Thursday, October 8, 2009

Poll puts Conservatives in majority territory. Is it time for a coalition?

The latest poll by Strategic Counsel put the Conservatives in majority territory.
  • Conservatives: 41 per cent (+6)
  • Liberals, 28 per cent (-2)
  • NDP: 14 per cent (none)
  • Green Party: 9 per cent (none)
  • Bloc Quebecois: 9 per cent (-3)
Someone in on Canadian politics community suggested that the Liberals and NDP should run in the next election with the intent of forming a coalition. Their logic was a Liberal/NDP government would be better than what there is now and 41% Conservatives is one point less than 42% support for Liberals + NDP. Below is my response.

Without getting into the merits of a coalition government the reality of FPTP make this a poor decision for the Liberal and NDP.

First of all it would require an efficient ABC campaign where every vote in every riding is dedicated to a candidate that would beat the Conservatives.

It would require Iggy to campaign on the fact he can't beat Harper. This is a sign of weak leadership that would be unappetizing to voters.

A major problem in countries with pure PR and guaranteed coalitions government, is that voters never know what they are voting for. The issues that draw a person to a party may be the ones that get bartered away in the quest for power. While this is the current state of the Liberal platform, the differences between the parties should become cleared during an election. Voting for the ABC candidate takes away the ability for a voter to express their preference for differences Liberal or NDP policy.

The right side of the political spectrum were unable to defeat the Liberals due to vote splitting. Their merger helped put them on equal footing with the Liberals. A formal Liberal/NDP merger or the collapse of the BQ are the only realistic way to win an election on the basis of "We don't like the Conservatives" How important are the differences between the two parties? That is a strategic decision for the parties to make.

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