On the surface, it would be hard to be anything but ecstatic if you're a Conservative. Pulling ahead nationally, actually competitive with the Liberals in Quebec, neck and neck in seat rich Ontario. I offer a word of caution to Stephen Harper, you're peaking too early.
The new dynamic of this race will now surround a personality and its consequences. Stephen Harper looks the PM in waiting, this will necessitate a close examination of the consequences. Up until now, the entire campaign has centered around the Paul Martin and his "corrupt" party. Attack, attack, from all sides and all parties, while Martin stumbles along on the defensive. With these fresh poll results, the focus has changed and Harper best beware.
We have already seen Layton changing tactics, no longer attacking Martin, but warning of the costs of a Conservative government. In bed with the seperatists will play very well in Ontario and leave Harper's commitment to Canada in doubt. Instead of the Liberal record, we now look at the future and what this all means. I am curious how the Bloc reacts to voters moving to the Conservatives, surely we will see some pointed rhetoric.
Martin is now in a relatively advantageous position, despite the polling. The Liberals have been desperate to change the dialogue, with these latest figures I suspect the media may allow for a new agenda. Who is Stephen Harper? What does this mean to federalism? Are the Conservatives the moderate option they portray? The election is just now becoming focused, and time is eternal for a rebound or a collapse. People have shown tertiary interest thus far, but as we draw nearer to the possibility of a Conservative mandate, I suspect the interest will become more pointed.
The main caveat for the reeling Liberal party is the volatility of the electorate. A whooping 40% say they could change their vote, which speaks to soft support and the fluid nature of this race. I suggest that Harper may have peaked too early, that it was best to fly under the radar and snatch the government on the eve of the vote. Now, Harper is naked on the open plains, just as voters begin to engage. It remains an open question if they will like what they see and I suspect the free ride with the media is over. This election has really just now become joined, lets see if Harper can take the heat.