Polls! Bah Humbug!
Polls! Ignore them, I always say. The mistake too many people make is reading political machinations based on what the polls say should be happening. Case in point: many prognosticators are today saying Michael Ignatieff is nuts top want an election – hasn’t he seen the polls?
The answer of course is, yes he’s seen the polls. He has seen the Liberal party tracking polls, and he has information that you or I don’t have. Ignore the Ipsos Reid poll from last week that says Conservatives 39, LIberals 28. Useless. Instead, note the performers in the political drama. Michael Ignatieff is screaming for an election, Stephen Harper and his cabinet are saying, “it’s no time for an election.” Do you really believe if their internal polls were saying Conservatives 39, Liberals 28 that Stephen Harper would be sounding so offended at the idea of an election. He’s not that good an actor, if Stephen Harper believed Ipsos Reid, he’d be downright giddy today.
Now maybe Ignatieff has Joe Clarkian political instincts, maybe, just maybe, he’s that politically naive. And maybe he’s brilliant, and this is a gambit to force the NDP, at 14% in the Ipsos Reid, to back the Conservatives, to force them to take the flack that the Liberals have taken the last two years. If that’s what this is, and the NDP bites and backs the Conservatives, this is a very good move for Ignatieff.
Does either option really sound right. Does Ignatieff strike you as that dumb? Or has he demonstrated that much political savvy before? More likely, based on Ignatieff’s speech, Harpers response, and even Jack Layton’s softening of his stance against the Conservatives (and who will be fighting Ignatieff’s Liberals for every vote more so than the Conservatives), that the real polls, the inside polls, are saying something much different than Ipsos Reid.