Saturday, September 15, 2007

Quebec By-elections

As fellow blogger Gone Green In Alberta points out CTV has a media bias in its Quebec By-election polls when it comes to the Green Party.

The Greens are ahead of the Conservatives in Outremont. But you wouldn't know it from the way it is posted.

The Unimarket-La Presse poll conducted its surveys between Sept. 8 and 12. About 1,000 people were sampled in each riding, making for a margin of error of about three per cent.

The Greens are ahead of the Liberals too, in Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, again you wouldn't know it from how the poll is set up.

The poll suggests the Bloc should hold on to Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, the third federal Quebec riding up for grabs on Monday.

And the only poll that is unaffected is that of Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean, where they are neck and neck with the NDP.

The governing Conservatives may be poised to win in Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean, formerly a Bloc Quebecois fortress, the poll suggests.

And Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean is the only riding the NDP is not ahead of the Liberals.

It is not just NDP candidate Thomas Mulcair who is popular in Outremont, and Quebec in general, it is also Jack Layton who has scored well in polling of Quebecers.

In Quebec, support for Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe now sits at 17 percent (up 1 point), compared with 29 percent for Stephen Harper (down 3 points), 18 percent for Jack Layton (up 3 points) and 10 percent for Stéphane Dion (down 2 points).

Best Choice for Prime Minister – June 2007

Leader Approval. There have been some shifts in the approval ratings of the party leaders over the past three months. The proportion of Canadians approving of the job being done by Stephen Harper has fallen below the 50-percent mark for the first time since he became prime minister and now stands at 48 percent (down 6 points from March). Approval of Stéphane Dion has declined once again to 38 percent (down 2 points) and the proportion expressing disapproval of him has risen to 48 percent (up 5 points). Jack Layton has the highest approval rating of any of the party leaders at 56 percent (up 2 points), and a similar share of voters in Quebec approve of the job being done by Gilles Duceppe (53%, down 3 points). Approval of Elizabeth May has dropped three points to 42 percent.

Which leaves Dion as the dud. And it doesn't help when the dud chooses his doppelgänger to run. But then Dion has been more of a similcarum of a leader than a real leader.

The biggest loser of all, if Mulcair pulls it off, would be Liberal leader Stéphane Dion. The loss would be a devastating blow to his already shaky leadership.

"If his party underperforms, Dion -- as an untested leader -- will take the biggest hit," wrote Toronto Star columnist Chantal Hebert on Friday.

"By all indications, Dion's candidates in Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot and Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean are not even in contention for second place."

The degree of pressure on a leader also depends to a large extent on how closely the party's candidate in a by-election is identified with the leader.

This plays heavily in Outremont because Coulon was handpicked by Dion, who also blocked Justin Trudeau from the nomination, though some Liberals maintained Trudeau would have been the party's best hope in the riding, said Antonia Maioni, director of McGill University's Institute for the Study of Canada.

"Dion's claim was that he'd win back Quebec, and this is what potential Liberal voters are going to look at, and more so people in the party. If he fails to capture the riding, one of the safest Liberal seats in the province, it's not going to play well outside Quebec."

"Coulon is sort of Stéphane Dion's alter ego," said Antonia Maioni, a political scientist at Montreal's McGill University. "He's like Stéphane. An academic, quite reserved, very well spoken. And so in many ways, this is not only a by-election, but it's also a referendum on Stéphane Dion because he's chosen someone who resembles him the most."


Rudderless Liberals

Layton and May Winners

Ms. Joe Clark

Waiting For Dion

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