Political Traction: Record-breaking traction on Boston bombing

Jaime Watt takes a weekly look at how issues making waves in Ottawa resonate with Canadians on CBC's Power & Politics. This week:Record-breaking traction on Boston bombing, Trudeau sustains momentum and temporary foreign worker program sparks outrage.
Jaime Watt tracks Canadians' response to the Boston bombings 9:02

Jaime Watt joins CBC News Networks' Power & Politics host Evan Solomon each week to look at how issues making waves in Ottawa resonate with Canadians.

Political Traction with Navigator's Jamie Watt appears weekly on Power & Politics. (CBC)

Monitoring the House of Commons' question period, mainstream media and the conversation on social media, Watt and his team at Navigator Ltd. determine which issues gained the most attention in official Ottawa, and then measure how much traction those issues managed to find with Canadians outside the nation's capital.

This week: The Boston marathon bombing is gaining massive traction, garnering the most attention in Political Traction history.

"This conversation is dominating the Political Traction radar like we've never seen before," Jaime Watt told Power & Politics host Evan Solomon on Tuesday.

The twin blasts near the Boston marathon finish line was capturing 90 per cent of the conversation across Canada. In comparison, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticutt received 63 per cent traction.

Watt explains that Canadians were horrified by the deadly scene, which claimed the lives of three people, injuring at least 170 others.

"This is a story that's galvanized and transfixed Canadians in a very, very profound way," he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama will travel to Boston on Thursday for a ceremony honouring victims of the bombings. But Watt says Canadians aren't paying much attention to Obama — he only received one per cent of the total Boston bombing traction.

Trudeau sustains momentum

Justin Trudeau's sweeping victory in the Liberal leadership race on Sunday is creating massive momentum — and so far, the Liberal leader is sustaining the attention and excitement.

"We're talking all Justin, all the time," Watt said.

Even though the NDP held their policy convention the same weekend the Liberals crowned their new leader, Canadians didn't pay any attention to the NDP, or the Conservatives for that matter, Watt said. Trudeau has pushed the other parties aside in the minds of Canadians, according to Watt.

"At the moment the conversation is all about Trudeau. It's actually not about Mulcair and it's not about Harper," Watt said.

The Liberal party may be in third place, but the party has an opportunity to use its brand to its advantage.

"I think there's a lot of muscle memory in the (Liberal) brand," Watt said.

Foreign worker program sparks outrage

Canadians are outraged over the temporary foreign worker controversy, even though Stephen Harper has promised the government will make changes to the program, according to Watt.

The government is under fire for allowing companies to replace Canadians with foreign workers and drive down wages. Earlier this month, CBC reported that RBC was using the temporary foreign worker program to do just that — RBC CEO Gordon Nixon has since apologized.

Watt predicts that reforming the program will move to the top of Harper's legislative agenda.

Canadians elected the Conservative government to keep the economy strong, so Harper must deliver on jobs in order to keep Canadians on his side, according to Watt.

Here's a look at the Traction numbers: