Sunday, March 04, 2007

Polls And The Politics Of Spin

SES, my favourite pollster, has released a new poll today. I have to say it is a bit of a disappointment because it does not include voting intentions. What it is instead is a reading of Canada's "comfort" level about the idea of a Conservative majority. Take a look at the poll chart here. Take a good look at it because there will be a quiz later.

This poll, like all polls, come with its own spin, courtesy of the MSM and the blogging community. Greg Weston, in the Sun, admits:
Since the first SES-Sun Media poll in August last year, the latest survey found little change nationally in how voters feel about the possibility of a Conservative majority government -- the percentages of those comfortable and uncomfortable with the idea are roughly equal.
Which is true, there has been no statistically significant shift in opinion on this question since August. Then Weston decides to take a trip to spinland.
But SES head Nik Nanos, one of Canada's most respected political analysts, says the fact almost half of Quebec voters polled said they would be okay with a Tory majority is good news for the Conservatives, and potentially terrible news for the Liberals.

"Even though Quebecers aren't saying they are voting Conservative, these numbers provide a comfort scale that suggests they could support Harper -- he is no longer the boogeyman," Nanos notes.
While it is true that Tory numbers are somewhat better in Quebec, a majority of Quebecers are still uncomfortable with the idea of a Tory majority. Talk about accentuating the positive. Why did Weston zero in on Quebec? Good question, one I wish I could ask him, because if you look at the other regional numbers, the Tory numbers are trending down in both Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

So why choose to emphasize this one bit of good news? Well, it fits into the new conventional wisdom in Ottawa, that Harper is unbeatable and everyone should just give up and vote in a Tory majority. I take my hat off to the Tory machine, they have worked tirelessly to create this conventional wisdom. Shame on the MSM for swallowing it so easily.
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