Of course it is – sort of. So sayeth this pollster:
In the online survey of a representative sample of 1,006 Canadian adults, more than a third of respondents (37%) believe that the values of Canadian society are more right-wing now than 10 years ago, while 22 per cent report no change. Only 15 per cent of Canadians think the country is now more left-wing oriented.
Almost half of Canadian men (48%) think the values of Canadian society are more right-wing than ten years ago. Only one-in-ten respondents over the age of 55 (9%) say that Canada is now more left-wing oriented than a decade ago.
Now, as James Carville and others have cautioned, liberals and progressives too often dismissed conservatives as red-necked, mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers. (I’ve been guilty of it myself, and more than once, too.) But that’s been a big, big strategic error, for a couple of reasons. One, it plays into the conservative strategy to depict progressives as snobby, latte-sipping elitists who profess kinship with ordinary folks, but wouldn’t want to actually live next door to any ordinary folks. It validates the conservative narrative that they, and not pointy-headed liberals, are the real populists. They are the ones who are closest to the hopes and aspirations of average citizens. Not liberals, who are out-of-touch and high and mighty, and who mock the everyday concerns of Joe and Jane Frontporch.
It’s a big mistake for another reason: it underestimates our principal adversary. We should never underestimate the power and effectiveness of the conservative propaganda machine. Ever.”
The survey finding that despondent progressives should keep uppermost in their minds, however, is found in that last sentence: “More than half of Canadians (56%) believe the Federal Government has an important role to play to redistribute the wealth and intervene in the economy, even if it means increasing taxes.“
See that? That means that while they suspect that things are more conservative, they still believe that government needs to act as a progressive force for good. Even conservatives believe that – including, I’ve found, Tea Party conservatives.
What they despise, not matter what their partisan affiliation or personal ideology, is lack of authenticity and unfairness. It’s always been thus, but none so more than in The Year of Our Lord 2012: if they sense you’re a phony, and that you play favourites, you’re a goner.
That’s why Stephen Harper hugs the Tim Horton’s meme like his political life depends on it:
His political life does depend on it.