Saturday, December 11, 2010

On new destinations

It's fair enough to note - as Susan Delacourt does - that Stephen Harper and other opposition leaders have often been unpopular with the general public before forming government. But it's worth highlighting the fact that even based on the example she uses, there's one aspect of Michael Ignatieff's level of unpopularity that sets him apart from past examples who have managed to turn around their political fortunes.

Here's the full text of the "Majority wants Harper replaced" article referred to in her post. And what does it have to say about Harper's standing within his own party?
Although Mr. Harper's leadership has not been widely questioned internally, the poll found unease among Canadians generally. It also found that 37 per cent of those who consider themselves Conservative voters believe there should be a change at the top.
In other words, even at his apparent worst, Harper still didn't have to worry about more than about a third of his base thinking they were better off with another leader. Which makes for a significant contrast with Ignatieff's situation, in which somewhere between a plurality and an outright majority of his own party's supporters want him gone.

In contrast, Harper has apparently managed to consolidate his control over the Cons since then, even as he's gone out of his way to alienate a significant majority of voters outside his own party.

So the big difference for Ignatieff isn't so much antipathy among the general public (which is at a fairly similar level as that for Harper and Martin in the polls being discussed) as the fact that his failure to stand for much of anything has left him lacking for defenders even within his own party. And that means that unlike his predecessors, he figures to face a serious lack of advocates when it's time to start changing minds in the next election campaign.

[Edit: added labels.]

No comments:

Post a Comment