The Liberal Party's steady lead in the national election polls is masking a series of regional swings that would significantly reduce Paul Martin's minority and leave Canadians with an even more deadlocked Parliament than the last one.
That conclusion can be found in a new Strategic Counsel poll that shows the Liberals have lost a substantial amount of support in Montreal, where the Bloc Québécois is poised to pick up more seats, while the Conservatives are doing better in Southwestern Ontario than they did in the 2004 election.
By the same token, regional changes in British Columbia suggest the Tories could see their Ontario gains offset by losses to both the Liberals and the New Democratic Party in British Columbia.
The data suggest an appreciably reduced minority government for the Liberals. But a shift of a couple of percentage points could see the Tories under Stephen Harper form a minority government, even without taking as many overall votes as the Liberals.
Bearing in mind that the real campaign begins after New Year's Day, when the public's attention will be focussed on it, Gregg's findings are actually quite heartening.
The Liberals do best when they do nothing and hide Paul Martin away. Up until he made his handgun ban promise, this is more or less what Martin and company were doing.
Martin's handgun ban announcement has reminded the public just why they didn't like him in the first place. His pomposity and inconsistent, dithering nature shone through when he announced a new law that even his own party admits wouldn't change anything as his latest number one priority.
Whatever pops into his head at the moment is always his absolute number one priority. If everything is, nothing is.
If six points ahead is the best the Grits can do nationally, while they've been idling, can they expect to do better when they actually get into gear?