Why is the Conservative Party of Canada Popping in the Polls?

2015-08-20.jpgIt is a little mind boggling to a lot of folks that despite all that has happened so far in the 2015 federal election, Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada continue to stay up in the polls. 

The latest polls in aggregate have the Conservatives slightly ahead at 32%, with the Liberal in second at 30% and the NDP at 27%. Really when it comes to margins of error it is a dead heat, or at the least for the Liberals and the Conservatives. 

Now putting aside the fact that I actually put almost no faith in modern polling techniques, I am still a little baffled that the Conservative Party of Canada is still polling so prominently. Any one of an economic recession, corruption charges or a refugee crisis should spell disaster for any party, in any election, in almost any democratic country. 

But the Conservatives are holding despite experiencing all three of these death knells. 

So what is going on? How is the Conservative Party of Canada holding on? I have two insights (please take them for what they are worth).

 

Silent Conservatives

The first theory was provided to me by a Project Democracy member on our Facebook page (shout out to Karen Musgrove!) In a nutshell the "silent conservative" theory is that there is so much negative press that those who are planning to vote Conservative are just not being very vocal about it. So they are telling pollsters who they are voting for, but publicly they are not talking to their friends and not outwardly showing their support. This would explain things like why the #cdnpoli and #elxn42 Twitter feeds are so overwhelmingly filled with anti-Harper sentiment and why us politicos are not hearing much support for Harper in the coffee shops and pubs (which I put much more faith in than any poll). 

Distribution

The other possible reason for Harper riding high in the polls despite a disastrous campaign thus far is that the Conservative vote is just concentrating and getting stronger in regions of the country that are their most likely supporters - namely Alberta and the Prairies. As we all know, it is not how popular that matters in Canada's first-past-the-post system, but where you are popular. If it is the case that Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada are just getting more popular in places where they are already popular, then that is the end of the Conservative era. 

Those are just two theories. There are lots more out there for sure. Would love to hear yours! Leave a comment and share below!

The amazing editorial cartoon was created by Editorial Cartoonist Graeme Mackay.

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