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By CHRIS HANNAY (@CHannay)
It was revealed yesterday that the Conservatives have tapped international political strategist Lynton Crosby for campaign advice. Mr. Crosby is credited with helping former Australian prime minister John Howard win in 2001, Boris Johnson win the mayoralty of London twice, and David Cameron secure a majority in this year's U.K. election. Given his home country, he's known as the "Wizard of Oz."
Mr. Crosby was credited with turning around the struggling campaign of Mr. Cameron's Conservatives earlier this year. Here is how he says he did it.
One: Voters won't notice campaign problems. "[Commentators say] 'Oh he's [Tony Abbott] got a crisis with the Speaker, he's got a crisis with this,' for the punters who are just trying to get the kids to school, worry about the mortgage, see if they can upgrade their house and not very happy with their daughter's boyfriend, these crises are becoming just 'please pass the peanuts'."
Two: On messaging. "Tone is very important when you're executing a negative campaign … Be clear and contrasting."
Three: On managing the economy. "Any conservative government has to own economic competence, you lose economic competence then you're in serious trouble, generally if you're a conservative you're not embraced because you're warm and fuzzy."
DAILY TRACKING FROM NANOS RESEARCH
Nik Nanos: "Major federal parties gripped in a very tight three-way race."
> Conservatives: 30.8 per cent (up 2.3 from last week)
> NDP: 29.9 per cent (down 0.5 from last week)
> Liberals: 30.9 per cent (up 0.7 from last week)
> Green: 4.6 per cent (down 1.2 from last week)
> Bloc: 3.2 per cent (up 0.8 from last week)
The margin of error is 2.8 points. Read the Nanos methodology
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING
> The Liberals have dropped a B.C. candidate over her pro-marijuana comments.
> Gilles Duceppe says Thomas Mulcair's plan to reform the Senate is unrealistic.
> Mr. Mulcair and Justin Trudeau will roll back limits to tax-free savings accounts.
> And while the Duffy trial may be on pause again, there's another political trial next week Stephen Harper won't like either.
TODAY'S ELECTION SIMULATION
Conservatives narrowly hold on to power with 119 seats, with the NDP not far behind at 114 and the Liberals take 104. Try your hand at our simulator and find out what could happen if an election were held today.
Overall, the NDP currently have a 48 per cent chance of winning the most seats.
WHERE THE LEADERS ARE
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is in Quebec today, starting in Victoriaville for a speech at 9 a.m. with local candidates, including regional cabinet minister Denis Lebel.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau continues his B.C. tour with a morning stop in Burnaby.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair starts the day with an infrastructure announcement in Edmonton.
THE DONALD TRUMP OF BRITAIN
Jeremy Corbyn, who is running for the leadership of Britain's opposition Labour Party, and Donald Trump, the would-be U.S. Republican presidential nominee, are frequently mentioned together in Britain these days – two mavericks whose unexpected successes identify them as symptoms of a malaise infecting politics on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Mark MacKinnon examines the two politicians.
WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
"Much of what the Conservatives have done in two big areas they identified as critical – economic policy and criminal justice – will remain, opposition party rhetoric notwithstanding. The Conservatives have placed their imprint on important aspects of Canadian public policy, and the other parties seem unwilling to erase them."
– Jeffrey Simpson on Stephen Harper's legacy.
Gary Mason (Globe and Mail): "Ms. Notley is not recoiling. To do so would be a mass betrayal to the hundreds of thousands of people who voted for her party in Alberta's spring election. "
Tim Harper (Toronto Star): "The problems in the Conservative campaign are real and they are deep."
Michael Den Tandt (Postmedia): "Tellingly, neither Trudeau nor Mulcair has broken free at the campaign's mid-point."
Tasha Kheiriddin (iPolitics): "There are few sure things in politics, but here's one: there will be bozos, and they will erupt."
LOOKAHEAD: WHAT TO EXPECT THIS WEEK
The next scheduled debate is on Sept. 17, hosted by The Globe and Mail in Calgary.
The election is in 38 days.