Anyone who was wondering why the Tories ramped up the attacks on the NDP this week can now find the answer. The clue to the future is that the Tory attacks were pathetically weak and ineffective. Rather than deliver a killer virus, all the Tories did was help the NDP build up their immune system.
The news: the provincial Conservatives had the support of 34% of respondents in the last Corporate Research Associates poll, about 11 percentage points ahead of the provincial New Democrats.
These are numbers you get if you take out the CRA skew of talking only about decideds. Here’s a picture of the party choice numbers, including the undecideds since last year, just so we are all on the same page.
That black line is the undecideds.
Now here’s what it all means.
The Tories have a political problem. They’ve dropped about 12 percentage points since last November. That’s a slide of about 26% of their support. to put it in context, for you, the Tories are now showing the same level of support in CRA polls that they actually got in last fall’s election. Back then, they got 32% of eligible voters. That was good enough for a majority but it was a long way form anything stable and comfortable.
They have dropped not because they’ve had difficult times but because of the way they handled those difficulties. They have handled them badly.
That’s the down side.
The upside is that they have a chance to fix things. They get that chance because the most recent bleed of support didn’t go to the NDP. It went to the “undecided”.
The Dippers have climbed from 18%, through 20 and 22% to reach 23% in the latest poll. They are plateaued.
But the trend is decidedly downward for the Tories. They need to realise they are in a hole and start to work their way out. So far they don’t show any signs of realising they have a problem. Thursday afternoon’s Twitter exchanges are proof of another point: the Tories still think they can act as arrogantly as they did in Danny’s day and get away with it. They can guess again on that one. Their crap does stink.
The risk for the Tories is that they have a bunch of things from Corner Brook to their own fiscal problems to Muskrat Falls that can kill them. In the short term things will get darker anyway, but if they keep frigging up as they have been doing, then the risk is that those people who were undecided will pick NDP.
They won’t pick Liberal.
The Liberals are irrelevant.
And if the NDP make some minor changes to their approach, they might help accelerate the Tory decline.