Interesting piece by Ivison in today's Post.
Certainly Michael Ignatieff has captured Canada's attention for the moment.
The only thing we must remember is that the polls are fickle -- today's hero is tomorrow's bum.
The real issue everyone is focussed on now is the economy -- if the economy does not turn around before the next election there will be a natural tendency to try "the other guy". Regardless, with new strong and popular leadership the situation for the Liberal Party is greatly improved over, say, six months ago.
John Ivison: Liberals enjoy the Ignatieff effect
John Turner once joked that the Liberal Party was so split that if he won a general election, the caucus would demand a recount. That was then.
Such was the disenchantment with the Stéphane Dion era, that the Messiah-like arrival of Michael Ignatieff seems to have reduced the appetite for rebellious mischief to record lows.
“There are people who are saying ‘let’s check this guy out - I used to vote Liberal’. They’re coming to the door,” the new leader told staff and MPs at a reception in Ottawa on Wednesday. “We have got to show them a Liberal Party that likes itself. Let’s put aside the fights and show them a party worthy of their trust.”
All the signs suggest that Canadians are indeed coming to the door. A new Nanos Research poll reveals that Canadians believe the new Liberal leader handled the budget adeptly, with 35% of those surveyed saying his performance was good or very good, compared to 14% who thought he did poorly. Stephen Harper was also given pass marks for his handling of the budget, with 40% thinking he did well or very well, compared to 24% who thought he did badly.
But there was less encouraging news for Mr. Harper when respondents were asked whether leaders would have a positive or negative impact on local party candidates. Thirty-eight per cent thought Mr. Ignatieff would have a positive effect, against just 19% who believed he would be a negative influence. He recorded positive numbers in every region of the country.
By contrast, while 37% felt positively about Mr. Harper, 32% felt negatively, with much of the ill-will concentrated in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
Full story here: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/02/12/john-ivison-liberals-enjoy-the-ignatieff-effect.aspx