30 August 2011

Dead Robots in Heat

So the old poll goosing habit dies hard.

There’s the robot poll goosing of the Question of the Day at Voice of the Cabinet Minister. Think about it:  such a habit, they’ve now automated the process.

And in its editorial on the last Monday in August, the Telegram editorialist reminds us all of another old poll goosing habit the provincial Conservatives have:

Cheers: to numbers and money. Maybe you like Lotto 6-49 or LottoMax. Here’s a set of monied numbers for you to choose from: 29, 30, 39, 23, 19, 32 and 43. Those are the weekly numbers of funding announcements (and announcements of pending funding announcements) made by the provincial government as it staggers along under the weight of its campaign cash backpack. This past week has marked the heaviest handouts to date, with money for everything from turbot to rock-climbing to airline subsidies. Premier Kathy Dunderdale pointed out recently that past governments made announcements right up to the start of the official campaign. “I’m not going to do that,” Dunderdale told reporters. “By the end of the month, these announcements will conclude.” Nice to know there is a scheduled end to the non-pre-election spending program.

Yes, friends, the government’s pollster is in the field in August and so it is time for the quarterly gush of money announcements all in an effort to ensure the governing Tories’ polling numbers stay up.

The intensity of the activity this summer, though, stands out.  It stands out because they Tories seem to be trying to prop up the last media poll before the fall election.  The party has been having an especially bad time since Danny Williams left them unexpectedly – and rather hurriedly – last December.

Kathy Dunderdale’s popularity numbers are low. They are slow low and the trending is such that any further drop would really start to shift public perceptions of the election outcome in October.  They might not be quite so willing to accept that the ruling Tories are guaranteed of a majority if Dunderdale’s numbers in August continue the downward slide.

The media might not be able to ignore the trending.

You see, even aside from the year long trending downward for the Tory polling numbers, the change in Liberal leader, the disastrous Muskrat Falls review report and/or or the orgy of coverage of Jack Layton’s funeral might cause a shift of its own.

Get that story  - that Dunderale is in trouble - running around in September and see what happens. That prospect likely frightens the living crap out of the Tory party campaign managers.

Heck, it would frighten any political insider no matter what the party.

And it will definitely scare the crap out of Kathy Dunderdale.  Her length of time as Premier is inversely proportional to the number of seats she loses in October.  The fewer she loses, the longer she can stay.

If she drops below 34 seats in total  – the magic number for some local politicos – you can expect Dunderdale to go within 18 months.

With that on the line, there’s no wonder that the Tory party poll goosing efforts are in some sort of manic overdrive this month.

- srbp -