The latest quarterly CRA Poll came out yesterday.
It has been interesting to watch the public, Twitter pundits and the media wax polemic on what the results mean A poll is just a snapshot in time. To the partisans it is all about bragging rights. To pundits, polls are the tea leaves to see the future.
Overall, I am really pleased to see that there has been a much overdue correction in the polls. No more are the polls dominated by demagoguery. However, the lopsided composition of the House of Assembly still reflects the lack of real alternatives in the last election.
If I were a Progressive Conservative, I would be pretty pleased with the latest results.
The government satisfaction numbers are good, the decline in the party’s support has stabilized – they are still the most popular government in Atlantic Canada.
Premier Dunderdale has some breathing room. The urgency for a make-over has been eroded. The leader can lead into the final year of her mandate. There is no reason for an early leadership or an early departure. The abscess is treated; they can pull the rotten tooth at a later time. The pressure is off!
The news for the Liberals is not bad. They have regained the support of much of their base. That is important to any rebuilding initiative. Can they – will they be able to take advantage of this?
A former Executive Director of the Liberal Party paraphrased Churchill in stating that Liberals have nothing too fear but Liberals themselves. Those immortal words have never been more accurate than they are today.
At this moment, the Liberals remain extremely weak. Financially destitute – nearly $900,000 in the hole and no solution in sight. Celebrating raising $80,000 at a cost of $60,000 just goes to show how much financial quick sand the party is in.
Leaderless – they just can not attract a leader. The stabilization of the Progressive Conservatives will not help in the recruitment of a new leader for 2013.
Broke and directionally challenged, the future looks glum, but the upward trend is good news.
The Muskrat Fall’s debate has provided Dwight Ball with the profile and experience that a potential leader needs to be taken seriously. Ball is earning respect in the legislature and in the nightly news.
Keeping that momentum going when the house closes when the tiny caucus all disappear back to their shires in rural Newfoundland and Labrador is the challenge.
Having no elected members on the Avalon -or the entire East Coast - is one of the most significant challenges facing the Official Opposition. In comparison, the NDP can produce a talking head at the drop of a press release!
The New Democrats are solidly in second place. It is not a blip on the radar. They are a real and potentially lasting force. Keeping in mind polls are a snap show, the NDP are poised to become the official opposition in the next general election, or sooner.
Now that the hemorrhaging appears to have abated. The Progressive Conservatives may feel more comfortable allowing some of the more tired members of caucus to retire.
The NDP are poised for greater things but are they up for the job? I would argue no. They have to get to the next level. That will not just fall into their laps. It means embracing change, welcoming new blood, expanding their base and becoming a viable alternative to the government – not just a protest.
While this is obvious to observers, it is not as understood by the dippers as one might expect. They appear content with their gains. They talk about expansion but the chains of ideology, a sense of complacency and an inability to implement the changes needed to get to the next level may result in a huge missed opportunity.
I am not saying they are not aware of what needs to be done, or that they are not working on the future…I am saying they need to objectively kick the tires, see the situation for what it is and live up to their potential. When opportunity knocks, you answer the door!
The Liberals have been relegated to the furthest points from the media, the densest population base and money. The NDP are the unchallenged opposition in the city. Yvonne Jones, Gerry Reid and Roger Grimes saw to that. If they do not reverse this trend it is game over!
This poll and the trend lines show that the public are not dissatisfied with the government. They are not in enamored with the current premier but they are not prepared to hand power to anyone else.
This leaves the battered Progressive Conservatives as the one and only option. They have oodles of cash, they control the strings of power and possess a province wide teams of local associations. They are the only party that can count on trans-provincial support
It is perfect recipe for perpetual Progressive Conservative governments.
A Blue Machine!
A viable alternative could turn this political malaise on its ear. At this point, that is as likely as a visit from Santa this Christmas.