08.26.2021 09:03 PM

Highly Scientific Poll™️: fear vs. hope


  1. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Yes, most people will take Hope over Fear. Look how Obama’s presidency ended — and then look how Trump’s did…

    Kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it.

  2. Obvious Sock Puppet #12 says:

    I am pretty sure that Paul Wells of Maclean’s Magazine has exactly this covered in one or other of his “Rules of Politics”, and the answer is, the happiest and most hopeful candidate or party leader is always the winner.

    • Pedant says:

      I’m honestly racking brain trying to come up with a counter-example in Canadian political history. There are a few, but I think the truism you mentioned applies 90% of the time.

      A few times it didn’t:
      – Alberta 2019: Kenney was certainly “angrier” than Notley
      – BC 2017 / 2020: Horgan isn’t the happiest or most uplifting leader I’ve seen, even compared to his opponents
      – Ontario 2007 : this might have been neutral between McGuinty and Tory

      Don’t think there’s a counter-example at the federal level though when analyzing the top two leaders in each election. Jean Charest was the most hopeful and inspiring leader in the 1997 campaign but way too far back to possibly win.

      • Doug says:

        I disagree about Alberta 2019. The NDP campaign was particularly nasty, focusing on past statements made by UCP candidates an fear mongering over reducing the budget deficit. Kenney’s campaign was about jobs and pipelines

    • Sean says:

      Chicken / Egg.

      They are happy because they know they are winning. Angry / scary because they know they are losing.

  3. jsa says:

    Maybe #LPC has something to be afraid of? Maybe the sort of thing that would really explain why Notre Petite Patate needed to have an election asap…

  4. Sean says:

    Ideally, the Leader should appear to be hopeful….

    While clever staffers who you will never read about in a Paul Wells column…. scare the living shit out of everybody.

    • Vancouverois says:

      That’s what the Liberals seem to be trying for right now.

      Doesn’t seem to be working too well, though. At least not yet.

      • Vancouverois,

        Welcome back! You’ve been missed.

        • Vancouverois says:

          Thanks! I gave you a shout-out in an earlier comment on the “Stench of Death” article.

          Now that it’s election time, I expect to hang around here until it’s over…

          • Vancouverois,

            You are a far better man than yours truly: how you can turn it on and then off for four years!!! I could never do that. Far too much of an addicted political junkie.

            Thanks for the shout-out.

            And the only thing on which I ALWAYS agreed with Harper: MAY GOD BLESS CANADA. (Even with her multitude of constitutional flaws. Do love the Charter though.)

          • Vancouverois says:

            Oh, I find I’m much happier when I tune it out. But when election time comes around, the addiction returns…

            It’s a sickness, I’m afraid. I’m not sure there’s a cure. 😛

  5. Vancouverois says:

    There’s no set rule. Sometimes Hope wins, as with Trudeau in 2015, even when it’s false hope (as with Trudeau in 2015).

    And sometimes Fear wins, like in 2019 when Trudeau managed to scare enough NDP voters that he was able to hold on to a minority – or, for that matter, in 2011 when the fear that the NDP would actually win made enough Liberals vote strategically for the Tories that Harper got his majority.

    In 2021, the Liberals are clearly falling back on Fear. However, it’s feeling more and more like Hope is gaining momentum.

    • Vancouverois,

      Most people, even the least politicized, have some kind of opinion of the governing prime minister. Harper, from his perspective, was doing great building on his base right up to a majority and then he squandered it by going GonzoRightTM in 2015.

      New this B-Actor who plays a prime minister on TV and occasionally in Ottawa has done exactly the same thing: Canadians had high hopes in 2015, even if they were at the very least unrealistic given his actual abilities. They showed their displeasure in 2019 and will now likely seal the kick him to the curb deal in this election.

      Once voter fatigue and/or disgust sets in, it almost always inevitably leads to defeat as this Prime Minister is about to find out.

    • Gary says:

      2015 wasn’t really about hope. Trudeau ran a sniveling, weak, and laughable campaign.

      • The Doctor says:

        I agree, I think 2015 was mostly a reaction against Harper. And that anti-Harper vote coalesced around Trudeau as the campaign wore on.

        • Doc,

          Bingo, at least for maybe 80-90 of the anti-CPC vote. The other thing was, of course, nostalgia for P-E-T and Justin’s status as a relatively fresh face, given that Michael had low-balled him in the parliamentary pecking order. (What did Ignatieff know that the rest of us didn’t? LOL.)

    • Douglas W says:

      Go with fear, when you’re losing large.

      Libs down to their last bullet.

  6. Doug says:

    Can’t both be motivators? For example, my biggest concern is, has always been and always will be constraining government borrowing. Therefore, I fear politicians that support increased government scope, are sympathetic to public sector unions and who don’t implement fiscal accountability (ex. increasing health or education spending without it being contigent on producing specific results). I have hope in politicians that acknowledge some form of austerity is desirable and inevitiable.

  7. Steve T says:

    Yep, the Libs have definitely decided to go the Fear route. Our local candidate (Terry Duguid) has, on his signs, the phrase “Vote Healthcare” prominently at the top. Because I guess all his opponents will eliminate healthcare??

