Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Green Party

In the current federal election, the one party that has slipped completely from the radar is the Green Party.

I live close to where Elizabeth May is running and I hear as much about her as I do about the major party candidates in this region.   The Greens in the two neighbouring ridings have a much lower profile than in the past.

Nationwide, I see little coverage of any Greens, I am hearing very little buzz of any Green candidates running strong campaigns that are getting any notice.

It is not only less media, it is also much lower polling.

Their polling is dramatically down from the 2008 election.   The numbers in the 2008 election were running at about 10% in the last week and a half of the election, they finished at about 2/3s of that result on election day.   In 2006 the Greens were polling about 6% in the last week and half the election and finished at 4.5%.  Comparing to 2004 is not realistic because the Greens were not really on the polling radar yet.

In this election the party support has been down in the polls, and it looks like it is lower than in 2006.   Either the pollsters are better at judging the Green support or the party is headed to their worst result since they have been running full slates.

The rise of the NDP in Quebec will harm the Green vote in that province.  In Ontario the Green are running well below their 2008 election result.   In BC the numbers are all over the place, but no polls none that are dramatically better than their 2008 result.

One of the reasons I think the Green polling results have been out of sync with their election results is because the polls find a lot of youth support for the Greens and seem to over estimate the youth voting population.

With all that said, I am now expecting the Green to finish the election with 4-5% of the vote.  

This sort of result will mean the Greens will get less media coverage and be written off.   I suspect there will be a move to replace Elizabeth May as leader, but the question is if there is anyone that can do that as long as she has access to large financial resources.   The Greens will still be worth something because they are still going to be getting the per vote government subsidy.

The Green Party did not spend enough money and energy in the last 30 months building 20-30 strong local riding associations.   There should have been some strategic thought given to being strong in some media markets.   As an example, if there were three very strong Green campaigns in the Victoria area, the Greens would be much more of a presence which would ultimately benefit Elizabeth May in Saanich Gulf Islands.


Anonymous said...

"Nationwide, I see little coverage of any Greens"

A simple Google News check demonstrates that you either haven't been looking, or, that you are have other reasons to twist the truth here.

Why not see for yourself:
Green Party (Canada; 1,770 results)

Conservative Party (Canada; 1,489 results).

As you can see, no lack of coverage.

There's a lot of coverage, especially considering the Green Party doesn't have a single MP in the house.

I think it would also be fair to inform the readers of your blog that you are a Conservative Party of Canada supporter, and therefore have a vested interest in the opinion delivered here, which isn't based on reality, as shown above. Google, on the other hand, does NOT have a political agenda, at least not when it comes to Canadian politics.

Anonymous said...

The Greens put all their energy into Elizabeth May - I don't know if that was her decision or the party's.

Now it is coming back to bite them. I have no idea how Ms. May is doing in her riding (and frankly don't care) but it is terrible for them in the other 307 ridings.

Unless the Greens can redevelop a strong network of riding associations, I expect them to fall further off the radar.

I seem to recall some months ago news reports about the party cancelling its convention?? leadership review?? contrary to the party convention. I wonder how much effect that move has had at the riding level???

Bernard said...

I think it was a huge error choosing a traditionally right of centre riding. She would have much better served to run in Victoria, the riding has been won by Liberals, Conservatives and NDP.

Victoria has rarely had anyone win with more than 40% and rarely had a major party below 20%. The electoral math makes this winnable in a four way race with 30% of the vote, which is what she can achieve.

cosmicsync said...

I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work, there, Anonymous April 21, 2011 2:20 PM.

Your search terms "Green Party" and "Conservative Party" on Canadian pages return hits that are not from news media sites, have nothing to do with the current election and limit the results to pages that only contain those exact phrases.

I think the term "Conservatives" is far more widely used to refer to Stephen Harper's party (or "Harper Conservatives") and that difference alone affects the results of your search. Also, I get significantly different numbers than you did using your search strings, which could be the result of our different browsing habbits etc.

The string

+conservatives 2011 election location:canada

returns "About 24,800,000"

while the string

"green party" 2011 election location:canada

returns "About 5,020,000"


+green 2011 election location:canada

returns "About 137,000,000"

but the third result is actually about Green Bay Wisconsin.

Google is a handy tool for advertisers to target web surfers who may be interested in their products, but is easily manipulated and certainly not optimized for the kind of analysis of media coverage you are attempting.

By the way, I don't comment here much Bernard, but I certainly appreciate your insite and analyisis, and especially the objectivity of your coverage. Greens may bristle at a post like this, but you demonstrate exactly how you arrive at your conclusions, and I find your approach refreshing.

You and Norm Farrell are my "must visit" sites. You both set an example other bloggers - and the more traditional media - would do well to follow.

Anonymous said...

Hi CosmicSync,

The numbers are different because I used Google's News site. I think this tool is highly relevant, because it shows how much these parties are being discussed in the media right now.

The chance that Green Party have manipulated Google's News pages is (apart from, for example, press releases to a lazy corporate media, or, increased public appearances compared to other MPs) close to zero.

I hope this helps. The Green Party definitely gets play, perhaps even more than it deserves given the relatively low polling results.

I am not sure why the second link (for Conservatives) didn't work in my first post, so I am reposting. Notice the Google News Canada logo on the left, after clicking the link?


Google NEWS: Green Party

Google NEWS:Conservative Party