First off, yes we still see a Conservative lead, but it’s hardly intimidating. I’ve sort to come to peace with these polls, we seem to vacillate between dead heats and a decent Conservative lead, back and forth, the same dynamic pretty much post-Iggy honeymoon. I actually thought last week that polls might start to swing back slightly again. My new working thesis- when we have a hot button issue we get "dead heat", but as soon as "normalcy" returns, voters drift back to the government. It is this dynamic that frustrates Liberals, because we believe each fresh gaffe or offence will be the one that finally move things in our favour, in a more permanent sense. Every time we see a widening, the more depressing it can become. However, I’m more an intangible observer these days, primarily because people simply aren’t engaged in any meaningful capacity, a reality that will not change until a campaign. It is also for that reason that Liberals would be wise to not wait for the perfect poll storm; it’s unlikely to materalize, barring some massive implosion or Ignatieff running into a burning house to save a toddler.
Ontario is beyond volatile, and will change on a dime. These swings are mostly an Ontario consideration, but I remain confident that Liberals have upwards of 42-45% potential support, should we run a good campaign. I also see potential to expand in Quebec, we have the inside track on the possible real alternative to the Bloc. My point, it’s more the groundwork that’s important now, developing contrasts and cementing the negative narratives surrounding this government.
In case anyone thinks this is just partisan spin, I would welcome a review of the multiple times I’ve taken "the sky is falling" position. I actually believed Liberals were wise to adopt a two election strategy, because the prospects so remote in the near term. I’ve altered that view now, and firmly believe we have a decent shot of taking Harper out. Ignatieff looks like he can pull off a campaign, the team looks focused, the strategies are starting to bear incremental fruit. I also think Harper is very close to the tipping point, likening it to a drip drip drip into a bucket that eventually overflows. My gut tells me the baggage is accumulating to the point that represents incumbent danger. In fact, I already believe some damage is evident, but the divided opposition, the inability to gel around a singular alternative breathes oxygen.
Here’s the poll I am focusing on. These type of findings are opportunity, they tell me if the Liberals run a good campaign, offer an attractive alternative, provide a fresh brand, they can rally the support to turf these Conservatives. Of that, I have no doubt.