Friday, May 6, 2016

Donald Trump set for nomination, but Hillary Clinton still poised to beat him


Donald Trump has finally vanquished his foes in the race for the Republican nomination and is now the party's presumptive nominee. But polls suggest the White House remains as elusive a prize for him as it was when his nomination victory was still in doubt.

That's because Donald Trump is the most disliked candidate for the presidency in recent memory. Despite Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton's own weaknesses as a candidate — she has high unfavourable ratings and is an establishment candidate in an anti-establishment election year — she is still the odds-on favourite to win in November.

You can read the rest of this article here.

You can also listen to the latest episode of the Pollcast. I was joined by Keith Boag, the CBC's senior reporter in Washington, D.C., to talk about where the presidential election goes from here.

Ambrose, MacKay, or O'Leary? What leadership polls tell us about the Conservative race


Rona Ambrose was chosen as the Conservative Party's interim leader six months ago, thereby ruling herself out of contention for the permanent job.

But just as quickly as some Conservatives began to organize to change the rules to allow her to run for the permanent leadership, Ambrose has ruled herself out yet again.

A recent poll, however, suggests she would be the favourite choice of Conservative supporters, which might increase the pressure on Ambrose to go back on her pledge. But what can really be gleaned from leadership polls with more than a year to go before the actual vote?

You can read the rest of this article here.

Pierre Karl Péladeau's resignation may help the Parti Québécois


In resigning as leader less than a year after winning the post, Pierre Karl Péladeau may have solved a potential problem for the Parti Québécois — his own leadership.

Péladeau's time as leader of the Parti Québécois was tumultuous, even by the standards of the PQ.

His political career was launched with a raised fist for Quebec independence, the beginning of a tailspin that took the PQ from front-runner in the 2014 provincial campaign to its worst result since 1970.

You can read the rest of this analysis on PKP's polls here.

18 comments:

  1. "A coalition of the Parti Québécois and Québec Solidaire could be a vote-winner. Léger found that such a coalition would garner 38 per cent of the vote, beating the Liberals by three points."

    This sounds optimistic. Their combined vote share is 41%. Usually coalitions like this bleed quite a few more votes than the -3% from the Leger supposed 38% vote.

    Note: I don't doubt for a second that Leger got the 38% figure from a well conducted poll. What I'm saying is sometimes people say one thing to the pollsters and a different thing at the ballot box.

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  2. PKP's business-friendly background was always a weird fit for the PQ.

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  3. Looking at the poll graphs I was struck how since the election (April 7, 2014) the PQ has declined and the QS risen in support and the CAQ has held its own albeit with a slight uptick. It sure looks as though the Sovereignty movement is fracturing into left and right ideological camps.

    With this data it is interesting to reminisce and think about both 1980 and 1995 as well as the years preceding 1980 and Trudeau's constitution. From this vantage point it appears the only thing driving the independence movement was the charisma of its leaders; Rene Levesque, Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard. Without a charismatic leader this movement is listless made worse by the train of leaders the PQ has rolled out since M. Landry resigned after receiving 76% during a 2005 leadership vote. Since, the PQ has had a cavalcade of leaders: Louise Harel, Andre Boisclair, Francois Gendon, Pauline Marois, Stephane Bedard, Pierre Karl Peladeau. So, this is a party in search of a purpose or a strategy to fulfill that purpose for the better part of a decade without much success. PKP was just another symptom.

    Nationalism in general will always hold an important place in Quebec politics but, the political strategy to affirm that nationalism through an independent state looks to be gravely ill. In a globalising world where even large countries have difficulty confronting crises and economic peril (Remember the 2008 economic crisis?) a small francophone country without trade agreements and dependent on its two larger anglophone neighbours in trade, defence and perhaps currency and monetary policy looks to be less and less of a good idea. I don't expect the sovereignty debate to go away anytime soon but Couillard is looking good to be re-elected in two years time.

    The PQ's best strategy is to find a leader who can shore up their left flank and take on Legault in the charisma department. The existential problem for the PQ is in an increasingly globalised world the benefits of independence are more opaque than ever. Unless they showcase the gains an independent Quebec would attain their hope to be a party able to compete for government and hold a referendum look marginal at best.

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  4. This is a good time to remind everyone that the PQ hasn't won a clear plurality of the vote since 1981, when Rene Levesque got 3% more of the popular vote than the PLQ. Their single and only decisive victory *ever* was in 1976.

    In contrast, since the arrival of the PQ in the political scene the PLQ had decisive victories in 1973, 1985, 2003, 2008 and 2014.

    This is a 5 to 1 difference in favour of the PLQ. Yet the PQ keeps on spinning this narrative that they are the true reflection of the will of the people which couldn't be further from the truth.

