The Liberal ads I have seen on TV seem mainly negative directed against Tory (pun intended) policy on health care and funding of faith-based schools. The present polls seem to indicate a minority government. A minority government might be better than either of the major parties gaining a majority. The suggestions offered the parties all smack of the importance of selling over any concern about policies per se. But then this is what contemporary politics is all about branding your product. Perhaps as suggested here the NDP's relation to the Greens will mimic that of the Liberals to the NDP. A vote for Y the smaller party is a wasted vote so vote for X the bigger brother.
August 30, 2007
Ontario voters waiting for a leader to emerge
By CHRISTINA BLIZZARD, TORONTO SUN
An SES-Sun Media poll released on the eve of the provincial election campaign delivers bad news for all three provincial party leaders.
The poll reveals 40% support for the Liberals; 34% for the Tories; 19% for the NDP and 8% for the Greens.
And that, says SES pollster Nik Nanos, means there's no good news for anyone.
Sure, Premier Dalton McGuinty has a six-point lead going into the election, but that means a minority government for the Liberals.
Progressive Conservative leader John Tory isn't making any of the gains he needs. His support is stalled. And New Democratic leader Howard Hampton is fighting wars on two fronts -- against the Liberals on his right and the Greens on his left.
All elections are about leadership, but on Oct. 10 it's going to be even more vital, Nanos says.
"If one of the party leaders shines or does a good job, that could have a significant impact on the campaign, much more than usual, just because there is a significant block of voters who are unsure who would make the best premier," he says.
And Nanos offers some strategies for the parties as they await the drop of the writ Sept. 10.
For McGuinty: "As the incumbent his best strategy is to try to make the election about someone else -- i.e. John Tory -- and not about the Liberals, and also have an appeal to NDP supporters in order to block the Conservatives.
"In a way it's a variation of the federal Liberal strategy: Demonize the Conservatives and scare New Democrats into strategically voting for the Liberals," Nanos says.
For Tory: His problem is the religious school issue, says Nanos.
"He has to change the channel on that to ensure that the election is not about him and his policy on faith-based schools, but about the Liberals and their record related to tax promises, etc."
"He needs to re-cast all those Liberal goodies that have been announced as sheer political opportunism."
Nanos says Tory's best hope is for the Liberals to make a major goof during the campaign.
"This election is really about whether the Liberals make a mistake and lose the election," said Nanos.
For Hampton: Nanos says the NDP leader has the toughest job of all the leaders, since his political life is on the line.
"Now he has to fight a two-front war. On one front he has to make sure he doesn't bleed support to the Liberals. On the other front he has make sure the Green Party doesn't become the protest vote -- the 'none of the above,' for voters.
"His best strategy for the Green Party is to say he likes a lot of what they stand for, but it's a wasted vote. He has to move those Green votes into the NDP column without offending them," he said.
Interestingly, the so-called "Slushgate" scandal, where millions of dollars in unaccountable dollars went out the door in grants, doesn't seem to have hurt the Liberals. Nanos says people simply aren't paying attention to politics in the summer.
"Now it would be a much different environment."
Nanos attributes the Liberals' bump in the polls partly to the flurry of funding announcements they've made recently and says the opposition parties need to get proactive about branding them as election-motivated.
So, it seems, McGuinty's best plan is for the long hot summer to continue into October. Tory must show leadership -- and pray for a Liberal gaffe. And Hampton needs a shield and a sword -- to fight off the Greens on one side and protect against the Liberals on the other.
What an election this is shaping up to be!