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Nanos Has No Idea

September 13, 2010

Pollster Nik Nanos, who gets quoted in the media because he runs a polling firm, has no idea what his statistics about Canadians means.  His latest poll shows that Canadians are fed up with minority government and have no faith in any of the leaders or parties.  True.  Apparently Mr. Nanos thinks this means that we are all ready to vote in a majority government once again….because, what else could possibly happen?

He says the “minority experiment” is almost over:

“We’ve had six years of minority government. Perhaps Canadians are going to be ready for a majority because they’re looking at what’s happening in the House of Commons and they’re not seeing a lot of progress on things.”

Mr. Nanos as well as the big media seem to have a block about this minority parliament being temporary.  How exactly is the fragmented Canadian electorate going to suddenly decide who to vote for to produce a majority?  Just because we’re fed up doesn’t mean we’re going to start voting for parties we dislike in order to get rid of a minority.  Its not even clear how that would happen.  There are many more ways that voters can switch their voting patterns and still produce a minority Liberal or Conservative government rather than shifting towards one party to produce a majority.

The questions in the poll ask about gut response questions like would it be better if MPs could vote against their leaders and if MPs were more polite in parliament; sure it would, that’d be great.  But are those really the most pressing issues out there right now about our democracy?  Why not ask people if they’d like it if the people they voted for actually got into parliament?  Why not ask them if it would be better if the Conservatives had MPs from the big cities, or if the Liberals had more MPs from the praries? Would Quebec voters like to have more than one or two token government MPs in Ottawa? Would the 1 in 10 voters who prefer the Green party like to have some representation? Wouldn’t that be good?

Or how about this question, would it be better if some of the parties worked together in parliament rather than fought against each other?  Hmm, maybe.

The high agreement levels on the questions in this poll, from all social groups and political stripes, simply shows that people are fed up with the current makeup of parliament. There is nothing there to support the idea that Canadians are “ready for a majority” meaning that the makeup of parliament would change significantly if we had an election right now.

We’re not ready because there is no viable option…yet.  Maybe we’ll never be “ready for a majority” again. If the Bloc or NDP don’t completely implode there is simply no way to return to the “good ol’ days” of one party ruling for a decade unabated.

And maybe that’s a good thing.  Maybe you should ask people what they think about that Mr. Nanos.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. JohnR permalink
    October 19, 2010 11:22 am

    I know it’s not the way to look at the political landscape, but the niggling little detail that if the Quebec Bloc votes were set aside for a moment, the ROC would have voted 57% for a Conservative majority.

    • October 19, 2010 11:46 am

      you’re right, that’s *not* the way to look at the political landscape. You can’t ‘set aside’ the Bloc votes, they’d all have to vote for someone else and those seats would have to go somewhere. And most Bloc voters would not vote Conservative.

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