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The Conservatives have ridden the wave of momentum coming from multiple financial scandals to the top of the polls, according to the Globe & Mail this morning. Their new polling shows a national lead for Stephen Harper and his Tories of eight points over Paul Martin and the suddenly hapless Liberals:
Stephen Harper's Conservatives have opened up an eight-percentage-point advantage over the Liberals, the biggest gap of the campaign going into tonight's crucial debate, a new poll shows.
The survey, conducted for The Globe and Mail and CTV News by the Strategic Counsel, also shows that voters believe the Conservatives hold values that are closest to theirs, a turnaround from the first week of the campaign when Canadians identified more closely with Liberal values.
"This is huge," said Allan Gregg, chairman of the Strategic Counsel. "This really does show . . . that by virtue of the kind of campaign they've run, an issues-based, measured, moderate campaign, they have slowly convinced the population that they are not kind of offside the mainstream of Canada.
"If they can maintain this, they have basically taken the Liberals' trump card away."
If that is the basis for the gap, it could well come from a fury about the scandal-ridden governance of Paul Martin more than anything else. While people may want the government to provide them with cradle-to-grave services, they have begun to see that the cost results in a lack of accountability and even a shield from any kind of consequences for all but the most corrupt governments. The only way to keep politicians from raiding the till is to reduce the amount of money and power they can access -- and that fundamental value changes the calculation on all the others.
That lesson applies to Americans as well as Canadians, as both electorates have found out yet again.
The G&M poll shows the Tories up over the Liberals, 37-29, getting close to the range where Harper could wind up with a majority government. Even more important, the NDP has faded in Ontario along with the Liberal majority, and the Tories now own a 41-40 edge over the Liberals in their power base. That could mean a slew of new seats for Harper and deadly trouble for both Martin and NDP leader Jack Layton. That will be the key inside number to track in two weeks when the election results start coming in. If Ontario goes to the CPC, look for a majority government for Harper -- a stunning turn of fortune for the man who has endured repeated slurs about "hidden agendas" and was seen as unready for leadership as recently as two months ago.
And Martin has one last worry: if Harper gets his majority, the investigations into Adscam, Option Canada, and the income-trust insider trading will truly begin in earnest, as well as any other malfeasances. As one commenter from the Canadian capital put it, shredders in Ottawa have begun working overtime now.Sphere It View blog reactions
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