09.21.2015 07:50 AM

KCCCC Day 50: four weeks to get engaged! Or, not.


  • 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 onlinea 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?

riot (1)


  1. Eric Weiss says:

    You call it the election about nothing, my wife calls it the election about “meh”. Apart from the junkies that frequent boards like this nobody is talking about it. I’ve raised it a work a couple of times and get eye rolls. There is no galvanizing issue, even with the press trying to create one every news cycle.

    Are people engaged? Apart from the usual pundants, partisNs and those suffering from Harper Derangement Syndrome, I don’t see it.

    • Seanie says:

      that said.. maybe its because people are actually more in tune with reality. If a single issue is what motivates you to be engaged, you are a tool for the party that agrees with you but more of a blip on a chart that an average Canadian. if people already know the platforms and have therefore already chosen who they are supporting based on such, like me, its easy to just walk away, go about your day, show up and vote. No need to follow campaigns, muddle into discussions about someone who once tweeted about “hot coeds” when they were 25 and appear to be engaged to the media and pollsters. Its 2015, we could probably go with a seven day campaign and end up with a government that makes the majority happy for four years.

    • Brent Crofts says:

      I think you’re right. And I believe that, generally speaking, a disengaged electorate tends to favour the incumbent. Still plenty of time for people to become engaged, I suppose.

  2. Joe says:

    Its hard to get engaged when there really is no choice. I saw Jr being interviewed by David Akin on CTV. Not quite a Dion “I need a mulligan” but only a short putt away. Tommy the Commie hasn’t made the same kind of unforced error but his most loyal supporters have with their great ‘leap back to the stone age’ paper. Kinda leaves the best of a bad lot as being Harper.

  3. Christian says:

    I never bought the whole Post-Labour Day Theory. Prior to Labour Day, yes I was enjoying my summer but I had alot more time to do things like read the paper, watch the news (even did a bit of canvassing). But post Labour Day? First off, I have a 9 year old daughter who is in grade 4 french immersion. On top of ensuring she gets to school with her homework done and a lunch there is also ensuring she gets picked up has dinner and is then rushed to her various activiites all of which started post-Labour Day. Mondays its Girl Guides, Tuesdays Karate, Wednesdays meets with her tutor, Thursday more karate, Friday off, Saturday its the music enrichment program at RCM (an all day affair) Sundays off. In addition to that I have a full time job and have to fit in all the usual household chores. So, do I have all this time that the pollsters and pundits said I would post-Labour Day to sit and contemplate the state of politics in this federal election? Have I done any canvassing? Are you kidding? No. I made my mind up when I had time pre-Labour Day. I’m probably not alone in that.

    • bobbie says:

      You’re not alone Christian. In fact, we in our household have been turning OFF the evening news earlier and earlier every day it seems. We also used to love spending our Saturdays with our hard copy newspapers and coffee. Not these days. Totally making choices that don’t include traditional media these days. So….less “engaged” in this election too. What should worry us all is that – we DON’T care either.

      Year after year, election after election being used by media to buy whatever bias they’re selling or being exposed to media news spin that’s more about promoting THEIR guy than getting a balance of facts just doesn’t deserve my time.

      But posting here does. Hmmm………….interesting. Do you think any of the candidates have figured this out yet?

  4. Kelly says:

    Everyone is siloed off into their own filter bubbles. Nobody knows what anyone else is saying, anymore. We talk past each other. Maybe Anonymous has a picture of Harper that answers the question whether or not Harper really wears a toupee and that will change everything. Maybe not?

  5. Bill Templeman says:

    Warren, one indicator is the turnout for local candidate debates. Here in Peterborough, the audience turnout has been robust, although the Conservative candidate is a frequent no-show. Harper is coming to Peterborough today and apparently there will be sizable protest. After all,we elected Dean Del Mastro last time; maybe Harper is coming to tell this election’s Con candidate will be an upgrade?

    But nationally, you are right on target; most people seem blasé in the extreme. What continues to amaze is that virtually none of the Punditocracy are looking at people who choose not to vote, the None of the Above crowd (NOTAs). I made a meager attempt to stimulate some analysis of why so many don’t vote in this London Free press opinion piece; this rant is hardly rocket science, but the comments were underwhelming…what do I know? Over 9 million out of 24 million voters in 2011 didn’t vote. Why? And why is no one interested in finding out more about the NOTAs?


  6. Matt says:

    I’m starting to think we won’t see any real movement until after Thanksgiving. And that’s just one week from E-Day.

    • bobbie says:

      Isn’t Thanksgiving weekend also the date of the Advance Polls though?

