Canadian Election 2011: Election period ban on polls

I firmly believe, if we had an election period ban on polls (not a statement on merits one way or other), our current perceptions would be far different. It’s sort of any interesting consideration, imagine a world wherein every day’s tone wasn’t determined by the polling? I don’t think anyone would dispute the overwhelming influence of polls, the almost self fulfilling nature of the subsequent digestion. Personally, I’ve been dejected more than a few mornings, knowing a poor result will mean another rash of negativity for my party. Even my NDP friends, now benefiting from poll momentum can remember way, way back three weeks ago, when the "squeeze" was on, in key regions talk of collapse. It’s a funny animal, polls are central to everything, all the cues, all the analysis, so we tend to really have a very superficial campaign.

In the imaginary world of no polls, I am convinced people would have a very different view of the Liberal campaign. Even now, critics acknowledge a fairly seamless campaign. Liberals have seen great creativity from our team, overall very competent, quick to react, isolate yourself to just conduct, no relationship to apocalyptic scenarios we now entertain. On that score, this from today’s Susan Delacourt column:

About $4-million has flowed into federal Liberal coffers during the past month – more than the party raised in the past three elections combined, and double the party’s fundraising targets for this campaign, according to party officials.

A lot of that money has been sent in through small cheques, accompanied by hand-written notes of encouragement to Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.

"It’s a lot of direct mail. People have been writing out a cheque, putting in the mail. And that’s a very interesting sign, about why I’m saying to you the base will show up,” Ignatieff said when he visited the Star’s offices this week.

Remarkable isn’t it? I mean, here we sit with all these dreadful polls, prognostications, dancing on the graves and YET a defying infux of CASH, probably the most concrete example of resonance. I remember vividly, it was when Obama started to raise serious money, challenge Clinton, that is where the momentum really began, again a concrete sign that something may be afoot. That Ignatieff has doubled our projections is a very positive sign indeed, but apparently it operates in isolation, perplexing to say the least.

We’ve had the crowds, I would venture multiple times more this campaign than in 2008. Prior to the collapse, plenty of praise of Ignatieff on the stump, I know I was quite pleased, particularly how he had evolved, how he related to the questions, not perfect, but formidable. Okay, so turnout big CHECK, leader CHECK, fundraising big CHECK, our war room CHECK, social media integration CHECK. Without the polls that never showed us getting traction, even prior to the debates, I would have given us the edge, based on pure perception. I’d also add, of all the platforms, ours seemed to offer the newer planks. You’ll recall Layton came out with old ideas about bank interest rates, while Harper had absolutely nothing but fear. A quick aside, this isn’t sour grapes, more an internal attempt to understand the disconnect.

It means ABSOLUTELY nothing, so don’t attach any real meaning to this declaration, but if we lived in a world where campaign polls weren’t part of equation, I bet today, instead of post-mortems, people would be saying their mental math predicted a good showing for we Liberals. I don’t know what will happen, but this is without a doubt- both sides of the border- the most peculiar, throw out the intangibles, campaign I think I’ve ever seen…

Click HERE to read more from Steve Val.

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1 Comment

  1. Polls are only closely followed by political junkies who make up between 5-15% of the electorate. Most Canadians only really start to pay attention in the last week of the campaign or so.
    I think the poor showing of the liberals in the polls may have softened their free fall, as alot of loyal party voters from past years may have reconscomment_IDered voting otherwise, knowing that this is going to decimate the party and bring its entire future into question as a viable force federally.

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