04.03.2011 08:45 AM

In today’s Sun: Advantage Ignatieff

Everyone had some ups and downs. But with Week 1 now concluded, the winner is — no question — Michael Ignatieff and his Liberals.

Polls are showing that, too. The yawning, nearly 20-point divide that separated the Tories and the Grits at the campaign’s start is now gone. Harper’s fearsome election machine has stalled, while Ignatieff’s more modest equivalent is surging closer. At week’s end, reliable polls showed as little as eight percentage points separating the two main contenders.

Meanwhile, Ignatieff’s personal approval ratings, which have been in the basement for two years, are now up dramatically.

So, too, are his Twitter and Facebook fans. Liberal fundraising is up. And, at the doors, Liberal candidates tell me they are getting lots of favourable comments about Ignatieff, along with plenty of requests for campaign signs and literature. So, um, what happened?

Three things…

29 Comments

  1. Scott Crawford says:

    As a long time Liberal and one this working hard on communications in this campaign for Wayne Easter and the PEI Liberals – I always appreciate your wise counsel and strategy advice. You’re a true Liberal, Warren – wish you more actively particpating in this battle.

    Cheers from PEI

    • JH says:

      Whiney Wayne really! The Liberals I can understand – they pretty well own the Island. Wayne though? Even a lot of Liberals find him an embarassment, although I know he’ll win. Knew him when he was an NDP and with the National Farmer’s Union. Was whiney then and still is. I’m told Islanders cringe when he rises to speak in the H of C.
      You’ll enjoy the Island though – it’ll be a winning Liberal Campaign there, except for Shea’s seat and there may be enough action around MacAulay and Currie’s fight to provide some fun for the local political junkies.

  2. Cat says:

    You’re spinning unusually quickly this early in the campaign WK. Is your guy peaking too soon? I would agree that Harper is off rather blandly, but sometimes bland works.
    What’s Roxy the political dog’s take on the first week?

  3. Mike says:

    Statement of the month, maybe the whole campaign:

    “…Harper didn’t look like a political leader fighting for a win. He looked like an exhausted chartered accountant in a crowded airport, trying to get home for the weekend.”

  4. thor says:

    All good for liberals: Apotheosis of Iggy in Toronto Star is icing on the cake. But reading the quotes by Iggy made me think Cosh’s analysis is still the best, not surprisingly. Bob Rae must have been pleased.

    The deficit slashing promise indicates Lib war room sees Layton is too weak to fight, and dipper votes will move to Libs, so libs will tack further right to get the soft middle to right that doesn’t like Harper. Layton is kicking himself for not supporting Harper’s budget.

    If they are right, possible liberal majority or liberal controlled minority.

    If so both harper and Layton finished.

    Press has been harsh on conservatives, but that’s a double-edged sword.

    However, cons will regroup and come back hard.

    Iggy has to be careful with the spending promises and the deficit cutting.

    He’s also still vulnerable on the 30years outside Canada.

    Should be fun.

    • Thor, I used to rail against MI on this blog, but I have to admit I was wrong. He is no longer the remote professor, unable to connect with people. Ignatieff is hitting his game form just in time for the playoffs. And finally he is talking policy and issues. Bravo. At last something practical.

      Re the shift in NDP (and Green) voters to the Libs, my guess is that the penny had finally dropped for these folks: After watching the non-Con vote get split and lettiing Harper roll up the middle in ’06 & ’08, they now know for sure that the only way to stop Harper is to vote LPC this time. Jack is no longer introducing himself as “I’m Jack Layton and I’m running for Prime Minister of Canada”. That line sounded like he skipped his meds when he used it in ’08. Now it would sound certifiably delusional. Too bad, but this is the way this election will unfold. Strategic voting is the only way to stop the Harper machine. But if I lived in a riding where the NDP candidate had the best chance of beating the Conservative, I would vote NDP (Trinity Spadina is a good example).

  5. Ron says:

    I know you wrote this column prior to the past two Nanos polls coming out. The poll you speak of was a “blip”. What I read in these polls is the Liberal Ndp vote in a state of flux between the two parties. Conservative numbers are still in the 39 to 40 range. The six point tightening is now an 11 point tightening

    The Liberal platform will be annouced later today, however I have already seen references to the 93 red book (I think WK is familliar with that book). That will affect them negatively or not give the lift they want.

    Plus more people prefer Jack to Michael….that is very tell tale sign.

    As Jean Chretien said…I’d rather be at 38 or 39% of the popular vote and let the rest fight for the remaing 60 plus percent

    The true test is going to be the debates

  6. Chris says:

    I’m positive I saw John Tory standing behind Iggy at one of the rallies this week. Anyone else see him?

  7. JStanton says:

    … Yes, Mr. Ignatieff is not doing terribly… but that’s largely a function of low expectations and Mr. Harper failing to shine.

    What is surprising is that the usually dependably Harperite mouthpieces – Postmedia and Sun – have actually criticized Mr. Harper. The Sun chastised him for not smiling, and The Citizen actually called him a weasel!… for singing a song by that antichrist, John Lennon.

    True, this is hardly even a step towards “fair and balanced reporting” for either of these slavishly right-wing organs, but it is a measure, however trivial, of Mr. Harper’s performance to date.

    .

  8. James says:

    Hi Warren, reading your interesting Sun column was the first item on my agenda this morning.

    I actually think things have stalled for Iggy; where is the real, momentous breakthrough for the Liberals after Week 1?? The Libs have actually slipped a couple of points and the Conservatives have crossed the 40% mark. The Conservatives have even gained support in Quebec.

    The Liberals are struggling to articulate why we necessarily need a change of government.

    The country has grown used to Harper and they actually like what they see.He is ahead of Iggy on leadership, vision and trust. Iggy still has the liability of having very little political experience; he was parachuted into the Liberal leadership and now he’s suddenly qualified to be PM??Why theLibs replaced Dion, an academic, with Iggy, another academic, is hard to fathom. Unfortunately, other, more credible Liberal stars, such as Frank McKenna, Brian Tobin and John Manley weren’t interested in the job.

    Another point: the Liberals seem to think that a personable, touchy-feely, baby-hugging leader who uses words like “compassionate” is necessarily what they’re looking for in a leader. Not true.

    • Ron says:

      agreed on all points james
      the big thing I keep hearing is “we didn’t need this election”
      and if I may add one more thing
      Jack Layton has not even begun to go after Ignatieff…which I find very strange seeing as Iggy and company have moved so far left

      • Namesake says:

        and we didn’t need Harper’s contempt for Parliament and indeed the people of Canada, or the last two elections which HE triggered, but there ya go. The CPC have never been much for recognizing or meeting true needs: only their own.

    • smelter rat says:

      So will Harper meet the challenge made by Mercer, or will he chicken out?

  9. MH says:

    What is the point of the “Centrist” Party tacking so far to the left? Surely some “blue door” Liberals will go to the Cons.

    • I do think that in the first couple of weeks, the Liberals will be going after NDP (and Green) voters in order to weaken the NDP. After the debates, the Liberals will then go after Conservative voters once lukewarm Conservative supporters see Ignatieff as a potential leader and prime minister.

      While on the surface, it looks like Harper won the week because of the Conservative maintained at a fairly high level in the polls, I would give this week to Ignatieff because of his very good performance. Harper looked tired and mean. If Ignatieff keeps on campaigning the way he is, the Liberals may win the most seats. We probably won’t see a big shift in the polls until after the debates.

  10. Lewis says:

    Warren you pulled the trigger too soon, two polls out this A.M. The gap has widened in both Nanus has it with a 13.9 % Tory lead and Leger at 11.3. Not looking good for the count.

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