Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Liberal gain small, better than a loss...

By Jane Taber, Globe and Mail, January 25, 2012
Although the Conservatives and NDP are still number one and number two, the Grits are creeping up – the Abacus poll has the Harper Conservatives with the support of 37 per cent of voters compared to the NDP with 28 per cent support and the Liberals at 21 per cent.

The Abacus numbers, meanwhile, are similar to those in the Angus Reid online public opinion poll, released Tuesday. It has the Conservatives at 39 per cent compared to the NDP with 28 per cent and the Liberals at 22 per cent support. Again, the Angus Reid poll shows the Liberals increasing their support at the expense of the NDP.
This new poll also shows that Mr. Rae’s personal popularity is increasing. When asked for a favourable or unfavourable impression of the major leaders, 28 per cent of respondents said they had a favourable impression of Mr. Rae. This is up from 25 per cent in December and 20 per cent in August.
Abacus:            Conservatives 37%; NDP 28%; Liberals 21%
Angus Reid:      Conservatives 39%; NDP 28%; Liberals 22%
Favourable impression for Mr. Rae: 25% up from 20 in December.
The headline to the Taber piece in the Globe and Mail reads:  "The Bob Rae Bounce: Liberals continue to gain steam"
Unfortunately, if this were really a steam engine, and it were gaining speed at this rate, people would be gladly climbing down those steps into the snow, as it crept along into the night. While it is true that in politics, a week is a long time, a month a lifetime and two years an eon, nevertheless, while the numbers are moving in the right direction, anyone calculating how to invest money in political futures, or even in party memberships would have to take a very deep breath, and a very long walk in the February snow before signing a cheque to support the Liberal Party's "steam gaining" evidence.
Harper is giving the party a smorgasbord of succulent political issues on which to chew and then to pounce on his party's policies, ideology and the apparent absence of political and professional competence of his cabinet.
The NDP is quietly enjoying its moveable feast of leadership debates, where everyone agrees with everyone else, and does it all so politely and delicately. Where is John Rodriguez and his ilk from the Ontario wing of the NDP?
However, the Liberals missed a huge opportunity to ride the national tidal wave from a Sheila Copps election as party president. That, along with the popularity and media access to Mr Rae would have been a 1-2 punch, while former Cabinet ministers were recruited for national speaking engagements, town halls and op-eds. And then, as the campaigns for leader began, the announcement of potential and confirmed candidates could have, once again, swelled both the coffers and the registry of memberships for the party.
And, co-incidentally, policy papers, positions papers and research summaries could have been flowing from both the research department and from the universities, all with the goal of an integrated policy AND leadership convention prior to the next election.
It will take at least one million more memberships to render the Liberal Party a viable player in the next election, and with barely two million Canadians in total carrying memberships in all political parties, that is a very steep hill to climb and the engine will have to generate a lot more "steam" to get to the top....many are still hoping that the party will be like the "little engine that could"....

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