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COMMENTS AND OBSERVATIONS BY FRANK GRAVES – August 5, 2010

[Ottawa – August 5, 2010] – First of all, everyone seems to focus on the last week and it is the more interesting but the first week of the two week period was much better for the Conservatives and more consistent with previous weeks. The last week, however, clearly seems to show a significant shift in the voter landscape

As the Conservatives slip below the 30-point margin, it might be time for Stephen Harper to call in. This is really a very bad poll for the Conservatives. They have slipped back into a virtual tie with the Liberals and now have lost the high ground they recently enjoyed in Ontario and look poised for a disastrous rout in Quebec (if a fall election is in the cards). And I would bet that if the Conservatives complete the summer in this vote intention territory, the likelihood of fall election becomes very high.

Although Mr. Ignatieff hasn’t achieved a renaissance, he is in a considerably stronger position today than at the start of his bus tour. At that point, he was in the 24-point range which, unsurprisingly, was fuelling speculation about leader death watch. Today, his situation is clearly less perilous. Not only has he boosted his own party’s fortunes by 5 points but he is now virtually neck and neck with Stephen Harper’s Conservatives who owned a comfortable 11-point lead at the beginning of the Liberal Express tour. So the stalled bus of the infant tour, which seemed to signal more of a cortege than an express has been replaced by a highly competitive race.

All of this is likely not a product of the tour. In fact, more of this highly significant shift is likely a product of the highly questionable decision to announce the end of the one-in-five long form census. The public, and in particular Canada’s large and growing cohort of university educated, seems to have judged this latest stratagem of a voluntary census as – simply senseless. And when the Prime Minister returns from his vacation, he might want to take note of the ire this has produced in the world of the professional and expert class.

Call it the revenge of the propeller heads, but the swift reaction of the educated class suggests they see bigger stakes than simply the 2B Census. This may be the latest expression of a real culture conflict over the role of knowledge and expertise in society. There are large differences in both the values and the vested interests of the contestants. Conviction and belief versus rationality and evidence, common sense versus technocracy, faith versus science. It isn’t at all clear how this conflict will play out, but the lines of difference are becoming clearer.

2 comments to COMMENTS AND OBSERVATIONS BY FRANK GRAVES – August 5, 2010

  • I always find your polls interesting, although I don’t agree with your breakdown of the number of seats based on the poll. I believe that the Liberals are doing very poorly in SK. and Alberta and that the Conservatives dominate in these provinces. I tried to find some reference to these provinces from your poll but it is lacking. Anyways, I believe that the Conservative overwhelming numbers in rural Sk. and Alta. skews the Conservative numbers so that the Conservatives will get less seats from the poll as they cannot get more seats than what is already available in western Canada. Please provide the polling numbers for Alta and Sask.

  • Chris Fry

    I like your take on this Frank. Thanks for the article.