Nationally, we see a 33-30% spread in the Conservatives favor. Liberals unchanged, Conservatives down 3%. Pretty much the usual when it comes to the regionals.
Angus Reid asks a series of questions about the leaders. While Ignatieff no longer enjoys positive momentum, he still leads the pack, Harper continues to erode:
Momentum Scores: Ignatieff -13, Duceppe -15, Layton -17, Harper -28
Each time AR asks this question, the opinion of Harper deteriorates at a pretty significant clip. This latest installment probably reflects his recent performance at the G8, among other things.
AR found a pretty big swing on the economy question, a very good result for Ignatieff:
34% (-3) say Harper best suited to handle economy; 26% (+6) pick Ignatieff
A 17% gap becomes a 8% edge for Harper, a number which is manageable from the Liberal perspective. This might just be some rebound for Ignatieff, after the dive he took during the election standoff.
The rest of the questions on leadership show some pretty concrete and unflattering opinions on Harper. These beliefs further my view that Liberals are wise to use Harper as a contrast to present something positive to Canadians:
When assessing Harper, 49 per cent of respondents brand him as secretive, while at least two-in-five believe he is arrogant (45%), out of touch (41%), and intelligent (40%). More than a third of respondents think the current prime minister is boring (38%) and uncaring (34%).
The only measure that translates as a liability for Ignatieff, he scores the same as Harper on the arrogance number. However, Canadians see him as more intelligent, open, far less secretive and uncaring, he stacks up well against Harper. Part of this is the blank slate syndrome, but it also translates to opportunity.
On the best PM score, which has a obvious inherent advantage for Harper, given that he is the PM, it's a very tight affair:
Preferred Prime Minister: Harper 26%, Ignatieff 22%, Layton 13%
Not exactly a juggernaut.
The difference here is that Harper is a known quantity, it will be very hard for him to reverse negative impressions. Ignatieff has the benefit of "newness", which we can use to our advantage. I see a lot more opportunity for the Liberals within these numbers, than I do the Conservatives. This might explain why we are starting to here more and more whispers about the Conservatives refocusing AWAY from Harper. That to me is a clear signal of real trouble, once you begin to question the appeal of your leader- a paramount consideration in a campaign- you're clearly quite vulnerable.