Polls at this point aren't much of a harbinger of anything. But a new poll by Abacus Data puts Stephen Harper's negative numbers at 50%. One out of every two Canadians disapprove of the prime minister. And the Conservatives and the New Democrats are tied, each with 35% support.
What is even more interesting is the geographical breakdown of that support:
The Conservatives also held a wide lead in Alberta, though with the NDP at 29 per cent the race is far closer than is usually the case. For their part, the New Democrats held a statistically significant lead in Atlantic Canada with 47 per cent to 28 per cent for the Tories.
The New Democrats also held the edge in British Columbia (39 to 34 per cent), the Prairies (43 to 40 per cent) and Quebec, where the NDP had 39 per cent to 30 per cent for the Bloc Québécois. Again, these are generally the sort of numbers that we have seen for months.
One suspects that Mr. Harper is not losing any sleep over these numbers. What they show is that energy rich Alberta and Saskatchewan -- who benefit from the petro-economy -- support him. The rest of the country does not seem so impressed. Even Ontario, the political fulcrum come election time, still gives the Liberals 23% support. And, if the party chooses Justin Trudeau as their leader, first indications are that 39% of Canadians would park their votes with him.
As complete as Stephen Harper's control of the agenda appears to be, this poll suggests that his fortunes could change quickly and radically.