      • Matt says:

        Not sure when they open, but you can vote right now if you want at any Elections Canada office.

        Last I heard about 30,000 people had done so.

        • terence quinn says:

          I did so last week and there were people waiting in line to do so. You need to write in the person you want to vote for because candidate registration dates have not closed yet.

      • Ridiculosity says:

        Yup. Advance polls are open throughout Thanksgiving Weekend.

        The same weekend that tens of thousands of Canadians leave their respective ridings to go and visit family or gobble up turkey at the cottage.

        Bottom line? Harper doesn’t want you to vote. So he’s made it as inconvenient as possible.

        He did the same thing during the last by-election in Trinity-Spadina. Scheduled the Advance Polls for the Canada Day Long Weekend – a time when everyone who can gets out of town.

        • InsideTheBubble says:

          It wasn’t the advance polls, it was much worse – actual e-day itself was scheduled for Monday, June 30th, with Tuesday being July 1st. It was an evil-bordering-on-genius decision. A boatload of people went away for a 4-day weekend, and voter turn-out was pathetically low.
          That day was picked with the Scarborough and two Alberta ridings in mind, through. The Cons never stood a chance in Trinity-Spadina.

        • Matt says:

          Uh, you do know it’s Elections Canada that sets the advanced poll dates right? And as I said, anyone can vote right now at any of the 400 Elections Canada offices across the country..

          You really should see a doctor to help with that serious case of Harper Derangement Syndrome.

          • Ridiculosity says:

            Elections Canada determines when the Advance Polls will be based on the date of the election.

            Harper determined the date of the election, knowing full well that the Advance Polls would be held during the prior Holiday weekend.

          • Maps Onburt says:

            You really need to get medicine Ridicu… the election date was set to be four years from the last one BY Law. Yes, Harper wrote that law… about 8 years ago. You really think he was thinking that far ahead? He must be some sort of a genius if that’s the case!

        • Al in Cranbrook says:

          Yes, PM Harper tells Elections Canada when to open advance voting polls. You betcha. That’s the ticket, yeah!

          Lordy, give me strength.

  7. bobbie says:

    Engaged? Nope. I would also say that even among those like us who watch politics closely are less “engaged” this time around than other elections.

    The good news Warren is that given the crap that passes for political blogs these days, of all stripes your “not a blog” is still one of the only places to actually “engage” folks in anything at all. Even KD – ah the good old days.

  8. JH says:

    Saw an interesting question on a post somewhere. Who does the public dislike and distrust more, the media or the pollsters? The poster said it was a race to the bottom with both. That’s probably where a lot of your indifference lies – no trust in those who are supposedly informing us. That’s what happens when the media approaches things with an agenda, instead of an open mind. Many folks I talk to think that’s exactly what happens with the press gang and the pollsters they hire.

    • Al in Cranbrook says:

      Pretty much.

      MSM consistently rank in trustworthiness below politicians, lawyers, and car salesmen.

      People are fed up with being told what to think, what not to think, what kind of thinking is acceptable (to the MSM and the left), and what isn’t.

      They’re even more fed up with what supposedly constitutes “news”. F’rinstance, here in BC the MSM has glued its attention on no less than Miley Cyrus and Pamela Anderson, whom have come here to share their advice, council and their wisdom with our government on wolves…


      (To which our snappy premier, bless her quasi-liberal little heart, Christy Clark, replied, to paraphrase, “Maybe some day, when we need some advice on twerking, we’ll give Miley a call.” *RIM SHOT*)

      Bigger point being: Who the **** in their right mind and with an IQ of maybe at least 60, gives a good GD about anything Miley or Pam have to say about wildlife conservation, wolves…or, for that matter, anything else!!! Besides, of course, media dips**** who clearly assume most of their viewers are indeed NOT in their right minds, and suffer IQs that rival doorknobs, and thus will carry on covering this mind numbingly inane crap, every fifteen minutes for at least a week.


    • bobbie says:

      Agree! Maybe this election will be one of revenge for the voters….on both the pollsters and media?
      Seems to me that it is they driving this campaign and not the leaders, the ideas, the issues, or much of anything else.

  9. Seanie says:

    I still contend that a debate is just cheerleading. It’s only for the kind of folks who go to hockey games to see a fight. I cannot fathom choosing who you vote for based on a debate and generally don’t watch them ever.

  10. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Wonder if our reliable MSM will pick up on this story regarding the enthusiasm of the darling of Liberal Left to help out with America’s proportionate share in resettling refugees…


  11. MF says:

    I think that a Chretien-like clarification of the choice facing Canadians is in order. Not sure that putting money into infrastructure or daycare does the trick of clarifying the choice.

