Friday, September 23, 2016

The Pollcast: Trump and Clinton finally face-off


On Monday night, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will take part in the first presidential debate. The confrontation comes at a time when the polls are showing a tightening race.

And depending on who uses the platform best, the debate could set the tone for the remaining 46 days of this unpredictable campaign.

The debate will be held on Monday night at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Hosted by the NBC's Lester Holt, the 90-minute affair will tackle three topics: America's Direction, Achieving Prosperity, and Securing America.

To help set up the debate, Keith Boag, the CBC's senior reporter in Washington, D.C., joins me on the latest episode of the Pollcast.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Why high-profile candidates may be sitting out Conservative, NDP leadership races


The list of people who have declared they will not run for the leadership of the Conservative Party or the NDP is more illustrious than the list of contestants already in the race or mulling a bid. Could it be that some of these opt-outers already consider the 2019 federal election a lost cause?

On the Conservative side, former heirs apparent like Peter MacKay and Jason Kenney have decided they have better things to do than take over the party. Other leading figures within Stephen Harper's government, such as John Baird and James Moore, both now working in the private sector, have also said they will be sitting this one out.

Instead, a group of Conservative MPs with low name recognition have thrown their hats in the ring, while others with similarly limited profiles are expected to declare their intentions soon.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Donald Trump inches closer to White House as Hillary Clinton slides: polls


Not since a surge in the polls at the end of the Republican National Convention two months ago has Donald Trump been this close to winning the White House. But Trump has less margin for error than his Democratic rival, as his lead over Hillary Clinton in a number of swing states is slim.

According to the CBC's Presidential Poll Tracker, Clinton is currently averaging 44.7 per cent support among decided voters, compared with 42.8 per cent for Trump. The edge Clinton continues to hold over Trump has diminished rapidly — standing at well over six points in August and a little more than three points two weeks ago. That lead now sits at just 1.9 points.

While Clinton was already trending downward, the combined impact of her "deplorables" comment and her health issues surrounding a diagnosis of pneumonia may have contributed to her numbers dropping further. In polls conducted since her near collapse at a Sept. 11 commemoration, Clinton has averaged a lead of 1.3 points over Trump. Those same pollsters had her ahead by 2.2 points during the previous two weeks.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Naming and shaming hecklers in the House of Commons


"Order, please!"

On a sunny day in June, the noise on the floor of the House of Commons as MPs read out statements is like that of a busy cafeteria. In the gallery above sit a few dignitaries, tourists in shorts holding ear pieces to the sides of their sweating heads, a class of elementary school students on a field trip, and a handful of journalists.

The ear pieces are a necessity. Without them, it is impossible to hear what an MP on the floor is saying.

This is not something that comes through on television. The microphones placed on the desks of MPs do their jobs impressively well. The House of Commons is a very noisy place, even before question period gets started.

And then come the heckles. 

You can read the rest of this article here.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Electoral reform could have big impact on Canada's smallest parties


When it comes to changing Canada's electoral system, who is standing up for the little guy?

The special committee on electoral reform will be hitting the road next week to hear directly from Canadians on changing the way they vote. The committee is made up of members from each of the five parties with representation in the House of Commons.

But there are a lot more parties in Canada than that.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Pollcast: The impact of Peter MacKay's decision not to run


The Conservative leadership race was shaken up this week when Peter MacKay, a former cabinet minister and the last leader of the federal Progressive Conservatives, decided he would stay out.

He would have been seen as the front runner had he decided instead to throw his hat into the ring. But now that both MacKay and Jason Kenney — who is running for the leadership of the Alberta PCs — have ruled out a bid, the leadership race has been blown wide open.

Back on the Pollcast with me this week to wade through the growing list of leadership candidates are Conservative insiders Tim Powers of Summa Strategies and Chad Rogers of Crestview Strategy.

You can listen to this podcast here. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Conservative base solid, but growth needed to challenge Liberals


Conservatives holding their caucus retreat this week in Halifax can rest assured that, despite Justin Trudeau's soaring poll numbers, their base is solid. But while that base is strong enough to keep the party first in fundraising, the Conservatives will not take power again relying upon their base alone.

So that base must grow. But a Conservative leadership race without a household name in the running — particularly now that Peter MacKay has announced he will not throw his hat in the ring — will make that a challenge.

After capturing 31.9 per cent of the vote in last year's federal vote, the Conservatives have averaged 28.6 per cent support in polls conducted since. This matches where the party was polling for much of 2013 and 2014, when the Mike Duffy affair was eating into the Conservatives' numbers.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Monday, September 12, 2016

NDP troubles continue 1 year after being government-in-waiting


The NDP's caucus retreat in Montreal this week comes at a time when the party is at its lowest level of public support in over a decade.

One year ago today, in the throes of the federal election campaign, the New Democrats were on pace to win. They were leading in the polls with about 32 per cent.

But since last year's vote, in which the NDP captured 19.7 per cent of ballots cast and was reduced to third-party status, the party has averaged just 13.7 per cent in the polls.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Pollcast: The summer of electoral reform is over


All summer, the special committee on electoral reform has been hearing from expert witnesses on how Canada's voting system should (or should not) change. Soon it will be hitting the road and meeting with Canadians directly before submitting its final recommendations.

But after hours of discussion, is the committee any closer to a consensus on what Canada's electoral system should be?

Joining me to parse through what MPs heard all summer, are the CBC's Aaron Wherry and the Ottawa Citizen's Kady O'Malley.

And if you've followed me on Twitter, you know I have a special place in my heart for Baden-Württemberg's electoral system. I try to sell it to Aaron and Kady. It goes over about as well as you'd think.

You can listen to the podcast here and subscribe to the podcast here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Trump closes in on Clinton as U.S. election enters final stretch, polls suggest


Labour Day is traditionally when the U.S. presidential election enters its final stretch. The next nine weeks will feature a handful of debates and a lot of frenzied campaigning. They will also be decisive, as new polls suggest Donald Trump is closing the gap on Hillary Clinton.

The latest projections of CBC's Presidential Poll Tracker show that Clinton's lead over Trump has been cut in half over the last month. In the wake of her party's national convention, the Democratic nominee had opened up a margin of more than six points over her Republican rival in early August.

Now, Clinton is estimated to have the support of 45.4 per cent of decided voters, followed closely by Trump at 42.2 per cent. That 3.2-point margin is the smallest it has been in the national polling average since the end of the Republican convention in July.

You can read the rest of this analysis here.