Mildly surprising that the Conservatives gain slightly, because last week wasn't a stellar one for the government. NDP down, Liberals unchanged, mostly just moving around within the margin of error. Of note, the Conservatives score a relatively high 18% in Quebec, more evidence that they're up slightly from the previous abysmal trend.
We can debate whether or not the economy has truly turned the corner, but really it's the voter psychology that's important. This EKOS poll puts confidence in the government at its highest since they began their weekly sample. We also see the lowest score for the government on the "wrong direction" percentage. Although it's minor changes, I would suggest this measure is one to watch, a very important indicator for the government:
Right direction 49%
Wrong direction 39%
To put that finding into context, a month ago the numbers were evenly split, slight edge on the "wrong" side. What might be even more telling, even in the economically ravaged province of Ontario, the Conservatives have a 50% right direction, 40% wrong direction. With a very volatile electorate, those numbers may prove quite important moving forward.
The Conservatives still lag behind overall views on direction of the economy, but that gap is narrowing. With the Liberals stalled, their numbers virtually identical week to week, the Conservatives seem to be capitalizing on higher confidence and a sense that things will improve. That is an entirely new dynamic, that wasn't present throughout the last session of Parliament, and it's one the Liberals should adapt to quickly.
When you've witnessed mind boggling negativity in the economy, it's only natural that any relative pause or the most miniscule of signs are seized on. I think we have a natural inclination to want to believe things will improve, once the numbers fail to keep us sober and negative, there's more room for optimism. I would suggest that is where we are now, uneven indicators will be enough to keep that sense alive and it will probably only improve. With that in mind- the numbers starting to support this thesis- the government can now move from raw knuckles damage control to projecting a "over the hump" argument, their stewardship no longer a liability, but a testament to ably seeing us through a economic downturn, not of our making. The question then becomes- what is the attractive counter argument for the Liberals to move the numbers back in their favor?