What may be the last of the relevant polls we will see until the fall was released over the weekend, and the headlines seemed to trumpet it as a return to where we were at last year's election. (37-31-16)
But there was one interesting fact in the results that I am quite surprised did not receive more play.
The Conservative Party is leading the polls in the Province of Quebec. Leading the Bloc by four points, and the Liberals by eight. (28-24-20)
Stephane Dion's Liberals have no real chance to claim any of the ridings currently represented by the Bloc, so the Conservatives are well placed to have a HUGE breakthrough in the province.
This is especially surprising as the opposition has labelled Quebec as queasy and uneasy about Canada's involvement in Afghanistan, and they feel that any deaths occuring when the Vandoos regiment is rotated to Afghanistan will destroy the Tories. I don't think that will happen at all. If anything, I think it will put the people of Quebec more solidly behind the mission than ever.
The Conservative Party is well placed, and the longer they are in power, more of the federalist vote in Quebec will realize that the Conservative Party is a real alternative. And with that, more and more erstwhile Liberal voters will cross the divide and enrich the Conservative seat count.
We have all seen over the years that a switch in Quebecoise political tastes soon transfers over to Ontario as well, putting the Conservatives in position to clean up in Central Canada in a 2008 spring election. (Or this fall if McGuinty gets trounced at the polls)
The Liberals being in the 30s in this poll is an indication of the strength of their brand, not Stephane Dion. I am still convinced that the Conservatives could have received their majority had they gone to the polls this spring. In a direct Harper vs Dion comparison, there is no comparison. As one elderly fellow said to me after meeting Dion at an event this weekend, "what a nerd". No one has been exposed to Dion for an extended period. At the end of a campaign the Liberals would have fallen to the low 20s in popular support.
The Conservatives should use the summer to get their legislative act together (it has been a little sloppy recently), come back in the fall looking like a party ready to lead the nation, and the people will give them their majority. They need to draft a clear and concise message, stay on that message, and the votes will come their way.
And maybe kick the unelected and unaccountable Senate a couple times for good measure.