    Sadly, Mr. Duguid is notorious for preying on the new immigrant families that are a large segment of this riding. And many of his signs are in their yards. You can only imagine what wild tales of fear he is spinning at the doorstep; knowing full well that many of them speak limited English, and come from countries where these fears are legitimate.

  8. Douglas W says:

    EOT, borrowing from the Liberal ’93 election playbook.

    Ideas and hope.

    No wonder the guy’s in the lead.

  9. J.Ph. Brunet says:

    6 pm, Friday 27th
    Ekos: Tories lead in BC, Alberta, Prairies, Ontario. Close to the Bloc for 2nd in QC. Behind Liberals in Atlantic, but were ahead yesterday; region continues to be volatile.
    Ekos: National vote intention Tory 34.5, Liberal 29.0. Yikes.
    338: Vote tied. Tories projected to be about 8 seats behind, which means only have to flip four. Huge margin of error.
    Uninformed way-out-on-a-limb opinion: Trudeau is hemorrhaging charisma. Justin-o-mania is as dead as a doorknob. Main beneficiary is Singh, but key is that O’Toole hasn’t hurt himself.
    Group Discussion: How will being crushed affect Trudeau’s brainbone in the long run?

    • JPB,

      Like so many of his contemporaries, this Prime Minister is all ego, pride and self-absorption. It’ll hurt hard. As a humanitarian, I can send him the name of my psychiatrist. (And it isn’t Dr. Lewis Fielding.)

  10. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Mainstreet: Conservatives +6

    Nanos: Conservatives +1

    I’m cautious about EKOS and Mainstreet, unless it can be demonstrated that the Trudeau Liberals are in free-fall. You know what they say about hitting rock bottom with 34 days still to go. In short, don’t take ’em as Gospel, at least not yet.

  11. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    NANOS: Conservatives +3

  12. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    What kind of a party leader takes all or part of the weekend off smack in the middle of an election campaign that HE HIMSELF CALLED? Answer: a party leader with no judgment to say the very least…

    His long-suffering candidates must be pleased as punch. So typical of the outgoing prime minister.

  13. Shane says:

    I don’t condone it in any way, but I can’t help but think that JT has had a part in bringing the protests that caused the cancellation of his recent rally upon himself. He hasn’t governed for all Canadians, but has continually used wedge issues to divide and polarize, playing to his base in select ridings/areas in a an effort to win a strategic vote. Much the way Trump did. He has done the exact opposite of seeking to unify Canada. This to me is NOT a PM that has the best interests of Canada at heart (As evidenced by calling a vanity election in a pandemic).

    The Conservatives won the popular vote last time. I think it will be hard to count the Liberals out until we see the Conservatives maintain their positive gains, and see some softening of the Liberal base with polling for the Liberals dropping and staying below 30%, and more “safe” Liberal ridings becoming battlegrounds. Until then I think a repeat of 2019 may still be a possibility.

    • Phil in London says:

      Yup I agree but that’s the liberal way. When they aren’t fighting among themselves they are the masters of divisiveness and have been ever since the Mulroney coalition broke apart.
      I don’t fault Chrétien for being smart and driving a huge gaping hole between the new Bloc and Reform parties while devastating the PCs but I do believe his victories sowed the seeds for hateful politics in Canada.
      We’ve got a lot of hate filled politics but with an evil genius we prospered.
      Now this same formula in the hands of this childish narcissist twit and he can’t see that others find his virtue signalling offensive.
      For the first time this election he got something right. The anger is at a peak. I think a difference between those who hated his dad, or Chrétien, Mulroney or Harper was that those four though not perfect at least didn’t scoff at accusations of wrong with a smirk and a shrug that reeks of entitlement. Well maybe not his daddy.

      • Phil in London says:

        More protesters today in Cambridge. Seems people don’t respect a leader who doesn’t respect others. Those who don’t accept his opinion as gospel are minimized and mocked I wonder if he is experiencing this differently than the people who want him it would seem dead?

        Look for trudeau and turtle to become synonymous as he crawls back in his shell and only shows his face in Liberal bastions.

        I’m not one to admire protesters for any cause. I do understand that frustration is peaking.

  14. Gilbert says:

    The Conservatives are ahead in Cape Breton. This is simply astounding. A solidly Liberal area could go to the Conservatives. They’re also doing very well in Frederiction, a seat the Green Party won last time. It’s still early, but it seems the Conservatives are doing well.

  15. Pedant says:

    What the hell is going on? Mainstreet has the Conservative up 10 points!

    Warren I’m very much looking forward to your next podcast. Have you ever seen such a quick and dramatic turnaround? Is there any way to guess, based on your experience, whether this is sustainable or whether we’re seeing a CPC peak?

    I have to imagine the next few weeks won’t be as smooth for O’Toole as the previous two. Something or other will happen to push the CPC off their game.

    CPC: 38%
    LPC: 28%
    NDP: 19%
    BQ: 7%
    PPC: 5%
    GPC: 2%

    Mainstreet Research / August 28, 2021 / n=1798 / MOE 2.3% / IVR

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      Two things come to mind: first, hopefully we’re still running an underdog’s campaign and second, I consider this poll at the very least to be frothy. I will need substantive and sustained confirmation from other companies before I buy this kind of a “breakout”. It just doesn’t feel right this early in the campaign.

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