Thursday, January 10, 2008

Harper's Conservatives Jump 7 Points Since December

I've begun to feel guilty about covering the US primaries so extensively of late at the expense of Canadian updates. My lapse in Canadian material was partially the result of a slow period in Canadian politics and partially the result of an exciting and infuriating period in US politics. But with Canadian parliament resuming January 28, it's as good a time as any to take stock of the political landscape in Canada. Especially since Stephane Dion was talking so very tough before Christmas:

It was only a little more than a month ago, in Montreal, when Dion told Liberal riding presidents to be ready for the plug to be pulled on Harper's government as soon as possible.

Ah, but now our Mr. Dion has dropped his truculent charade and resumed the whiny, sulking persona we're all so familiar with. This transformation was helped, I'm sure, by a recent Canadian poll which gave Mr. Dion good reason to pause before toppling the popular Harper government.

A poll released yesterday may offer a clue: it suggests the Conservatives leaped to a sizeable lead in public opinion over the holidays.

The Harris-Decima poll indicates the Tories jumped seven percentage points since late December, putting them at 37 per cent support compared to the Liberals' 30 per cent. The NDP is at 13 per cent.

The survey of 1,000 Canadians was done Jan. 3 to 6 and is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times in 20.

Dion's new strategy, it would seem, is to wait it out until the budget in March. With the Conservative government's steady support, the Liberals can only hope Harper grows bold enough with his next budget to alienate a chunk of his moderate supporters.

This February will mark Harper's second year in office.

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