First, consider that the economy as a voter priority has no fallen to it's lowest level since the recession began. A little commented on finding, but one that clearly suggests, along with the Ipsos poll, that the economy isn't the singular focus issue people assume. Given the economy is the last remaining Conservative strongsuit, less importance equates to greater risk. Ipsos found we care more about good government than economic management, now Nanos pegs economic concern at it's lowest since the last election. Might be time for a rethink on what will or will not be the "defining" election issue. The opposition, particularly the Liberals, have made a big deal about the F-35 purchase. Nanos also finds the Conservative lead on the issue not as daunting as ome have assumed.
The Nanos result might partially explain the "tentative" designation, because the results are entirely one sided:
Sixty-eight per cent of Canadians agreed that “now is not a good time” to proceed with the $16-billion purchase of the F-35 fighter aircraft...
Even a majority (56 per cent) of voters who identified themselves as Conservative supporters oppose the acquisition. And three out of four undecided voters are opposed.
Only 27 per cent of those surveyed thought the federal government should “purchase now to prepare for the future.”
Sticking with the F-35s “is not necessarily a way to grow voter support,” Mr. Nanos concluded, in what might be a bit of an understatement.
Very rare to see a majority of Conservatives oppose a government decision, but this finding speaks to just how overwhelming unpopular the F-35 purchase has become. It gets worse, when you consider that a massive 75% of undecided voters don't want the F-35, suggesting sound ground for the Liberals, potential growth.
The F-35 isn't a complicated issue, the figures are large, the intention is known, this issue can and will resonate. I say will because the Liberals have made the F-35 a cornerstone criticism, it will be raised at every campaign stop, in ads, literature, we will have this discussion in some capacity. Additionally, these type of lopsided findings only serve to embolden the Liberals, very little "risk" in attacking the government on this file.
The polls aren't necessarily showing a shift in opinion (of note though, Harris Decima has moved from a 10% lead, to 8% lead, to 6% lead in the last month), but there is clear evidence of underlying weakness for the Conservatives. This reality might assist in understanding the very real apprehension the Conservatives have shown regarding an election, despite apparently attractive top line numbers.