Tuesday, August 18, 2009

race on for Calgary Glenmore

It appears that Travis Chase nailed it with his July 24 prediction that this byelection will be held on Monday, September 14. This is an example of good blogging; instead of just adding to the wave of opinion and political attacks that emanates from the blogosphere, in this case Travis seized on an overlooked government document and drew an inference from it that less politically experienced people might not have been able to make.

CalgaryRants also blogs helpfully in that he corrects a Calgary Herald story which claims that just "slightly more than a dozen supporters" showed up for a rally at PC candidate Diane Colley-Urquhart's campaign headquarters by stating that, in fact, "30-40 supporters" attended this "spirited affair." On the other hand, perhaps it is the Herald that is correcting CalgaryRants' claims given that the Herald story came out later! The informative value of CalgaryRants' blogpost might alternatively be this federal Conservative's exhibition of enthusiasm for the redheaded provincial PCer despite her service on the Human Rights Commissions which have interrogated right wingers for daring to cause offence by speaking freely and her saluting the "good work" of the Pembina Institute after Dan Woynillowicz went to Ottawa on behalf of Pembina in 2006 to tell the feds that they ought to be cracking down on Alberta. While it is one thing for a federal Tory supporter to fail to support the Wildrose Alliance, it is another to be enthusiastically volunteering to campaign against us. While this is just one data point, it does not bode well for the prospects of attracting disaffected PC voters.

The good news may be that the Enlightened Savage has honoured the Wildrose Alliance candidate, Paul Hinman, with a mocking attack that featured use of the most devasting rhetorical weapon available to a wordsmith, namely, spelling out the word "shame" in all caps and with 11 letter "A"s. Given that Liberal candidate Avalon Roberts is just as deserving of being painted as a "caterwauler", our anonymous PC pundit must feel that Hinman has a legitimate shot at 2nd place after his heavily favoured candidate, an outcome that I think would be huge win for the Wildrose Alliance given that the Liberals pulled in more than 4 times the votes that the Wildrose Alliance did in Calgary Glenmore last year. Aside to "strategic voters": the PCs nonetheless took this riding last year by a margin over the Liberals that more than doubled the vote of the Wildrose Alliance; there is accordingly little reason to fear Avalon Roberts "running up the middle". You can "send Ed a message" while the rest of your neighbours send Ed another reliable Leg vote (not that he really needs one).

In terms of the September 14 date, while it is true that a lot of people won't be paying attention to the August component of the campaign and it would have helped total turnout to hold the election during the days of media coverage following October's Wildrose Alliance leadership convention, it isn't necessarily bad for the opposition, with my evidence for that simply the fact that with respect to the 2 polls (out of 66) that the opposition won in 2008, for both of them turnout was lower than average for the riding, Avalon Roberts taking Cederbrae A 67 to 65 on a 36.3% turnout and Southwood A 43 to 34 on a measly 17.1% turnout. That said, since Avalon Roberts is the type of candidate who appeals to the reliably turning out older voter, she might be the only opposition candidate likely to profit from a weak turnout.

My one piece of tactical advice to Paul is to identify the mobile poll(s) and get in there. When the poll is essentially being brought into your living room, it is pretty easy to turn out! The PCs crushed this poll in Glenmore last year taking more than 3 times the combined vote for all others. They did the same thing last year in my Beverly Clareview riding, bringing Stelmach into the riding one afternoon to visit a large seniors home and then taking the poll in a landslide. As I noted near the end of the campaign:
Earlier this week, I called the Emmanuel Home (for seniors) and asked if I could come by some time to meet the residents. "You should contact the Recreation Director instead of just dropping in". Fine. How about Saturday? "The Recreation Director is not available Saturday." Anytime Friday will do. "The Premier is going to be here Friday". I could come before or after the Premier, whatever you think is more appropriate. "Uh... leave a message with the Rec Director and maybe she can do something for you." I left a message with my contact info and have never been contacted. Meanwhile, the RO (who, by the way, is a P"C" party man by his own account, which may go to some length in explaining why he not only refuses to give me official donation receipts and maps that taxpayers have already paid for and the other candidates already have but refuses to pass on to Elections Alberta this candidate's feedback that that particular decision should perhaps be reconsidered next election) is sending a mobile poll into the Emmanuel Home on Monday, the very place that apparently only the Premier can enter.


Anonymous said...

Hi Brian, thanks for letting me know about your post. Check my comments on Alberta Altruists blog regarding the #'s. You may also note Jane Morgan's experience with this also, which is dead on. Nice blog site and thanks for the plug.

Anonymous said...

Good post Brian.

I drove through the riding recently and the WA is definately winning the sign war thus far.

I hope people are angry enough to vote against the PC's and send a real message.