Thursday, September 20, 2007

Liberals didn’t lower expectations enough

Look for McGuinty’s ads to turn more negative – soon

Wow. I just watched the Ontario leaders’ debate, and Dalton McGuinty came off even worse than the carefully-lowered expectations set by his spinners. He was defensive, shrill, and looked like he was about to cry most of the time. He frequently “turtled” – looked down at his own chest to avoid the gaze of his opponents and the cameras. Even in the post-debate newser, McGuinty was nervous. It was not his night.

John Wright of Ipsos-Reid was on CP24 for the post-mortem, and all but said John Tory won the debate, though he may have gone over the top near the end. If Tory came off that way, it was primarily because McGuinty looked so weak and kept backing away from debating him. Wright also commended Tory for using his post-debate newser to keep driving his campaign messages.

Of course, much will depend on how the media spins the night, but I don’t see how McGuinty can salvage much from this. If they drop below the 40% poll figure they’ve managed to sustain thus far, they will start running ads that are more overtly negative than McGuinty’s current passive-aggressive sermons. When that happens, they will cede the moral high ground they’ve claimed for themselves. Then the real descent will begin.


Leslie said...

Dalton performed horribly. Watching him squirm tonight, I can't believe I voted for him last time.

Anonymous said...

I agree that McGuinty was awful. However seems Lorrie Goldstein thought otherwise.

I also think that Tory missed several opportunities to smackdown the education premier. Particularly on his claim that "test scores have gone up". Nope. That really IS a lie. The EQAO scores released this week show that the test scores have either flatlined or gone down. If you factor in that the tests have been dumbed down into that equation, our students are doing worse under this government with a lower bar than they were doing under the conservatives. In the last years of the Tory gov't the scores were increasing.

Totally Tory said...

Probably the worst news for McGuinty last night was the fact that Hampton showed up and was reasonably effective. John Tory's vote is holding remarkably steady -- McGuinty's only hope of squeaking out a win is by working that tried and true Liberal trick of frightening NDP voters into the fold in the last few days. If Hampton firms up his vote, McGuinty has no growth potential, and can't possibly win a majority.

For John Tory, a minority government is suddenly within reach. If he can get to within a couple points of the Liberals in the horse race numbers, and win his fair share of the close ones on election night, he could quite easily form a minority.

A couple of facts to keep in mind:

- The PCs generally poll a couple of points higher on election day than they do in any of the run up polls. This is pretty consistent with most centre-right parties.

- The Liberals waste a lot of votes in the 416, meaning that John Tory could lose the popular vote by a point or two, and still form a minority government. Keep in mind that 22 years ago, Frank Miller actually won a plurality of seats despite losing the popular vote to David Peterson. This is back when the urban/rural split was far less pronounced than it is today.