Okay, so I've coined a silly word and am probably jumping the gun on this. Michael Ignatieff has only a smidgen of momentum but it's a good start for a guy who has been unable to get any for almost three years now. According to pollster Nik Nanos, Iggy's improved Leadership Index Score, a compendium of responses measuring voter attitudes toward trust, competence, and vision among the party leaders, is only really significant if it continues down this path. Leadership scores Nonos says are a leading indicator of momentum. “When a leader’s numbers start going up or down, there’s usually movement in the poll after that.”
Right on cue we see poll numbers reflecting that today with the most recent poll showing the Liberals within 6 points of the leading Tories -- 39.1% for the Conservatives to 32.7% for the Liberals. Unfortunately the Liberals look to have won the bulk of their new found support from the NDP and the Green parties -- Nik Nanos' rolling poll has them at 15.9% and 3.7% respectively. A sure sign that this election is up for grabs is the undecideds in this poll were at 21.7%!
For the first time Ignatieff's numbers are moving in the right direction and he looks to be comfortable with the narrative and plank that he's advancing out on the campaign trail. Today he added to that by announcing, in keeping with what he calls his family oriented platform, that a Liberal government would create what's being called the “Early Childhood Learning and Care Fund” and invest $500-million in its first budget to create new daycare spaces. To top off the Liberals Ignamentum, they are boasting about fundraising gains that have them raising $1 million dollars in the first four days of the campaign -- something that took them fully three weeks the last time around with Stephan Dion at the helm.
Jack Layton was in Montreal today where he said his party wants to eliminate $2 billion in subsidies for the oilsands, and put the money toward clean energy, an idea that has been endorsed by federal Finance Department officials, the Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation, and the G20, but has been rejected repeatedly by the Harper government.
Harper continues to have to play defense on the trail -- today he was still denying former talk of a coalition, even as a 14-year-old video surfaced. And the media is now reporting that he's backing out of a one on one debate with Michael Ignatieff. These are what are now called "bad optics" in politics. Harper looks weak and has been running as if he were behind as he calls out for "majority or bust." Something he may well regret he ever said.
The Toronto Star reporting on Harper's campaign stop in Halifax where he was voicing strong support for the Lower Churchill River hydroelectric project to deliver electricity across Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, said that while Harper stopped short of pledging Ottawa’s financial backing for the megaproject but left little doubt that his government was onside, calling it a “very important project” for Atlantic Canada. “It is a big chance to shift an entire region of the country toward greener energy and away from large-scale greenhouse gas emissions,” Harper said. To show how badly things are starting out for Mr. Harper, even when he's on the right side of an issue he still gets slammed, this time by the Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe who says that the PM is wooing Newfoundland voters with Quebeckers money.
Elizabeth May is getting support from around the country to have her included in the leaders debates including from Jack Layton and Joe Clark but without a sitting member in the House of Commons, she's going to have a tough time getting in. They are a party that offers up interesting ideas and that's something our democracy needs more of not less. Go sign the petition.