As prospects for a fall election grow, a new survey indicates public satisfaction with the Harper government has deteriorated since last fall.
The extensive survey, conducted for the Privy Council Office, found Canadians are split in their judgment of the government's performance, with 34 per cent positive and 35 per cent negative. The rest are neutral.
In the previous Harris/Decima survey in December 2007, 35 per cent expressed satisfaction with the government's performance, while 30 per cent gave it thumbs down.
The results offer scant encouragement to a Conservative government that nonetheless seems eager to trigger an election this fall. In nearly every policy area, the public mood is noticeably more sour than it was late last year.
The government gets some of its worst marks for accountability, a supposed priority area, with just 28 per cent positive and 42 per cent negative. Only on climate change is its performance more harshly judged.
Ominously for the Conservatives, the survey found that satisfaction ratings have declined across the board since December, even in areas where the government's marks are still positive.
Even one of the government's touchstone issues - crime and justice - isn't playing particularly well. While the number giving the government good marks has risen slightly, to 37 per cent from 34 per cent last December, negative ratings have jumped even more, to 38 per cent.
There's also been a big slide in satisfaction with the government's handling of the economy. Last December, nearly half said it was doing a good job of economic management. In the latest survey, that fell to just 39 per cent, while the number expressing dissatisfaction shot up to 30 per cent from 19 per cent.
Those are dreadful numbers, especially when you consider accountability and crime are supposed strengths.
Conclusion: The more we see, the less we like.