    Need one point on foreign policy (peacemakers versus bombers) , another on economic issues (CPP versus TFSA, for example) and another on integrity and honesty.

    I recall a rally during the last campaign where Iggy was going over “learning passport” and other policy positions. The crown seemed somewhat subdued listening to the professor. He then introduced Chretien who instantaneously energized the crowd with statements like
    “he (Harper) wants to buy da planes, but he can’t afford the engines”. I thought that was telling.

    • KBab says:

      Yes. I saw JC in Hamilton recently. And he did just that, he has a way of bringing poli-speak down to earth.

      At the Lib rally in the Hammer, during the height of the refugee furor, he reminded the crowd of the Vietnamese boat-people coming to Canada under the Liberals and he said “there may have been some Communists among them, (laughter from audience) you know that is possible, and I am no Communist…” (more laughter)

      • Al in Cranbrook says:

        Seriously? He joked about that?

        If he doesn’t understand the difference between Vietnamese communists and extreme fundamentalist Islamic Jihadism, he definitely isn’t fit to be Prime Minister.


        • Ted H says:

          Extreme Fundamentalist Islamic Jihadism! Wow, that’s the bogey man now for all you right wing verging on fascist folks, just like communists were in the 50’s and 60’s. There always has to be some external threat to justify the fear politics that the right always has to promote, but you know what? There really is no terrorist threat to Canada, it’s all bullshit, and I mean that, it is all just bullshit. I don’t think Harper even believes it, it is just political fodder for the suckers that will actually vote for him.

          • Ted H says:

            Oh, and by the way, you say because JC doesn’t know the difference between Fundamentalist Jihadism and Communism he isn’t fit to be PM? Might I remind you he was PM for three terms, a very good PM by the way, better than SH, and a much better economic manager than the Cons.

          • Al in Cranbrook says:

            My bad. Thought he meant JT.

            Then again, JC should know better, too.

        • Ridiculosity says:

          Chretien joked about it. NOT Trudeau.

  12. Jeff says:

    Me to the rescue. Let me explain. There are three ways to win a debate, and there are always losers.
    1. Have a moment. This is extremely rare. Mulroney vs. Turner (’84), Turner vs. Mulroney (’88), Layton vs. Ignatieff (’11)
    Therefore, you can usually ignore reason one. And here are the only other two ways:
    2. Have the lowest voice. Therefore, Harper, always.
    3. Be the most aggressive and talk the most, including and especially over people. Yelling is okay, screaming is not. Therefore, Trudeau.
    Harper and Trudeau tied the last debate, for the above reasons. Mulcair has since lost significant numbers of “available voters”. The debate did make a difference.
    World, never evaluate another debate without using the above tool. It is the only correct one. You’re welcome.

  13. ottlib says:

    I imagine alot of Canadians are procrastinating.

    I would say Canadians are engaged. The election is everywhere so unless you are a hermit in a cave you cannot escape it. As well, I provided two anecdotes in the post previous to this one which seems to indicate some level engagement in the election.

    I believe the level of engagement is such that impressions are being created but very few have actually made any solid decisions. The reason for that could be the election is still a month away and making a decision on who you are going to vote for in a month is well down the list of priorities.

    I think Christian, in a comment further up this string, hit the nail on the head. Most Canadians are too damned busy and they need to prioritize their time in order to do complete all of the tasks they have set for themselves. A task they need to complete a month from now is probably barely on the radar.

    I imagine as we get closer to e-day more Canadians will begin to make decisions. I think the various campaign believe this as well. The much anticipated “TV ad war” has failed to materialize. The Conservatives have largely stuck to the “He’s not ready” ads, the Liberals have released two and the NDP just one. Pretty thin gruel so far. All of the campaigns probably have ads in the hopper ready to go. They are probably just waiting for a time when they believe Canadians will finally be ready to make up their collective minds.

  14. Maps Onburt says:

    Who watches TV anymore? I haven’t turned on the National or CTV news in years. I suspect more Canadians are watching Breaking Bad on NetFlix than are watching the MSM these days. At the end, people will wander into the polling booth and mark an X beside the guy who they think will least screw things up. Doesn’t bode well for Trudeau.

  15. Jon Evan says:

    What is MSM?

  16. Brent Crofts says:

    My head is spinning. You both make good cases.

  17. RogerX says:

    That is a picture of a doctor who is being targeted by the Justin Liberals as greedy 1%ers who must be taxed more…. and the doctor is ‘upset’ and doesn’t know the cure…lol

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.