During this campaign, for the first time, The Globe and Mail invited a select group of readers - The Globe Catalysts - to participate in the process and tell us which party they would endorse.
Just as the electorate is surprising the pollsters, the Catalysts surprised us, focusing on the issues over the parties. Many wrote that they were alarmed by a sense of declining citizen engagement. But some Catalysts did settle on a party, with most endorsements focusing on one of the three major parties:
Liberals: Grit supporters talked about a more open, inclusive leadership style that Michael Ignatieff would bring.
NDP: Supporters praised Jack Layton's honesty, and said that "grassroots" issues needed to be put back on the table, especially those regarding inequality between rich and poor.
Conservatives: Supporters stressed "the stability" and "capable governance" that Stephen Harper and his party has already exhibited in office.
But overwhelmingly, the Catalyst group expressed concern for the state of democracy in Canada:
"I'm an optimist, but I cannot see the next Parliament being any better than the last unless the parties decide to put the country before themselves." - Jim Woodgett
"It is a sad irony that as many in other parts of the world … fight for the kind of democracy we take for granted, so many Canadian and U.S. politicians appear to be doing their best to dismantle these very institutions through contempt and self-interest." - Judy McGuire
"I believe that my rather cherished Canadian democracy is at risk. It is at risk because large numbers of voters either don't vote, or don't stop to consider their vote." - Loren Hicks