Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Pollcast: Behind the scenes of the Conservative leadership race


With 14 candidates in the running, more than a year of campaigning and over a dozen debates to be held before the votes are finally counted on May 27, the Conservative leadership campaign poses unique challenges to journalists.

How do we balance coverage when there are so many candidates vying for attention? Which events are the pivotal ones in the race? And how do we gauge how the actual decision makers — expected to be no more than 150,000 Conservative party members that are eligible to vote — plan to cast their ballots?

The CBC's Catherine Cullen, who has been covering the leadership race since its beginning, joins me to discuss these challenges and what she is hearing and seeing behind the scenes on the campaign trail.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Bernier's broad donor base still tops the Conservative leadership field


Maxime Bernier's donor base remains the broadest and deepest among the contestants for the Conservative Party leadership, according to an analysis of fundraising data from the fourth quarter of 2016 — before Kevin O'Leary threw his hat into the ring.

But while the data provides no clue of O'Leary's impact, it does suggest that none of the other candidates have the diversified regional backing needed to win a vote that will give equal weight to each part of the country.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Kevin O'Leary's conservatism challenged in Conservative leadership debate


Conservative leadership contestants turned on Kevin O'Leary in a testy debate on the West Island of Montreal, questioning his conservatism and claiming the businessman and television personality has no plan to back up his rhetoric.

But O'Leary, participating in his second debate after attending one in Halifax earlier this month, did not strike back at his rivals, focusing instead on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the need to grow the Conservative Party base.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Census shows Conservatives still hold sway in Canada's fastest growing regions


With the West leading the country in population growth and Atlantic Canada stagnating, the Conservatives continue to have the most to gain from the demographic trends revealed in the latest census release from Statistics Canada.

And while the numbers are a mixed bag for the governing Liberals, the changing population figures in Canada's 338 ridings point to potential difficulties for the NDP.

The electoral map won't be redrawn until after the next census in 2021, so at least one more election will be decided using the current boundaries. But it's better for a party's future to be on the right side of the demographic trends.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Pollcast: How electoral reform fell apart


During the last campaign and in the months that followed, the Liberals pledged that the 2015 election would be the last fought under the first-past-the-post electoral system.

That promise no longer stands. So what happened?

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

After more than a year of speculation, debate, committee hearings, town halls and an online survey that was roundly panned by critics, the Liberals decided to abandon their promise to change the way Canadians vote.

What was behind the decision to renege on that campaign promise? Did electoral reform ever stand a chance of succeeding?

To break it down one last time, I'm joined by the CBC's Aaron Wherry and the Ottawa Citizen's Kady O'Malley. 

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Fundraising data suggests Bernier could benefit most from ranked Conservative leadership vote


The Conservative leadership race will be decided by a preferential ballot, so the candidate with the broadest support and widest acceptability stands the best chance of winning. An analysis of fundraising data in the campaign suggests Maxime Bernier shares the most contributors with other candidates, giving him a potentially decisive edge.

But Bernier's advantage might have been disrupted by the entry of Kevin O'Leary into the race in January.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Pollcast: Does leadership race polling mean anything?


Kevin O'Leary is the favourite for the Conservative leadership, says one poll. Only he can defeat Justin Trudeau, says another. A majority of Canadians aren't familiar with most of the 14 contestants in the running, according to a third.

But do these polls tell us much about who will actually win the Conservative leadership race?

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

While most leadership race polling takes all Canadians or supporters of a party as its sample, in the end the only people who will cast a ballot in the upcoming Conservative and NDP leadership votes are party members.

A small and dwindling portion of the population, members are difficult for pollsters to find — so the potential for pollsters to gauge a leadership race correctly is limited.

And it isn't much easier for those in the midst of a leadership campaign.

To discuss the challenges of polling a leadership race, as well as the role of the media in reporting on these polls, I'm joined by Paul Adams, associate professor of journalism at Carleton University and David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.