Polls will certainly cause madness if we follow them too closely, especially at this phase of the campaign.
I will admit though, seeing the SES numbers this morning left me somewhat baffled. How are these numbers possible when Paul Martin is playing hide-and-seek with the media and while Stephen Harper is releasing positive policy day-by-day?
Perhaps the Liberal Party is doing better in the polls because Mr. Martin isn’t in the public eye? In a somewhat parallel argument to Jason’s own explanation, perhaps Mr. Martin is such a turn-off for Canadian voters that his hiding in Stephen Harper’s shadow has helped Canadians forget the Great Ditherer and thus have helped increase Liberal polling numbers?
In fact, Conservative ads prominently feature Stephen Harper while Liberal ads mysteriously have Mr. Martin absent. While Mr. Harper’s presence hasn’t hurt Conservative numbers, Mr. Martin’s absence seems to have helped the Liberals in the SES poll.
My take on the stalling Tory numbers in the SES poll is that Canadians are still measuring all of the policies that the Conservatives are offering. There are certainly two policies in these early days that I’m certain will be echoed throughout the entire campaign: Stephen Harper’s 2% GST cut and the Conservative offer of choice in childcare.
Canadians know that the Liberals have lied to them over and over about the GST and their assessment of the Liberals is only fortified by the Adscam revelations that we heard this year. Canadians are more likely to believe the Conservatives on the issue of tax reduction than the Liberals, and are more likely to trust parents to choose how to raise their own children, rather than go for Mr. Martin’s proposed boondoggle-in-the-waiting. We’ve seen how the Liberals have butchered the healthcare system. Can we now trust them to create another bureaucracy?
Most of us in the blogosphere are all too eager to rush to interpret daily polling of respondents whom aren’t as fixated on the fine points and drama of politics. Mr. Harper is releasing a tremendous amount of good policy for Canadians, policy which they will need time to interpret. Stephen Harper is building the foundations of his campaign in these early days. When faced with the choice between twelve Liberal years of waste, mismanagement and corruption and a solid outline for Conservative change, I’m confident that the voters will have an easy choice – a choice for change – to make in the only poll that counts on January 23rd.
UPDATE: (and another thing) You’ll notice that the Liberal rise in the SES poll is at the expense of the NDP, as the Conservatives have remained steady.