January 10, 2006


Tories head for majority: Poll shows `breakthrough' for party; `Significant growth' in Ontario, Quebec (RICHARD BRENNAN, 1/10/06, Toronto Star)

The survey, conducted by EKOS Research Associates for the Toronto Star and La Presse, shows Stephen Harper's Conservatives have sailed into majority government territory after a stunning week of rising popularity, largely at the expense of the Liberal party.

The EKOS survey of 1,240 Canadians through the weekend and yesterday found 39.1 per cent support for the Conservatives. The Liberals had 26.8 per cent support; the NDP 16.2 per cent; the Bloc Québécois 12.6 per cent; and Green party 4.6 per cent.

"This is the breakthrough Harper has been waiting for," EKOS president Frank Graves said.

Night quickly turned personal: Martin, Harper spar over ethics (SUSAN DELACOURT; BRUCE CAMPION-SMITH; ROBERT BENZIE, 1/10/06, Toronto Star)
This election campaign is now deeply personal, Canada's main party leaders made clear in their TV debate last night, trading jabs over values, rights, ethics and national identity.

Prime Minister Paul Martin, fighting from a faltering position in the polls, took his best shots at Stephen Harper in Montreal last night. But the Conservative leader, smiling and calm, repeatedly took aim at Martin's Liberals as tired, corrupt and past their best-before date.

Forget checking for the sell-by date, at this rate there'll be a picture of Mr. Martin on the side of the carton.

The hunter becomes the hunted (JAMES TRAVERS, 1/10/06, Toronto Star)

Showing some of the pressure that inevitably builds on frontrunners, Harper's performance was notably more edgy.

But his grasp of issues was strong and he easily turned back a three-party assault on the ethics of his leadership fundraising.

Those attacks are the clearest evidence yet of how much this campaign has changed since the first round of debates.

What now seems like an eternity ago, Conservatives were bogged down below 30 per cent in opinion polls and this election seemed like a replay of the last.

What's even more obvious today is the event now threatening to make losers of Liberals. Sure-footed as the Conservative campaign was and is, it took the RCMP probe into alleged leaks of Finance Minister Ralph Goodale's income trust decision to provide needed traction.

Along with providing last night's first question, that investigation refreshed memories of scandal. Equally important, it made tough Conservative television ads credible and makes it difficult for Liberals to move from defence to offence.

Politicians forced to constantly defend themselves rarely win elections. With less than two weeks left, Martin must shift the focus away from his party's past to its economic record and, ultimately, to those lingering doubts about Harper.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 10, 2006 7:51 AM

Geez, Boss, I'm really touched. Didn't know you cared so much. Maybe we can add a little maple leaf in that cute picture at the top of your blog. We all thank-you from the bottom of our frozen little hearts.

Having said that, would you please stop it RIGHT NOW!

Posted by: Peter B at January 10, 2006 9:09 AM

This is reminding me a lot of the 1980 U.S. presidental election -- not that Stephen Harper is on his way to being the next Ronald Reagan, but once a certain segment of the public in that "moderate" area could finally see Reagan as president of the United States and the voters felt safe in shoowing their true feelings towards the incompetent James Earl Carter, the entire election reached a tipping point and went from a nail-biter in the polls to a landslide. Here the number of people who up to this point couldn't see themselves voting conservative may have finally reached the same stage and they now feel safe punishing the Liberals for their well-publicized problems.

Posted by: John at January 10, 2006 9:38 AM


And the fascinating thing about the '80 election was that the tipping point came so late because there was just the one debate at the end of the campaign.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2006 10:25 AM

I think John nailed it. The pollsters are doing a double-take (see article further up).

Posted by: Gideon at January 10, 2006 1:15 PM