Spring Election (or not) Speculation

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There are a couple problems with interpreting this sort of thing around here.

One is the number of people who are just itching for another opportunity to shit on the NDP.

And the other is that people find the very idea of electoral politics so distasteful that despite their general political savy, they have difficulty distinguishing serious proposals from pure positioning.

Layton quoted by Akins: 


"So to Mr. Harper and Mr. Ignatieff, I say: Surely, there are some practical things that we can accomplish together this spring. First of all, surely all parties can agree to strengthen people's guaranteed public pension . . . New Democrats are fighting to make sure stronger public pensions are part of the next budget. We're looking for practical steps here. Like a modest increase in the guaranteed Canada Pension Plan. And an increase to the GIS, so seniors can afford the everyday basics they need. With a little cooperation, we can get it done."

The Liberals realized that to maintain any credibility they absolutely have to vote the Budget down this time. But they made the mistake of blustering about it- we're going to take you down.

But most people- and virtually all swing voters- dislike that kind of attirude in todays climate. So Iggy doesnt look good for it, and they've had to backtrack, then backtrack from the backtrack.

The NDP knows voting for the Budget is super unlikely. And an election now is fine. So they dont have any of the strategic issues of the squeezed Liberals. But of course Layton isnt going to walk into the idiot bluster trap like Iggy. In fact, given Iggy's stupidity, he'll contrast the NDP.

"We'll look at it." And Layton names things the NDP wants, knows are popular, and would be considerable achievements with Harper in charge. So considerable, everybody knows hell will freeze over before Harper would offer any of that.


I'm not sure if today's poll increases or decreases the chance of a spring election. 

These kind of numbers would likely produce an NDP-Liberal Coalition government:

Angus-Reid Poll - Jan 9

Con: 34
Lib: 28
NDP: 17
BQ: 11
Grn: 8

Con: 38
Lib: 36
NDP: 16
Grn: 10

BQ: 43
Lib: 22
NDP: 15
Con: 13 (4th place)
Grn: 4

Con: 42
NDP: 25
Lib: 21
Grn: 11

Lib: 49
Con: 23
NDP: 10
Grn: 2

Con: 44
NDP: 36
Lib: 15
Grn: 5

Con: 65
NDP: 12
Lib: 11
Grn: 8


The regional numbers seem rather wonky, as I doubt the NDP are doing so poorly in Atlantic Canada or so well in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.


There are three things that would stop some kind of post-election governing agreement between the Liberals and the NDP. And only the last has anything to do with how well the Liberals do.

1.] A Conservative majority. Possible, but unlikely. So much so, thay they do not want an election. [See qualifier note below.]

2.] A deal with the Bloc. A deal with the NDP is possible in principle, but very unlikely in practice. The bloc has lower demands and very minimal credibility problems if they support the Budget [unlike the NDP]. [But see same note below on variant possibility.]

3] Either of those two obviously remove the possibility of a Lib/NDP governance. As long as there is an election, and no deal between the Cons and Bloc after as well as before the election, then the Libs can govern with the NDP. Unless- the Liberals do so poorly that they are thrown into a spiral and are unwilling to govern, even though the Cons do not have a majority.

The Liberals are not going to be unwilling in the way they were after the Coalition and prorogue fur fly. They are not as choosy any more. Just as entitled as ever, but reality has forced its way into the LPC. Not enough to come up with a winning strategy, but enough that given the alternatives they'll take the diminished chalice and govern with the NDP.

Unless the election results send them into a spiral. How bad the results would have to be depends somewhat on other factors, and just the 'mood in the room'. I wouldnt think that losing just a few more seats would send them into a spiral. But who knows, and dropping a dozen off of 77 definitely would. All is not lost if they go into a spiral, but it gets tough. I kind of doubt they would go into a situation where it is necessary for the NDP to lead the way.

[Note on that variant of whether we have an election. We could have no deal between the government and the Bloc before the Budget, and therefore an election; but a deal over the same stuff after the election with the Bloc voting for the Throne Speech and 'new' Budget: same one as before, with the goodies for Quebec, including the $2B for harmonizing into the HST. I've layed elsewhere why this makes a lot of sense for both the Bloc and Harper, and would be very hard on the Liberals. But at bottom its just a variant of the possibility of deal with the Bloc before the Budget. No substance difference, we just have an election that leaves Harper in power for somewhat longer than if there was a deal before the Budget and no election now. Plus the fact that having an election would suit very well the different goals of the Bloc and Harper.]

Maysie Maysie's picture

Getting a bit long, closing!


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