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    1. I would add the 1970 election as a decisive PLQ victory as the PQ was founded in 1968 and competed in and was perhaps a decisive player in the 1970 election garnering 23% of the vote and 7 seats.

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  5. Ambrose is polling well because she has visibility right now as interim leader. Thinking she's actually the favourite is a misreading of the data.

    The CPC should know better. I'm disappointed in them that they don't.

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    1. Ahh I wouldnt be so hard on the CPC. A real leadership contest will focus people much more on the issues, potential leaders, and how the potentials compare to each other in actual terms not just theoretical. Right now its really off the radar for most folks, and go with what comes to mind. Once a real race kicks off, everything becomes more concrete and real options and choices present themselves.

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    2. The CPC is up against a Prime Minister who, when presented with thoughtful questions, appears to give thoughtful answers. This sort of shallow analysis does them no credit.

      Even if we think that Trudeau isn't giving reasoned or sensible answers, he sounds like he is, and that matters a lot.

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  6. Over the last dozen years or so the CPC lost several elections that it had no business loosing: 2007, 2011 and 2014 in Ontario, 2015 in Alberta and 2004 and 2015 Federal elections. Make your own conclusions out of that.

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    1. Umm, no. The conservative Party of Canada did not lose one provincial election, since it contested none. The Progressive Conservative parties of Ontario and Alberta lost elections, but did not lose the October 2015 federal election, since it did not contest that election either.

      The CPC is a federal-only party, formed by supporters of the old federal PCs and the Reform-Canadian Alliance as a merged, "unite-the-right" movement. But this merger did not affect the provincial PC parties. For evidence, witness the duelling small-'c' conservative parties in Alberta, the recently-defeated PC party and the the rural-based social-conservative Wildrose party.

      If you don't understand these distinctions, you probably ought not to be commenting on this blog.

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    2. Duh, everybody knows that the Provincial Liberal and Conservative parties are on paper independent from their federal counterparts. However in practice some act in close coordination and share operatives such as the OLP and LPC while others are their own operation. The CPC has moved people back and forth from the Ontario and Alberta wings both in terms of campaign managers and ministers back and forth. This is why their losses are shared, as opposed to say, the BC LP and either the LPC or the CPC.

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    3. The allegiance of Albertan CPC supporters was fairly split between the PCs and WR. Campaign staff and strategists from the federal party worked for both provincial parties. Both parties were lead by former federal CPC MPs.

      There were no meaningful ties between the CPC and the Alberta PCs that weren't also there between the CPC and WR.

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  7. Mackay has to be the only choice.

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    1. MacKay would lose the western half of the party, splintering the right again.

      Which might be something you would prefer, Peter, but I don't think it would benefit Canada to have one dominant ruling party again.

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    2. The Conservative Party is not in danger of splitting no matter who becomes the leader. Different potential leaders may have different success in various regions of the country but, the circumstances that lead to the splintering of the Progressive Conservative Party were unique almost none of the pre-cursors of the 1990's split exist today. Quebec nationalism for instance has a totally different dynamic, nationalism has moved away from an independent Quebec into a movement more autonomist in character.

      I really don't know why Ira thinks MacKay would lose the Western half of the Party. Kenny has just as many problems if not more and Kenny is not universally liked out West. There is no reason to think Kenny is more acceptable as a leader to Western Conservatives then MacKay. Surely the main criteria will be electability of which many would be of the opinion MacKay holds the edge over a candidate like Kenny. Indeed, it is far more likely the next Conservative leader will be either from Ontario or Quebec than the West(especially Alberta) or Atlantic Canada. The seats are in Central Canada and the candidate best able to connect with those voters has a strong chance to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. There is unity in electability.

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    3. Thanks Derek and I agree. People forget that the majority of seats are in the Eastern half of the country plus if the CPC ever wants to amount to something it needs to get back to a PC appearance !!

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    4. The CPC governed for nearly 10 years without resembling the old PCs at all. I don't understand why you think they would want to do that.

      They do need to jettison their social conservative wing, though. Those people will only hold them back.

      I think Jason Kenney would be an even worse choice that MacKay. Kenney is too closely associated with Harper, and from the adjacent riding as Harper. He'd basically be Harper 2.0, and they need a leader who looks nothing like Harper.

      As for sovereigntists, I never understood why the CPC didn't court them more. A small federal government (which they claimed to support, though didn't govern like it) is wholly compatible with the provinces being more autonomous.

      I also think Trudeau's doing a pretty good job right now, so I'm not desperate to see him defeated. The CPC can take their time to find the right candidate, not just the names that immediately came to mind when Harper stepped down.

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    5. I still support Maxime Bernier for the job. I think he'd be far better than MacKay.

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