This article seems to blame Ignatieff's decline on the fact that he attempted to force an election. While this may be a factor it is hard to gauge how much. Ignatieff has not brought forth any clear policy ideas nor has he even been very effective in his criticisms. Bland slogans such as: We can do better, are a poor substitute for imaginative policy. The best that can be said is that the Liberals at least are not losing more ground so that Harper will not be tempted to inject a posion pill in some legislation to force an election in the hope of gaining a majority. At least Ignatieff cannot be accused of coming near Dion territory in at least staking out some definite policy such as the Green Shift. In fact Ignatieff is perhaps shy of saying anything significant because the Conservatives might pounce on it. This is from the National Post.
John Ivison: Ignatieff closing in on Dion territory
Andrew Barr, National Post
The good news for Michael Ignatieff in a new Nanos Research poll is that he is still more popular than was his predecessor, Stephane Dion, after he lost the last general election just over a year ago.
The bad news is that another month like the one just passed and the Liberal leader will be in Dion territory -- that is, where only one in 10 Canadians think he would make the best Prime Minister.
The latest poll shows that Mr. Ignatieff's popularity has fallen off a cliff since the summer. When he became leader, he was within touching distance of Stephen Harper, with the percentage of people thinking he would make the best prime minister consistently in the high 20s, compared to Mr. Harper's numbers in the low 30s.
But his attempt to force an election in September was one of the most spectacular miscalculations in recent Canadian political history. The new survey, taken before and after Monday's byelections, suggests twice as many people think Mr. Harper would make the best PM (34.8%) as Mr. Ignatieff (17.7%). Jack Layton, the NDP leader, was considered best PM material by 15% of respondents -- a significant drop-off from his pre-coalition score last year, when he regularly out-polled Mr. Dion.
The regional polls have large margins of error but it is interesting to note that even in Quebec, Mr. Harper is considered a better bet than Mr. Ignatieff.
Nanos also asked which party respondents would support if there were a federal election. The Conservatives received the support of 38%, down one point on last month's poll; the Liberals were at 28.8%, down marginally month on month; the NDP were up slightly at 17.9%; as were the Greens at 5.9%. Again the margin of error is high regionally, but the uptick in NDP support in B.C. evident in the poll (up more than 2 points to 25%) was apparent in the byelection result in New Westminster-Coquitlam last week.
There is great concern in Conservative ranks that any gains in central Canada at the next election could be wiped out if the party lost some of its 22 seats in B.C. to the NDP over the harmonized sales tax issue. For this reason, if no other, one suspects the government will be keen to avoid a general election around the time the HST is introduced in B.C. and in Ontario next summer.
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