Sunday, April 24, 2011

How's the view (from outside the bubble)?

Having spent a few days outside of Ottawa I've had an opportunity to hear what people are saying - what they think about the election and the various campaigns so far. My take is that this election is a non-event for many.

Why do I say this? First, getting people to share their views on the election has been akin to pulling teeth. "It's not something I have thought about..." has been a familiar refrain.

Second, for those that have thought about it the sense is often one of apathy. For these people, the refrain tends to be "what does it matter what I think, nothing changes." The people in these first two camps have tended to represent the majority of the views I have heard.

For a guy watching politics, this can be depressing stuff. It shows a lack of engagement and interest in an election which could, depending on its outcome, have a major impact on a range of issues which I believe these are people are concerned about or in which they will have a fair degree of interest.

For the parties, this type of view also favours one person: Mr. Harper. A lack of engagement means a lack of interest in change. It means that the criticisms leveled at the government have not resonated.

That's the "above the fold" story. What about "below the fold?" First, the NDP story that is dominating the national political discourse does not appear to be playing out on the ground in London. While there is one NDP incumbent, don't count on any other candidates joining caucus.

Second, Mr. Ignatieff as a person does not appear to resonate with many voters, even when his policies do. I have had Conservative attack lines about Mr. Ignatieff "being in it for himself" recited to me by decided Liberal voters. This is not a positive sign for the Liberals.

Third, there are people who understand the opposition refrain about Mr. Harper and his approach to politics and democracy. However, they appear prepared to look past this and give him the nod due to concerns with the alternative.

So after a few days outside of the bubble of Ottawa, my take is that the majority of people here are not seized by this election or by any of the narratives being presented to them. This bodes well for Mr. Harper, but perhaps not well-enough to deliver him what he covets most - a majority.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps we should trade places with Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, etc. They deserve it. We do not appreciate it. What's that saying, you do not realize what you have/had until it's gone?

    Our lack of interest in who holds power in this country is sad. And embarrassing. I find this whole trend so exasperating, I've become jaded.

    Egypt looks welcoming.


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