Musings —09.21.2015 07:50 AM—
- It’s Day 50 – and there’s only four weeks to go! Listening to CBC Radio this morning on the way to work, a few of the hosts were saying that people are “engaged” in this election campaign. They didn’t seem to have any data to back up that contention – just, anecdotally, people are “engaged.”
- Are they really? I’m not saying they’re not, and nor am I saying that they are. I honestly don’t know – and neither, it seems, does anyone else.
- The most-recent debate suggests to me that few folks are tuned in to this thing. The commentariat were highly excitable about it all – Old Stock Canadians! Trudeau’s yelling! Mulcair made a reefer joke! – but was anyone else? Well, at least one poll suggests that the debate didn’t move the needle at all, as seen here. Which may mean that no leader won or lost. Or, it may mean that just 300,000 people were watching it online – a figure that is regularly exceeded by the Smosh YouTube kids. (And the debate before that? No better.) Carville likes to say if it didn’t happen on TV, it didn’t happen. But what if it happened on TV, and no one watched? Then it still didn’t happen.
- The pollsters are as confused about “engagement” as anyone else. They are currently washing their dirty laundry in public, but when they’re not doing that, they are saying little that is definitive about engagement – perhaps because, logically, it’s impossible to ask folks who aren’t engaged why they aren’t engaged. Because they’re not, um, engaged enough to talk to a pollster about engagement. But the overall trends aren’t good.
- The punditocracy, me included, all thought everyone’s attention would be riveted after Labour Day. We didn’t know that, we just thought that. To this point, I’ve seen little empirical evidence that we were right – that first post-Labour Day debate should have had some kind of an effect (in my view, hurting Trudeau and helping Mulcair). But it didn’t. Nada.
- Bottom line? The bottom line is that there isn’t one. This continues to be the Seinfeld-ian Election About Nothing™. There’s been no shocking development, there’s been no excitement, there’s been no big shift, there’s been no change at all, in fact. It’s just been…nothing. And that suggests, to me, that folks still aren’t engaged. And that – just maybe – they will continue to stay that way for the next four weeks.
- Here’s a photo that neatly summarizes what I think is going on. It’s all-Canadian, eh?