Tim Hudak’s polarizing campaign

If you’ve been watching this campaign even casually, you can probably guess that Tim Hudak – who’s running on a stridently conservative platform that includes a promise of 100,000 public-sector job cuts – is a polarizing force in it.

Still, it’s striking just how much our Listening Post project with Innovative Research Group (which you can read more about here) shows the Progressive Conservative Leader pleasing his own party’s supporters, and upsetting everyone else.

Here, for starters, is what different voter groups said when asked whether that 100,000 job cuts proposal made them more or less likely to vote for the PCs:

Likely to vote PC

After hearing 100,000 job cuts proposal

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

A broader question about Mr. Hudak’s platform, using his preferred name for it, didn’t get a much different response. Here’s what people who indicated they had “read, seen or heard” something about his “Million Jobs plan” (a strong majority in all voter groups) said when asked if it made them more or less likely to cast a PC ballot:

Likely to vote PC

After hearing about the “Million Jobs plan”

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

Some good news, for Mr. Hudak, is that those who self-identify with his party are really fired up by the prospect of booting the Liberals out of office. 71 per said they “strongly agreed” that it’s “time for a change in government.” And here’s how overall agreement/disagreement with that statement compared to other groups:

Is it time for a change in government?

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

While another thing that might be encouraging for Mr. Hudak in those “time for a change” numbers is the agreement among unaligned voters, there’s a bit of a problem in how most of those voters – and, again, everyone else who doesn’t self-identify as a PC – responded to the question of whether they’re “afraid of what Tim Hudak and the PCs might do if they form government”:

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

And then there’s the reminder of Mike Harris, the former premier Mr. Hudak counts as a mentor, and whose Common Sense Revolution he has somewhat imitated in spirit. When asked whether they agree or disagree that “The PCs under Mike Harris did such a bad job running the Ontario government in the 1990s that I don’t think we can take a chance on letting them run the government again,” unaligned voters didn’t display especially strong views. But everyone else did:

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

As he been noted in this space and elsewhere a whole bunch of times already this campaign, Mr. Hudak’s strategy revolves far less around persuading swing voters than in having a more mobilized support base than the other parties. Still, he may have alienated potential vote-switchers and undecided voters a little more than he intended. And the big question, as these numbers suggest, is whether in addition to motivating his supporters to come out and vote, he has also motivated supporters of his opponents to do likewise.

(As parties get more sophisticated in targeting messages to individual voters, we want to get as many people as possible involved in helping us keep track of those messages and how they’re delivering them. If you’d be willing to help us tell the story of this campaign by keeping a campaign diary to let us know who contacted you and uploading campaign material, or maybe giving your reaction to ads, issues and events, you can sign up for the Listening Post Network here.)

Ask The Globe: Your questions on citizenship, C-51 and refugees

For the duration of the election, The Globe is answering your questions – from fact-checking leaders’ statements to digging deep into policies and promises. Have a question? Tweet it with #AskTheGlobe

Ben asks: #AskTheGlobe Can the government legally revoke someones Canadian citizenship? #MunkDebate

and Sarah asks: What conditions can a Canadian loose their citizenship, residency, or voting rights? Do refugees hafta pay interest? #AskTheGlobe

Let’s deal with these two together.

First, yes, the government can legally revoke citizenship if it was obtained fraudulently. The Conservatives also added another policy, which is that dual nationals can potentially lose their citizenship if convicted of terrorism or treason crimes. Depending on the circumstances, someone whose citizenship was revoked may be removed from the country.

On voting, the Conservatives did change the eligibility to vote for Canadian expats living abroad. Generally they lose their right to vote after five years, which Donald Sutherland was not very happy about.

Chris asks: Did Tom Mulcair really say different things about repealing C51? #AskTheGlobe

The NDP has never supported Bill C-51, the Anti-Terror Act. The New Democrats voted against the bill, which was supported by the Conservatives and Liberals. However, in interviews earlier in the year, leader Thomas Mulcair did change his tone. In February, Mr. Mulcair said he wouldn’t commit to repealing the bill if elected, though his party would definitely change it. Weeks later, in March, Mr. Mulcair committed to repealing the entire law.

Myles asks: Harper says ours response has been generous- is that true compared to past refugee crises? #MunkDebate #asktheglobe #futurevoter

It depends on what past refugee crises we’re comparing it to. In terms of numbers and speed of access for refugees, it’s much lower than Vietnam (when Joe Clark raised the target to 60,000 refugees). Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau at the Munk Debate brought up comparisons with Vietnam to accuse Harper of being stingy. What sets Syria apart from Vietnam is the rules Stephen Harper introduced about refugees needing their status approved by UNHCR or a third country, a rule that didn’t exist for the Vietnamese (and which the Kurdi family blames for the events leading to Alan’s death off the Turkish coast). If we’re comparing Syria with the Second World War, though – when we famously turned away a boatload of Jewish refugees in 1939, and were pretty hostile to Jewish refugees even during the war – our current response looks more generous. (Doug Saunders and Sean Fine have done really good historical analyses of Vietnam, the Second World War and our response to the Hungarian refugee crisis in the 1950s).

Ask The Globe: What happens if two parties tie for the most seats?

For the duration of the election, The Globe is answering your questions – from fact-checking leaders’ statements to digging deep into policies and promises. Have a question? Tweet it with #AskTheGlobe

Christopher Stasiuk asks: If two parties tie for first with the most seats in the federal election, who governs? Who is the PM? #asktheglobe

According to Wednesday’s Nanos numbers the Liberals and Conservatives are locked in a dead heat atop the polls. Which makes Christopher’s question a timely one.

Digital politics editor Chris Hannay explains the process.

The incumbent always gets first crack at forming government. (Usually, if the incumbent has not won the most seats after an election, they decline.) If the incumbent is one of the tied parties and they have a Speech from the Throne, and it gets defeated by the other parties, they have to go to Governor-General David Johnston and declare that they don’t have the confidence of the House.

The Governor-General can then decide whether to call an election or let another party have a chance at governing.

If an election has just happened, typically the Governor-General is expected to let another party have a chance to form the government so as not to waste voters’ times. (This happened in 1926)

If the second-place party, or the other party that was tied, can survive a confidence vote with other parties’ support, then they’re in government now.

This is essentially what happened in Ontario in 1985.

This is what students want to ask Harper, Mulcair, Trudeau and May

Would you allow more immigrants to come to Canada? How can we reduce the use of fossil fuels? How would Canada change under your leadership?

These are questions for federal party leaders, but no, they are not from the latest debate.

These queries come from elementary and secondary students across Canada.

The young Canadians are posing these questions to Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair, Justin Trudeau and Elizabeth May through Student Vote, a project of the nonpartisan Civix, which aims to engage youth in our democratic process.

Student Vote will be running a parallel election in more than 6,000 schools across Canada just before the real vote on Oct. 19. (Click here to register your school — there’s only a few days left before the deadline.)

Aside from the mock election, Student Vote also runs democracy bootcamps for teachers and provides educational materials. The Globe and Mail is a media partner with Student Vote. Here’s The Globe’s Jane Taber in a Civix video explaining how political advertising works:

Watch for the leaders’ responses in the coming weeks.