Nik Nanos’ recent poll for the Sun newspapers is very telling and has to be a bit unnerving for the Harper Con-Troll types. With 2.5 years as Prime Minister, Mr. Harper has not gained any traction or more momentum with the Canadian electorate. He has had virtually total control over the public agenda and the political process. It is not as though he has not used these levers but they have gotten him nowhere since the last election.
I have been saying for some time now that Harper is past his best before date as PM. Nik’s recent poll results on who do you trust to manage key issues indicates that Harpers’ best days as Prime Minister of Canada may also be passed him.
The Con strong policy suits, so we are told, are the economy and Afghanistan. While the PCs are ahead of the Liberals (+8% on the economy and +6% on the war) on the economy they equal to the combined totals saying None of the Above and Unsure at 32%. As for the war in Afghanistan the Cons are -10% compared to the None of the Above and Unsure at 38% to the Cons at 28% confidence.
On the management of the other key issues on the minds of Canadians like Healthcare, Environment and National Unity, the Harper’s Cons are trailing the Liberals in every instance. On the Environment the Greens are seen as being the best issue managers buy 13% of Canadians. That has to be encouraging for Elizabeth May.
Comparing Harper to the combined None of the Above and Unsure again he is -10% on Healthcare, -16% on the Environment and -9% on National Unity.
So this means that while Dion is not yet a clearly acceptable alternative to Harper for the swing voters. They are also not particularly enamoured with the capability of the current Harper minority government to manage key issues. This all means no election in the near future, unless of course Harper voluntarily resigns himself. That kind of pre-emptive election strike by Harper could happen if he starts to fear that Canadians are starting get to know the Liberals and a viable alternative.
Harper has to be concerned if the Canadian voter starts getting serious about an election a year from now and concurrently discover the real Dion and get to know him better. I’m talking about getting to know the real Dion and not the phony Conservative attack ad characterization of Dion in last year’s television attach ads. Notice how quiet the Conservative’s have become over their recent failed and flailing pre-emptive attack advertising efforts to mislead citizens on Dion’s Green Shift plan - even before it was released. The last two years has seen Harper desperate for an election. The next two years will likely see him desperate to avoid one.
The times are a'changin' and it is all going to make for some interesting and unsettling times in Canada, economically, environmentally and socially. We will have to see what happens in the Presidential election this November in the States. What will Canadians be looking for as the ballot questions as the Conservatives approach their drop dead date for Harper’s fixed election timing of November 2009. All of this is very fluid but fundamental in what our next election will bring out in Canadians, regardless of when we vote.