up that message so that when they launched their own negative ads the public was at least partially conditioned to think it was only fair game. So once you eliminate the potential of the ads backfiring all that is left is the Conservative's message: the Liberals are dirty, rotten scoundrels - throw the bastards out. If the Liberals do not fight back with their own negative ads these ads are going to kill them.