The Liberals were able to exploit the fear of undefined change in 2004. No longer, it seems:
Fear of a Conservative government is no longer a potent argument for re-electing the Liberals, a new poll suggests.
Indeed, the Decima Research poll shows that Canadians regard the prospect of a Tory government with about the same enthusiasm, or lack thereof, as they view another Liberal regime.
Moreover, a healthy majority thinks a Conservative government would manage major public policy issues better or no differently than the ruling party.
Nationwide, the poll found 52 per cent of respondents considered the prospect of a Liberal majority undesirable, while 25 per cent found it desirable and 23 per cent found it acceptable.
The results were almost identical for a Tory majority: 56 per cent found that prospect undesirable, 25 per cent desirable and 19 per cent acceptable.
In Ontario, however, a Liberal majority was considered desirable or acceptable to 55 per cent, while only 41 per cent would say the same about a Tory majority. A Liberal minority was desirable or acceptable to 62 per cent of Ontarians, while 57 per cent said the same of a Conservative minority.
These results should also put to rest the claim that people don't want minority governments, ever, because of their supposed instability. The Bloc's dominance of Quebec alone will prevent majority governments, and everyone has had to adjust their expectations accordingly.
Unlike in 2004, Stephen Harper has wisely refrained from musing publicly about majority government. He's also balanced his policy announcements with one message: change, but not too much change. Ontario is not in the same economic position as it was in 1995, with a twelfth of the province on the welfare rolls, shrinking industry and rising deficits and taxes. The time is not ripe for another Common Sense Revolution-style platform, but people still think the Grits have lost the governing touch.
The fear is gone.
And that should have Paul Martin, very, very, frightened.
Source: National Post