Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the power of perception

Nate Silver cites an interesting Gallup poll re perceptions of Fed chief Ben Bernanke.

What is interesting is that a very significant number of people seem to have changed their views of Bernanke from 2008 to 2009. What´s different between 2008 and 2009 for those who self-identify as Democrats or Republicans? The White House. Ergo, now "we" are in charge, for Dems, and "they" are in charge, for GOP voters. If there has been a substantial change of policy views on the part of Bernanke, I have not heard of it.

This holds an important lesson for why the Alberta Tories are so hard to unseat in Alberta. For a serious threat to materialize, many Albertans would have to conclude that "they" are in charge, and "we" are not. I don't see that happening soon... Stelmach will often take a rhetorical jab at "Ottawa" but never the "Harper Conservatives". Never mind that these two terms refer to the same thing: federal policy. "Ottawa" is THEM whereas the "Harper Conservatives" (to many Albertans) is US. Stelmach won't even go so far as to object to equalization, because many Albertans see equalization as a "Canadian" program and "Canadian" is US.

Over the last decade, there has nary been a union demand or a spending request that the Alberta P"C" has not accomodated with no less enthusiasm that the most explicitly "socialist" of social democratic parties. Yet this has not stopped Stelmach from warning of "socialism" and condemning it. After all, "socialists" are THEM.

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