Back from the brink, for now

My most recent entry at Presented here is only the first paragraph of the leading story. For the rest, please visit the site.

December 5, 2008

In case you hadn’t heard, Canada’s politicians are leaving Ottawa for seven weeks. Yesterday, Governor-General Michaëlle Jean allowed Prime Minister Stephen Harper to prorogue Parliament. And after the Big Seven weathered what seemed like an eternity without a national poll to gossip about, today they spilled oodles of ink on several telling surveys. It turns out that had Jean dissolved Parliament – just one potential conclusion to the political predicament of days past – the opposition parties would have entered a campaign at a surprisingly significant disadvantage. The polls, released by Ipsos Reid, the Strategic Counsel, and Ekos, all bestow upon Harper numbers that comfortably sit in “majority territory” – 46, 45, and 44 percent support, respectively. And on a range of other questions about the economy and leadership, only Quebec is overtly dissatisfied with Harper. The National, the Globe, the Post, the Citizen, and even La Presse put a lot of stock in today’s numbers. But a closer reading of these polls suggests that their reliability is entirely questionable. Respondents were sampled in the middle of the most bizarre political storyline in at least a couple of generations. As is the case during election campaigns, the more telling numbers will come after voters have a few days and weeks to think about things. Every political leader made some very serious decisions that will undoubtedly, in most cases, have serious consequences.


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