A few observations as we enter the last days of the election campaign:
Polls seem to be settling around a six to eight point lead for the Conservative Party, with a tie in Ontario and a continuing rise in Quebec.
Certainly, Tories can't be complacent about holding this lead right through to Monday. And it's not entirely unreasonable to fear that the lead might evaporate over the weekend if things go terribly wrong.
But election campaigns never repeat themselves exactly twice, even if the Liberals and their friends in the media are trying their best with a last-ditch fear campaign.
Paul Martin still had a lot of goodwill in 2004, even in Quebec. The full extent of Adscam corruption had not been made public, nor had Paul Martin's general incompetence and desperation to cling to power at any cost been fully manifested, as they were during the spring confidence crisis.
The Conservative Party had barely stitched itself together; a year earlier, the prospects of a united right had never been more remote. A campaign and platform had to be thrown together almost on the fly, and it led to a resulting lack of discipline and message co-ordination.
Most of the gaffes have been coming from the Liberal side, unlike last time, and they seem to be fairly continuous.
The mood for change was not as strong; SES's own national polls on the question never got much above 55%, while current polls are around 67%.
Nor had the Conservative Party's lead in 2004 polling even been as high as was in 2006, or as enduring. Most of all, Quebec was not even on the radar screen for the Tories in 2004, whereas it has now become the leading federalist alternative, and even picking away at Bloc support.
All of these factors in the Conservatives' favour were not present in 2004.
One major factor--media suspicion and hostility--has remained and will always remain, although it has been tempered somewhat.
And there will always be an irreducible bedrock support for the Liberal Party of about 30% of the national electorate, even in the face of complete disaster, because of the party's dominance in Toronto, and amongst hardcore social liberals, the intelligentsia, and constituencies dependent on government largesse.
The Conservative Party is in a much stronger position than it was in 2004, and the Liberal Party in a much weaker one.
But as in every election, it comes down to getting out the vote.
Stay the course.