Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday Afternoon Links

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- Yes, the top story in EKOS' polling update is that the NDP's vote has stabilized in a solid second place nationally. But while not much has changed from the weekend's results, let's note that there is one interesting difference: the NDP managed to pick up even more ground in possible second-choice support, giving it a stunning 54.4% of voters rating the party as their first or second choice.

And based on the campaign so far, there's little reason to think that at least a few more of those potential supporters won't turn into actual ones by election day. (Needless to say, this includes the brouhaha over potentially revisiting Canada's constitution at some point in the future - which was apparently never seen as a big enough deal to interfere with Stephen Harper's path to power.)

- Meanwhile, Bruce Anderson explains why the NDP may have managed to catch its opponents by surprise:
(I)n my view a lot of people who aren't normally consumed with politics are looking at the NDP with fresh eyes, as it occupies centre stage in the last days of this election campaign. What do they perceive?

First, a leader with a passionate, friendly, easy manner. A guy who knows his way around a Tim Hortons and looks like he would draw a crowd to his table over a double-double.

They’d hear him say politics has too much mud-slinging and not enough progress on things that count for average folks. They’d listen to him go on about wanting to work with other people and parties, about hiring more doctors and nurses, “rewarding job creators,” “strengthening your pension” and “making your life a little more affordable.” The language is not that of class warfare, and the goals don’t sound weirdly utopian. These voters might compare Mr. Layton’s pitch with the urgings of Stephen Harper to avoid a coalition, to cut taxes, to strengthen law and order. Or the entreaties of Michael Ignatieff to rise up in defense of our democracy. The NDP themes might well compare favourably, as far as themes go.
- The Star rightly notes that a non-vote effectively serves as a vote for both the status quo and vote suppression, both of which play entirely into the Cons' hands:
This time, too, apathy is likely to amount to a vote by default for the Conservatives. That’s because large numbers of disengaged and alienated voters lean to Jack Layton’s New Democrats or to the Liberals. Those who opt not to vote risk becoming enablers of the Conservative victory that Harper claims is in the bag.

After five years of hyperpartisan, divisive minority government, the last thing Canadians need is to end up with a Tory majority by default because people couldn’t be bothered to turn out. As Harper himself observed on the weekend, “voters are never supposed to give absolute trust to anybody.”
The Conservatives don’t deserve to coast home again on a wave of voter apathy. Canadians should rouse themselves on Monday to cast judgment on Harper’s governance since 2006, and on the opposition parties’ competing visions. The country’s future is worth that much.
- But fortunately, there's little reason to think the Cons will get what they're after. And in the latest sign of desperation, Saskatchewan's Cons have followed up on their vacant house strategy with a short-lived attempt to use Saskatchewan's legislative buildings as a billboard.

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