I was a bit fuzzy on the poll numbers (they added up to about 124% at first count…) until I read that the figures for the parties were percentage of decided voters. Right now, depending on which poll you follow and the day, NB Progressive Conservatives (yes, we do still have a few with a little ‘Progressive’ left in them here in our provincial politics…) have between 42% and 48%, NB Liberals have between 36% and 38%, NB NDP has 9% or 10%, NB Green Party has 5%, and the People’s Alliance of NB Party sits at about 0% or 1% of the 60% of the population who are decided.
Of course, this means there are still 40% of the entire population who are undecided… (I am one of that 40%), which means anything could happen on election day once people are in the ballot box.
Some pollsters think many of the undecided are those who might normally vote Liberal but are unhappy with the way the Liberals have governed for the past four (4) years or just unhappy with Premier Shawn Graham. This leads to the other possibility – an all-time low voter turnout. Most “normal” (i.e. not party-affiliated) people I have heard talking are simply not happy with the choices they have been given, and Elections Canada and the provinces don’t have the backbone to put "None of the Above" on the ballots, probably because they are afraid it would win in many ridings, particularly in this election… 😉
Personally, I hope we get a minority with a couple of NDP seats and maybe a Green holding the balance of power. Unlike “Dear Leader” PM Harper in Ottawa, I like minorities, mainly for accountability and to keep government honest. Democracy is a messy business, but worth every bit of the mess. Unfortunately, the NB electorate remains pretty old school and most of the undecided people will keep voting for the two "usual suspects". This despite the fact both of them are promising the world in an effort to "spend our way back to fiscal health".
Neither of them will have any money to keep their promises if they get in, but I guess they figure they can worry about that if they win. The NDP, usually the unrealistic younger sibling, this time are actually the fiscally prudent ones, which is a nice change for them. Brings hope in me for their future, since they represent the needs of a significant portion of society that is mainly ignored or only paid lip service by the other parties.
I was talking with a friend yesterday and my analogy of the two main parties was this:
The endless promises to the public in this election are like them walking into low-rent housing and promising everyone who lives there that they will be approved for credit to buy a 60" TV. They aren’t ensuring the people can pay for it, just promising that they get the credit. The fallout for the purchases won’t be felt until after the election is over, when they can crank up the spin and blame someone else for the mess.