When Stephen Harper and his cabinet were acting like Conservatives they had a comfortable lead in the polls, but the moment they started governing like Liberals, their support cooled.
But when they began grasping for a majority by mimicking the former Liberal government in expenditure and tone, the Tories lost that edge. And they alienated large chunks of their base.
Question Period also had a segment on Harper "moving to the center", with the implication that he was alienating the base.
I'm not buying the connection between "Liberal policies" and the drop in the polls. While some base supporters may be feeling a tad irritable, I don't think that fact translates into poll erosion. Last time I checked, the Tories were still riding high in Alberta, surpassing their election percentages. In other words, Harper would have to do something extreme to move the base into the Liberal arms. If there is one thing that unites the right-wing, its Liberal hatred, I doubt seriously that wingers will embrace Stephane Dion, who is considered a center-left politician.
The argument seems to be politically motivated, trying to create the impression that Harper can get back to majority terrority if he becomes more "conservative". Given the fact the largest percentage of Canadians reside in the center, with a slight left lean, I don't quite understand the equation. In fact, it is obvious the Tory braintrust has concluded that Harper has to move to expand support within the Canadian circumstance.
Harper has fallen back in the polls because of Afghanistan, the environment, divisive policy on fiscal imbalance, complete incompetence on certain issues and a general wave of negative press. In reality, the flirtation with majority was only a fleeting moment, in the aftermath of the goodie filled budget and a awkward Dion. The complaints about aping the Liberals as a cause for erosion just doesn't jive with the polling. It was the big spending budget that saw the Tory high water mark, and actually saw a jump in Ontario and Alberta, with the per capita transfers.
If people want to buy into the logic that Harper needs to return to conservatism to get a majority, that is fine by me. That strategy will simply ensure the Conservatives electoral defeat.