January 17, 2006


New Conservative attack ad takes aim at Layton (CTV.ca News, Jan. 16 2006)

With one week remaining before the election, the Conservatives have unleashed their own vicious television ad, but this time the target is Jack Layton and his New Democrat Party. [...]

The ad was first released in British Columbia where the Liberals have slumped in the polls. In some key ridings outside of Vancouver, there are tight races between Conservatives and New Democrats.

"I think what this demonstrates is that they view the NDP as real competition there," said CTV's Rosemary Thompson.

Many voters in B.C. tend to swing between one of the two parties, and with Liberal fortunes slipping, the Conservatives appear to be targeting those NDP votes, said Brian Laghi of The Globe and Mail.

"If you recall, a lot of people who vote NDP, when they have a second choice it will be Tory, and vice versa," Laghi told CTV's Mike Duffy Live.

Perhaps Canadian politics works differently because of the shorter campaigns, but with a week left and all the news good for your party it would seem dubious to run negative ads. Run as if you were ready to govern and present yourself as a fait accompli. Voters like voting for the winning side, which may have been what saved George Bush in '00.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 17, 2006 8:28 AM

Right now the Tories are trying to put it over the top (win a majority gov't as opposed to a minority) and in the 2004 election they paid heavily because they did sit back in the last week when they were ahead. Sitting back created the opening for the Liberals to launch their attack ads which successfully scared the undecided voters back to the Liberals.

This is all about scaring the undecideds into voting for the Conservatives, especially if the voter doesn't want to vote for the liberals and isn't ready yet to vote for the Conservatives.

This is also driven by the experience of the Ontario provincial election in the early 90s. The Liberal gov't was widely known as corrupt, and expected to be voted out but many weren't ready to vote for the Conservatives. The undecided vote went to the socialist NDP as a protest and the next morning the province woke up to an NDP majority gov't. No one ever actually expected the NDP to win- even the NDP.

Not that anyone expects the NDP to be withing striking distance of forming a gov't, but an undecided surge for the NDP could make the difference between majority and minority for the Conservatives.

Posted by: BC Monkey at January 17, 2006 9:14 AM