Friday, January 20, 2006

Liberal Joementum

Remember the glory days of Joementum? When a 5th place finish in the New Hampshire primary was described by Connecticut's Senator as a "tie for third" and signs of his impending rise. Other than some spectacular punning, this so-called joementum was merely a figment of the imagination.

Fast forward to Canada's campaign, 2006. Based on the inevitable fluctuation in polls, Liberals desperate for any good news have latched onto the recent "dips" in Conservative support numbers as evidence of a impending comeback. While anything can still happen, four thoughts:

(1) You have to love the Globe and Mail headline today. That might be exhibit one in any political science course on how the media can almost artificially construct a narrative.

(2) Polls at this stage are highly unreliable and unstable. Recall last election campaign, as Let it Bleed said on December 13th:
Go down to the months and weeks preceding the June 2004 election. The polls, in retrospect, are laughable: on May 14, the Liberals are headed for a "solid majority"; fifteen days later, suddenly we're looking at a minority government; then the polls are "neck and neck" and "on the razor's edge"; then, miraculously, Stephen Harper was "poised to be PM with a strong minority"; seven days later, it's "too close to call".

Final result? The Liberals won by 7.1 points. Seven points! From "too close to call" to a seven point spread? Are you kidding me? If your kitchen contractor miscut the counter-top by 7%, you'd throw his ass out the door and hit him with the too-short plank of granite. The aptly named "2004 Federal Election Polling Post Mortem" seems to argue that it was all "timing". Sure. That or polling is, as described above, inherently flawed.

So everyone, on all sides, relax when you see poll results reported. They're worth some giggles, but not much more..
(3) Isn't this all still happening in the margin of error anyway? What's the big deal?

(4) Do any Liberals ever care to reflect on how sad it is that they continue to cling to any chance at government by their fingernails, only by wild allegations against their "scary" opponents.

On that note, as for the Liberal glee at all the "secret" CPC ties to American Conservatives, enough. Enough with the conspiracy theories that as soon as the votes are in, Harper will turn over the reigns of Government to the crazies. He has every incentive to put his most moderate feet forward.

After 12 years of the Liberals, he has earned the chance. Then he can prove that he isn't going to bring back abortion or otherwise eat children, and the desperate attacks can cease being the focus of our election campaigns. Or so it is hoped.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Isn't this all still happening in the margin of error anyway? What's the big deal?

If they're ahead by six points, and the margin of error is three points, that's not "within the margin of error." The statistical signficance of their lead is not in question. http://www.nodice.ca/elections/canada/polls.php

1:19 PM  
Blogger James MacDuff said...

Sorry, should clarify that I meant the CHANGES in the polls were still basically within the margin.

I agree the significance of the lead is plainly obvious. Indeed, I think that was the point in finding the Liberal enthusiasm to be misplaced.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Jason Cherniak said...

As a blogging campaigner, I do not have a lot of choice about the message. I can only make the best of it.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> that was the point in finding the Liberal enthusiasm to be misplaced.

Agree on that, and agree that Globe headline today was laughable.

3:04 PM  

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