Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Separatists Hit Panique Button
This last weekend has been particularly unnerving to those in the sovereignist movement and since the news dropped that two out of the three major polling firms have placed the Ndp ahead of the Bloc Quebecois, confusion and panic has set in.
Although Duceppe has started to attack Layton, the NDP leader appears to have a latex exterior and so far the political attacks have bounced harmlessly off the dapper politician. Let's be honest, it's hard to demonize Jack Layton.
The Conservatives have taken a much more subtle approach, likening Layton to an affectionate old uncle, loved and appreciated but not to be trusted with the family wallet.
One of the most sacrosanct beliefs held by expert Quebec-watchers is that support for sovereignty and independence has a bedrock base of about 30%.
It has become an accepted fact that this 30% will remain militant sovereignists come hell or high water and will always vote for the sovereignist option, just as it is accepted that about 45% of Quebeckers will always vote for the federalist option, again, no matter what.
Commodity traders describe a 'resistance line', or a 'trading range' to refer to a product like pork bellies or frozen orange juice's traditional price range.
When the product 'breaks out' either above or below this range, it becomes a wildly unpredictable affair and the so-called 'experts' throw up their hands and watch the unfolding scenario, unable to realistically predict the final outcome.
If recent polls are to be believed, support for the Bloc Quebecois has fallen below the critical 30% level, with the EKOS poll and IPSOS-REID poll both putting the Bloc support at 27%. In fairness, a third poll done by NANOS pegs the Bloc support at 32%. LINK
It is important to note that about 70% of Bloc voters (or former Bloc voters) indicate that the Ndp is their second choice and with the Liberals floundering in Quebec rather helplessly, it's also hard to see a Bloc voter going anywhere else but the Ndp, the Conservatives certainly not an option.
So why the change of heart?
Anyone who claims they have the answer is Monday morning quarterback.
No doubt there is a bandwagon effect going on, similar to the one a couple of years ago that saw the ADQ make a giant provincial election breakthrough, also at the separatist's expense.
But since then, things have fallen back to normal with the Pq and the Liberals holding the majority of support and seats provincially.
It's fair to ask if this infatuation with Jack Layton and the Ndp is a one-off thing.
But for the moment, there's no doubt that about one-third of historical Bloc voters are looking for something else. It seems that Jack Layton has struck a cord and for many of the disillusioned, a vote for the Ndp is a well-placed and acceptable protest vote.
For the sovereignists, desperation has set in.
Yesterday morning the Bloc had brought back out of retirement, a frail yet hearty Jacques Parizeau to hit the campaign trail to inspire the troops with warnings of impending doom and gloom.
If they could, separatists would dig up the corpse of Rene Levesque, slap on a new suit and a little makeup and get Andre Philippe Gagnon to mouth his voice in a couple of well-placed TV commercials.
That's how desperate things are..
Whether the trend will hold until election day is the $64,000 question and if it does, what exactly the effect on the actual election will be is an open question. The new Ndp support is so diffused that whether it can make a difference in more than a few ridings is questionable.
It will however, help secure the fortunes of Quebec Tory incumbents who were thought to be in danger due to the arena fiasco. It will undoubtedly, help Conservative independent MP, Andre Arthur save his seat as well as Justin Trudeau.
As for the rest, there aren't more than a half dozen close races and whether the Ndp surge can take more than a projected two seats in Quebec, remains to be seen.
Interestingly, the big Ndp bump seems to be an exclusively Francophone affair and although no hard statistics are available, I don't think Jack Layton's new found strength translates into the English community. If it did, it would be good news for at least two Conservative candidates, Larry Smith and Saulie Zajdel, both who need some help to overcome traditional Liberal support to have any hope of winning.
At the end of the day, whether the Bloc returns to Ottawa with thirty seats or fifty seats is of little consequence if Harper gets his majority government.
That remains the overriding concern for Quebec nationalists who rightfully consider this the overriding matter at hand.
I'm off to the Canadiens game tonight with my son and so I hope readers will wish us LUCK!!!!
To the Vancouver Canucks and their fans, I hope all works out for you guys later tonight!
KEEP THE FAITH!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by Editor on 4/26/2011 12:01:00 AM