Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On non-confidence votes

As usual, any discussion of Michael Ignatieff's future needs to be prefaced with caveats about there being no mechanism for the Libs to change leadership until past the next election, about there being little prospect of another leader winning much more internal support, about how the inevitable Con ad blitz would affect anybody, et cetera.

But all that aside, it's rather stunning that after a summer spent trying to cultivate a partisan base, Ignatieff's leadership is this unpopular among his own party:
Half of respondents to The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey say the Conservatives need to replace Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

And 64 per cent say the Liberals need to replace Michael Ignatieff.

Harper at least enjoys solid support among those who identify themselves as Conservatives: 74 per cent say they don’t need a new leader.

By contrast, 59 per cent of Liberals want Ignatieff to go.
What's particularly astonishing is the lack of any meaningful difference between Lib partisans and the general public in wanting to see Ignatieff gone: among both the general public and Lib supporters, roughly 6 in 10 respondents apparently want a change of leadership.

At best, one can try to paint that remarkable similarity as partly the result of other parties' supporters wanting to see Ignatieff stay in place (so that the level of actual support for Iggy would still be higher within the Libs themselves). But that explanation hardly offers a vote of confidence for Ignatieff's ability to inspire either his own side to make gains, or supporters of other parties to join him. And one has to wonder whether the Libs will see a need to find a way to get rid of Ignatieff if even a majority of their own supporters don't think he's up for the job.

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