Polly’s day at the races
As you may know, Polly has politics in her DNA. Which is why she’s been taking Canada’s pulse in the last few months just to observe the ebb and flow of the population as talk about federal elections float about in the ether. No doubt, backroom strategists and political pundits alike are looking for that magic window in time when a vote is likely to favour their party over the others. But in a horserace involving a minority government, Polly thinks that the Liberals are in a delicate position. As we’re seeing with Newfoundland’s provincial elections, voting during a pandemic is not only seen as a hazardous activity but it’s scaring poll workers so much that many of them are walking off the job.
But what if the timing is just right for the Liberals to get a majority in the House? Polly sees a definite penchant among Canadians for another Liberal government, perhaps even a majority one, but what’s important to note is that, while Polly excels at gauging voter intent and sentiment, she can’t predict the future. And like the Schrödinger’s cat thought-exercise, the mere act of calling an election could tilt Liberal sympathy in the wrong direction. Last month, Polly forecast the Liberals winning between 147 and 195 seats if an election were held on January 13th. Since then, Liberal popularity has slipped, losing two seats. Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives failed to capitalize on that; Polly’s observations suggest a three seat decline for the Conservatives with the NDP picking up 3 seats and the PQ grabbing the remaining two ridings. Depending on whether that trend is maintained or not, the Liberals may want to put the election machinery idling for now.
For politicians, there are too many actors at play to predict where sentiment will go when the election is finally called. What effect will COVID worries and talk about vaccines have on voters? If the Liberals think that the vaccine situation will be better in a few months, they might want to bank on a Spring election. On the other hand, if they believe the COVID situation will worsen and vaccine shipments might be delayed or derailed, then they might want to pull the plug and take their shot at a majority now. One thing is fairly certain though: Polly doesn’t see a Conservative government anytime soon.
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