Pundits will fill the airwaves and blogs today trying to explain the federal election polling results. The entrails will be poured over in an effort to try and discover why NDP leader Jack Layton surged in the final weeks and why other stalled.
What will really count today is the efforts on the ground to get the vote out. It is one thing to answer a pollster on the phone or click a button on a website. The numbers pollsters are pushing at us are very interesting and entertaining. But the only poll that really counts starts today at 9:30 a.m. It will end at 9:30 p.m.
Polls are deceptive on so many levels. Since total number of votes do not count in this country, the polls mean little. Mr. Layton may poll well across Canada. It is how people in each riding vote that truly counts. This is not news for anyone following the news. But it has not stopped the mainstream media’s obsession with the numbers. Sadly, it reduces our democratic process down to a horse race rather than one based on platforms.
It will be interesting to see if the NDP surge is rocket fuel for the Tories. The fear-mongering of the past 72 hours could be just what it needs to ensure everyone gets out to vote. This could be the game changer nobody may expect. Liberals may stay home in droves, angry over their leader’s performance. Poor weather today may be as big a factor as any. Who knows? But it will be the people on phones, driving cars, holding umbrellas, doing whatever it takes. Those will be the true heroes today.
And, just to add my voice to all the others: Get out and vote! Remember, there are people on this planet will wait 12 hours or more for this democratic franchise.