The poll, provided exclusively to The Canadian Press, put Tory support at 39 per cent -- nine points ahead of the Liberals and within spitting distance of the 40 per cent mark generally needed to secure a majority.
The NDP were at 13 per cent, and the Greens and Bloc Quebecois were at eight per cent each.
Ahead in Ontario, or just evidence of volatility?:
Over the past seven weeks, Decima's weekly polls have put the Tories ahead three times in Ontario, the Liberals ahead three times and the two parties tied once. The most recent poll, conducted March 30-April 2, put the Tories ahead with 42 per cent to the Liberals' 36 per cent, the NDP's 11 per cent and the Green Party's nine per cent.
And, what of Quebec, these numbers are hardly what the cash infusion had in mind:
The latest poll put the Bloc at 31 per cent for the second time in a month -- the lowest score the Bloc has earned in Decima polls over the past two years. The Liberals were close behind with 26 per cent while the Tories had 21 per cent and the Greens and NDP were tied at eight per cent.
The title reads "Tories closer to majority", but the thesis of this poll is articulated by Decima CEO Bruce Anderson:
Anderson said the fluctuating results in Ontario suggest voters are disengaged, do not see much difference between the Tories and Liberals and are thus able to switch preferences for little apparent reason and with little enduring commitment. And that makes them highly unpredictable.
"In a world where people feel that the risk of trying different choices is relatively low because the economy is strong, there aren't big crisis issues, all the parties are gravitating towards the centre, then the chance that voters will do unexpected things in the course of an election goes up.''
Would you prefer to see the Conservatives score less than 39%? Yes. Do these numbers mean doom and gloom for the Liberals? Absolutely not.
More and more, it looks like the actual campaign will be the difference in where people ultimately park their votes. You can't put much stock in objectively soft numbers, and if you want to take the "half full" argument, there is real opportunity in the volatility for the Liberals. If you accept the vacillating voter argument, then a mere 4% flip gets us back to a dead heat.
I would also take some solace in the fact that Harper still runs third in Quebec, despite his complete fixation with winning over Quebecers. Where is the budget bounce? Fiscal imbalance solved, yet no reward. The entire budget was crafted with Quebec in mind. Harper alienated other provinces to curry favor with Quebecers. If there is no gain in Quebec, then the real setbacks in some provinces, make the budget a net loser for the Conservatives.
One thing to consider, as it relates to Ontario. People have become accustomed to voting Liberal, they might be flirting with the Tories, but a strong platform, sprinkled with strong federalism rhetoric and talk of the "right wing" will play well. It will not take a herculean effort to bring people back to the Liberal fold, Harper hasn't endeared himself in any concrete way. A lot will depend on Dion, and his ability to get his message across.
Maybe we should be worried, but as is the case with many of the recent polls, the headline doesn't tell the real story, the devil is in the details. There's hope in them there internals.