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SES: Harper’s “Best PM” advantage narrows as Dion soars into 2nd place.

Well now, here’s something to think about this AM. SES has a new federal poll out today. The results show a still tight race, but what is very interesting to me about this poll is the “Which leader would make the Best Prime Minister” part. Harper once had an 18 point lead over Dion – indeed, Dion was in 3rd, much to the glee of some other partisans in the NDP and Conservative parties. Personally, I don’t think that particular aspect of the polling is as important when it comes to voting on election day, but you couldn’t deny Canadians had an image problem of Dion, regardless of how relevant it was or is.

However, it appears Canadians are starting to warm a bit to Dion as they get to know him – Nik Nanos of SES comments:

Some very interesting movement on the best PM front. The Harper 18 point best PM advantage over Dion has melted away to an 8 point advantage in 90 days. The noticeable gains for Dion have been in Ontario.

I took a look to see how much Ontario helped – and it helped in a big way. In May of this year, the numbers were Harper 35, Dion 15 – with Layton at 19 in 2nd place. As of now, Harper has slid to 24%, with Dion jumping 18 points to 33. Layton is at 17%. It’s worth noting Dion’s best PM #’s went up across Canada in the past 90 days, but in Ontario, that’s an astounding 29 point swing in 90 days for Harper and Dion.

We can speculate all we want on why this has occurred. Its easy enough to say why Harper’s #’s went down – I’m sure a lot of Canadians didnt appreciate all of his cheap shots in Parliament and his rank partisanship over Afghanistan and the various missteps taken there. Why Dion’s sudden rise in Ontario? Is he connecting at the BBQ circuit? Are people a bit sympathetic for him with all the negative attack ads being thrown at him? Are they, as some media have suggested recently, able to see that at his base, he is a man of integrity and actually likeable compared to Harper’s at times over the top angry partisan rhetoric?

Very interesting #’s to chew on.

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