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January 19, 2006
The Problems Of Success

It appears that the Conservatives might run into self-imposed limitations of success in Quebec, where their sudden popularity surprised even the most optimistic of party leaders. Vaulting over the Liberals for second place in popular polling, the Tories do not have the ground support for GOTV efforts -- and that might limit their gains to a dozen ridings in the province:

Conservatives say they may have difficulty cashing in on their new-found popularity in Quebec because they don't know who many of the voters are and they face problems getting some of them to the polls.

The lack of organization will force the party to focus hard on 10 to 12 seats it thinks it can win, but it will have to rely on momentum to take a second tier of seats where it has little or no organization. ...

Recent opinion polls have the Tories hovering around 30 per cent in popular support in Quebec, but capturing that level of the vote will be difficult because the spadework required to deliver it has not been done. The Conservatives have been in decline in the province since 1993, save for electing a handful of members in 1997 under then-Tory-leader Jean Charest.

Currently, the Tories have no MPs from Quebec after a 9% showing in the last elections there. Bloc Quebecois captures a majority of seats from the disaffected province, but the Liberals usually scoop up the rest. The Tories could have reversed that this election, but without having invested in what looked like a losing cause as little as two months ago, they may leave some ridings for the Liberals to squeeze out for themselves.

The problems of sudden success, however, seem to hardly matter -- especially when one looks at the collapse of the Liberals nationwide and contemplates their predicament.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 19, 2006 7:15 AM

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