What is interesting about this particular poll, Harper does seem to be enjoying a rebound, in terms of perceptions. This uptick is accompanied by a large downturn in opinion regarding Ignatieff:
Approval Rating: Harper 34%, Layton
24%, Ignatieff 12%,
Momentum: Harper -9, Layton -10,
Ignatieff is now a drag on the Liberal brand. I will say this again however, Ignatieff isn't a "known quantity", at least not to any concrete degree, so the numbers aren't fatal. I'm sure Cons would disagree, but that type of conclusion is just silly, given historical precedent, as well as the length of exposure.
That said, Harper may have benefited from his "tickling the ivories" routine. It's the kind of humanizing event that tends to resonate on a superficial level. Particularly when you're seen as wooden and bland, anything that adds color and commonality works to advantage. It seems strange to say, given all the substantive issues available, this performance is at the root of the rebound. In addition, the failings of Ignatieff have made Harper more attractive relatively.
On the question of the economy, good numbers for the government. 53% are satisfied with their performance, only 40% are not. Given the current economic position, these numbers are surprisingly positive. Part a sense that we've turned the corner, part a lack of alternatives, the Conservatives are in solid shape. In terms of how they view Harper personally, it's an even split, 46%-46% trust his judgement on the economy. By contrast, Ignatieff scores 22%, versus 64% who think he would do the right thing on the economy.
If Liberals are looking for a strategy to turn it around, McKenna offers "great advice".