Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Morning Links

Assorted material for your Friday reading.

- The latest in great polling news: EKOS has the NDP building on its previous support levels, making 30% nationally and 40% in Quebec into the new normal. Nanos suggests the highest NDP vote share yet at 31%, with the possibility of moving much higher if the party can break a statistical tie with the Libs in Ontario. And CROP has the NDP winning multiple seats from the Cons' Quebec base in Quebec City, and even reaching a dead heat in the Louis-Saint-Laurent riding where Josee Verner has previously won up to 58% of the vote.

- Chris Cobb offers an explanation for the NDP's orange crush:
(T)he pundits all underestimated the Tao of Jack and his Walking Stick — the crutch that has become a Churchillian-like symbol brandished with increased frequency in Layton's public battles against his political enemies.
"He struck an emotional chord just by the way he faced up to his setbacks and went about his work. He appeared in the House of Commons after his hip surgery and showed he was a fighter. People developed an emotional relationship with him that wasn't there before."
Crucially, added Gauthier, the walking stick has helped Layton differentiate himself from other leaders, especially Stephen Harper.

"In many ways, he has become the foil to Harper," he said. "His body language is different, his appearance is different, and his voice and language is different.

"You have one leader (Layton) reaching into crowds and talking to people versus another whose handlers have barricaded him. The contrast in image between the two is quite remarkable."
- All of which helps to explain why it's being noted that the Cons can't beat the NDP on personality. (Though the Cons' efforts to avoid demonstrating any may have something to do with that as well.)

- Meanwhile, John Geddes highlights an Innovative Research poll to the effect that the NDP has done nothing but bolster its standing both on individual issues and on general appeal to the middle class:
Early in the election, 31 per cent rated the Conservatives “somewhat better” or “much better” for the middle class, 25 per cent preferred the Liberals, and 23 per cent the NDP. By the Easter long weekend, the Tories were down slightly to 29 per cent, the Liberals off about five points to 20 per cent, and Layton’s NDP up a very substantial 10 point to 33 per cent—vaulting into top spot.
On impressions of Layton’s underlying attributes, Quebecers also seem to have warmed to him the most. On which leader they associate with “strong leadership,” Layton’s score rose to 31 per cent in Quebec from 14 per cent near the start of the campaign. In the rest of Canada, the climb was to 22 per cent from 14 per cent. Similarly, Layton’s image on attributes like “having the best plan” and “caring about people like me” rose smartly in Canada as a whole, but more markedly in Quebec.

When it came to probing voter attitudes on specific issues, the NDP made big gains during the campaign on protecting the middle class—a major thrust of Latyon’s stump-speech rhetoric and his party’s TV ads—and on understanding the needs of “people like me,” maintaining high ethical standards, and health care.
- The Star offers a pre-endorsement of its own, rightly concluding that the Cons shouldn't receive another term in government.

- And finally, as many others have noted, Peter Russell goes much further in condemning the Harper Cons for their belief that Parliamentary crime pays:

[Edit: Added Nanos result.]

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