03 May 2011

St. John’s South-Mount Pearl: some first observations #elxn41

  1. Jack Layton is the new member of parliament for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl.  Remember those signs?  It wasn’t an accident the most visible sign was Jack Layton four bys.
  2. Strategic plan.  Well-executed.  The NDP targeted this riding at a national level and drove the local plan according to the national need.  Their local communications materials played down the local candidate and played up the key messages that nationally targeted the issues research showed were important.  The local radio spots were classic local NDP:  top quality in every respect, right down to only mentioning the candidate when they had to.  otherwise they were right on the strategic point.
  3. Warning:  Steep learning curve ahead.  Ryan Cleary may be the guy in the seat but there is no guarantee he understands how he got there.  His first media comments – talking about a provincial orange tide in October – tells you he has no idea who voted for him and why.  His second comments about priorities – fisheries inquiry – shows he really doesn’t have a clue as to how he got there.  This guy could be an accident waiting to happen.
  4. You can’t hide him forever.  The follow-on to that is a warning to New Democrats that they can’t keep Ryan under wraps forever. In the run-up to the election, he didn’t have a platform to give him a high profile and with it his characteristic propensity to say things he inevitably would regret. That was a key to winning the seat.  The NDP brain trust better work hard on Number Three and hope it works before Number Four cuts in.  Go back and watch him during any of the debates during the campaign and you’ll see what an up-hill fight someone will have to get this guy ready for the Big Time.
  5. Everyone missed it.  Outside of the campaigns, no one likely had a clue on voter trending in the riding.  Your humble e-scribbler ran with the pack on this one, labelling it a race that was too close to call.  We all got it wrong. 
  6. The Blue Goes Orange.  What we all missed was the extent to which people who usually voted Conservative in the riding headed off to the NDP.  Not only did the Liberals lose votes, another block of voters who sat out in 2008 came back with a vengeance and headed for the NDP and Conservatives.   But it is important to know that Coady held the core Liberal vote over time.  What she lost were obviously the blue people who, especially in 2008 followed orders and went for the Liberals.  Left to their own devices they flooded to the Orange Team.
  7. The NDH Play was a bust.  Remember what your humble e-scribbler said about provincial Tories not playing the Dunderdale game?  Well, here’s your proof.  If the awesome Tory machine in SJSMP had really backed the federal Cons with the vengeance some people would have you believe they did, then they could have elected the lead from Weekend at Bernies.  As it is, Loyola Sullivan tanked badly.
  8. Look what happened last time.  Siobhan Coady was as organized as she has ever been and as aggressive as she could get.  Her campaign team deserves kudos for their efforts on the ground.  Unfortunately, Siobhan doesn’t seem to have figured out who she was really running against, ever.  Her messaging made that pretty clear what with the recycled 2008 talking points.  It’s really too bad.  Siobhan could have made a significant mark.

- srbp -