Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pay Attention, It’s All About the Numbers, and

“The Answer is 42”*

Swann, Stelmach or Smith, Albertans have a dilemma.

The numbers are in and the pundits are wildly sifting through the primordial ooze trying to predict the future.

Stelmach receives 77.4% support for his leadership from the people who live on his island. This means 1 of every 4 want him off the island.

Who cares; certainly the Tory Party doesn’t appear to.

Hell, I got
78% support in a recent Herald opinion poll from a similar number of responders and I’m still here.

But given recent poll information from Janet Brown of Environics Research Group, a woman this blogger has a tremendous respect for, the Tories should be more receptive to change when only
34% of decided voters agree they will vote for the Tories.

However, this Party, in one form or another has been in power in Alberta for more than
37 years and that in itself creates a thought process far removed from the hopes, dreams and needs of the people in the cities, towns and farms of this province.

Swann had a fundraising dinner Nov. 6th and 500 people showed up to gently place money in the coffers of the Alberta Liberal Party. The Party is jubilant and well they should be. Organizers suggest this is the largest turnout since the Decore era.

But what of the numbers given to the Liberals by decided voters,
20% as reported by the same pollster, Janet Brown, as recent as October of this year, good for third place.

A month before in the Calgary-Glenmore by-election decided voters gave them
34%. Yes we can make an argument that this was a by-election, blah, blah, blah.

The point is that the Party ran a candidate with a message from the political centre and came within a heartbeat of winning in what was considered an historic Tory stronghold.

Smith received 77% of the vote in her leadership victory in October and now the smug Ms. Smith believes she should be the Premier come the next election.

Already decided voters are placing her Party, the Wildrose Alliance, at
28%, second place to the leading Tories as reported by Brown in the same poll discussed earlier.

Opposition parties claim that as soon as Albertans discover the TC’s (True Conservatives) as the Wildrose describe themselves, they will turn and run from supporting the so-called religious right and neo-conservative platform of the Wildrose Alliance Party.

But let me paraphrase from one of my favourite movies and one of the important statements from that movie, “in the absence of real leadership people will follow anyone.”

Albertans are looking for leadership and they will take Smith in the absence of a change in Swann. We see Swann trying to change course but the people controlling the sails don’t know how to tack.

Stelmach in his speech in Red Deer claimed his messages are fine but the media cannot understand what he is saying.

The liberals appear to adhere to the same belief, if only they had more money, if only the media understood them, etc….

The facts are simple; the people of Alberta do not get the Liberals. They do not understand where they come from and who David Swann is, but with a change in direction, Swann could surprise everyone.

Why, because the issues that matter most to Albertans are Liberal issues.

Issue #1 - Health Care:
In a Nanos Research poll dated Nov. 4th,
90% of Canadians support public health care with no perceivable change by Region. They want to see it strengthened; they do not want to see it cut and destroyed.

I said in an earlier piece, the Tories will move to defend their right flank against the Wildrose and if the Liberals can manage to move to and hold the centre surprises will abound.

One of the most important numbers in all of this is
60%, those people in Alberta elections who choose not to vote because there is no one who represents them, discover a connection and the rest will be history.

second most important Ultimate Question; Can the Liberals do it?

The answer to
the Ultimate Question is 42.

* Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything (42) from ‘The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy’


  1. Janet Brown, Janet Brown Consulting Ltd.November 9, 2009 at 10:32 AM

    Thanks for the vote of confidence Donn!

    I just wanted to clarify that I don't currently work for Environics and should not get credit for the poll that was published in the Herald and the Journal last week. But, as a former employee of Environics, I can certainly vouch for the quality and accuracy of their polling.

    I did run the Environics numbers through my own seat projection model and concluded that, had an election been held in Alberta in late October, the Tories would have won 42-44 seats. In other words, they were hovering between majority and minority status.

    Credit for the Environics poll should go to Tony Coulson, their VP of Public Affairs. Blame for the seat projections should go to me.

  2. Apologies to Tony Coulson, thanks for the correction Janet, coffee some time for political junkie conversation?