The Conservatives continue to climb in the polls, with a lead of 2.5 percent in the latest CBC Poll Tracker and an average seat projection of 132, very close to the Liberals’ 138. Not only are Conservatives expected to maintain their big majorities in the west, but they will pick up marginal seats in suburban Ontario.
The Liberals released their platform yesterday and Trudeau had a great sound bite on CBC – more about this later – but the platform hasn’t found its way into Liberal advertising. As readers of this blog know, I look to network advertising aimed at different audiences on CBC Network News and Blue Jays games, YouTube channels, and Facebook pages for political ads. Best practice is to get your message out on all platforms, so these three constitute a reasonable sample.
A Hard-Hitting Conservative Ad
The Conservative ad that has gotten the most traction, with over 6,000 visits in its first day, is entitled The Liberals Always Come After Your Money. The ad, using an unseen female narrator whose voice conveys deep concern if not panic, plays on the (C)conservative trope that Liberals always promise they won’t raise taxes and always break their promises. Examples include the Netflix tax and an increase in what the ad calls the “carbon tax.” In an out-of-context sound bite Chrystia Freeland says that “Covid has created a window of political opportunity.” Finally, the Liberals swearing that they won’t tax the sale of your home is taken as an indication that they will. Despite its dubious logic and evidence, I think this ad is effective at motivating the Conservative base and reaching heavily mortgaged suburban voters.
Nothing New in Liberal Land
The Liberals’ YouTube and Facebook pages contain no ads newer than the low-key “Back to Normal” ad about vaccinations posted 5 days ago, and which has had only 2400 views. I contrast this to the successful 2015 campaign the Liberals they were posting a wide range of effective ads on YouTube and Facebook almost every day in the campaign.
In the sound bite I mentioned, Justin Trudeau contrasted the Liberals’ platform with the Conservatives’, which he argues aimed at a wide range of special interests, including anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, the anti-abortion lobby, and the gun lobby. This sound bite could be the core of a compelling contrast ad, narrated by Justin Trudeau speaking directly to voters. Where is that ad?
As my title asks, do the Liberals have a death wish? Why aren’t they advancing their arguments? Are they intending to sleep-walk into Opposition?