In my mind, the latest batch of polls, the recent trend lines, confirm my working thesis- when we have a huge controversy, we move to a statistical tie, but in the absence of a real mover, we return to the normal state of a Conservative lead. I would argue the last few weeks, pretty much since the return of Parliament, no real issue has emerged that has resonated with voters. The opposition has moved from this and that, but no real singular focus on any matter that dominates the landscape. In this circumstance- and the last two years have supported this dynamic- the Conservatives tend to benefit, they hover near majority territory, the Liberals languish. When we have an issue that causes the government some backlash, a flurry of negative coverage, then we see the Conservatives fade, Liberals rebound somewhat and we move back to a statistical tie scenario. We never really reach full on majority status for the government, nor do the Liberals ever realize a lead, the polls operate within this range.
The polls all boil down to 5-10% of the electorate moving around, mostly in Ontario, we see this over and over. We are locked into a narrow political reality, nobody will "breakout", Ignatieff won’t get "traction, the Bloc will remain strong, the NDP will live or die based on 1-2%- a very static and established pattern. The Liberals can wait for the next "census" debacle, some issue that is so offside, the scary Harper meme scares a few old Liberals back into the fold, but apart for that, this is it folks. With that clearly reality in mind, I would submit that everyone forget about the polls as a crystal ball into election speculation. I believe all the parties realize the narrow band they operate within, as well as a realization that not much will change until the next election- it’s just laying the groundwork, developing messages, preparing for the moment when people actually will care, at least a little.
Conservatives up big, which will be followed by Liberals narrow lead, which will be followed by Conservatives open up gap, which will be followed by both parties below 30%, which will be followed by statistical tie, etc, etc.. We all chase every statistical hiccup like it is some seismic, meaningful change, when really if you step back it’s just more of the same, the exact same really. Until we have an election, this is it….
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