It's fair to say the Liberals aren't exactly a juggernaut these days. However, what we find is exaggerated analysis, wherein weakness on the one hand, strength on the other, is over stated. Politics no different than sport, in the sense the fine line between winning and losing becomes a gigantic chasm when you read the post mortems. A seasoned viewer knows a play here, a break there, an untimely gaffe, is really what largely separates, things are far more competitive than the accolades of winning and the scorn of losing suggests.
Abacus has released more data, and what they clearly show- as others have as well- is that there really isn't any deep affinity for the Harper Conservatives. I know, hard to believe, if one relies solely on the almost daily praise that comes from certain conduit quarters. Here was a key finding in my view:
Only 32% have any affection for the Conservative messaging, most of that weak, whereas a whopping 62% agree with the Liberal frame. People simply don't agree that Canada is stronger, that only Harper's leadership is what Canada needs. Interesting that the Conservative message can't even mirror the party support number in the poll, which is also the case on a host of competency questions in the same survey.
On the question of the economy, only 30% give the Conservatives a "good" rating, 27% on defending Canada's interest, 23% on creating jobs, 21% on the environment and an absymal 16% on working with the opposition. It's only when we see comparative studies, that Harper looks strong, the most natural of occurences, a sitting PM besting a opposition leader on clear either or questions. Those type of findings mask weakness, they are predictable, but not insightful. It is numbers like above, clear commentary on the government, where we see vulnerability, where this "chess master" that is on the cusp of majority looks a farcical proposition. Truth be told, divided opposition is the only real strength, Canadians really aren't enamoured with this government, in fact they don't like the Conservatives much at all. And, it is this objective fact that allows for some cautious, still long odds, optimism come a campaign, because the Liberals don't face an opponent that enjoys inspired, widespread support.