Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Selinger: Exceeding (my) Expectations

Image Source: Queen's University News
Greg Selinger is one of the most popular premiers in Canada, according to a recent poll:

Premier Greg Selinger has one of the highest approval ratings in the country among Canada’s premiers, according to a recent survey by Angus Reid Public Opinion

Selinger had an approval rating of 52 per cent, good for third place, behind Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall (63 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale (58 per cent).


Quebec Premier Jean Charest had the lowest approval rating at 30 per cent, while Ontario’s Dalton McGuinty scored only slightly better at 31 per cent.
All in all, this is pretty good news for the NDP. It seemed that after Doer left, there was a tornado of bile directed at the "Selinger government" and the Manitoba NDP. It had me thinking that Selinger lacked charisma and was destined to be routed by the Provincial Tories come October. I was very biased by Stephane Dion analogies at that point and severely underestimated the Premier's likability. While he's phlegmatic, the NDP leader is also very personable.

More importantly, Selinger hasn't fallen into the trap so many US Democrats have, of backing down the very instant criticism arrives. Selinger's response to falling poll numbers was great:

If there's misinformation out there, then we have to correct the misinformation. But what we can't do is compromise the future of the province.
There is no "median voter" with stable policy preferences. A LOT of politics is about  persuading people that your vision for the region is right, not divining some illusive median position*. Flip-flopping hurts you, even if people agree with the position you flip-flopped to.

If anything, it seems that Hugh McFadyen's been reduced to caving into pressure, at least at the campaign level**. The NDP has defined the issues and the centre, the NDP will win pending no colossal screw ups in the next month.

*Incidentally, a lot of talk in the corporate media about the "centrist", "moderate", and "mainstream" position is just an underhanded way of journalists or their corporate bosses to inject their opinions into an article. In the USA, for instance, the public option was seldom if ever described as a "moderate" position, despite most Americans supporting it.

**I have a funny feeling that he was really serious when he talked about David Cameron inspiring him. That is to say, expect him to implement austerity after saying he'd wait until 2018 to fully balance the budget. Expect considerable tuition hikes in the Manitoba if McFadyen's elected.

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