Sunday, October 12, 2008

Canadian Election -- The Polls

Here is a summary of various opinion polls on the Canadian general election, scheduled for the day after tomorrow.

The Conservatives are in the lead. But, as in U.S. elections, the nationwide popular vote totals don't decide the outcome directly. In the U.S., it is the outcome by state that decides the electoral college totals, while in Canada, the outcome in each parliamentary constituency (each "riding"), when aggregated together, determines the result.

The way the vote is split among five parties could result in the third consecutive election in which no one party wins an overall majority in the House of Commons.

The polls indicate that the parties that are alternatives to the Liberals on the left wing, being the New Democratic and Green parties, might gain votes at the Liberals' expense.

One factor is that three of the main party leaders are charisma-challenged. That includes Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Conservative, along with Liberal leader Stephane Dion and Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe. The more-colorful Jack Layton of the NDP might be taking advantage of that disparity.

In theory, under a parliamentary system, the electorate votes for a party and its program, rather than an individual leader. But, as in Britain, in the television age, there is more emphasis than before on the personalities of the leaders.

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