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By John Ibbitson (@JohnIbbitson)
With Justin Trudeau's Liberals leading, according to most polls, we should expect to see Stephen Harper's Conservatives trying to bomb the bridge.
That's an expression that pollster Allan Gregg used during the 1988 federal election. John Turner's Liberals had jumped ahead of Brian Mulroney's Conservatives because of Mr. Turner's impassioned opposition to the proposed free-trade agreement with the United States. A bridge of trust is forming between Mr. Turner and the electorate, Mr. Gregg advised the Conservative leader. We need to bomb that bridge. The Conservatives embarked on a massive campaign of negative advertising and harsh campaign rhetoric. The strategy worked and Mr. Mulroney won a second majority government.
A similar bridge appears to have formed between Mr. Trudeau and the electorate. Expect to see the Conservatives doing everything in their power to bomb that bridge in the six days that are left, by repeating their campaign's themes: attacking Mr. Trudeau for making expensive promises, running budget deficits and being, as the Conservatives love to say, not ready to lead.
Stephen Harper's fate rests on whether they succeed.
PREFERRED PRIME MINISTER - FROM NANOS RESEARCH
Nik Nanos: "Trudeau and Harper top choices as preferred Prime Minister."
> Stephen Harper: 28.1 per cent (down 3.0 from last week)
>Justin Trudeau: 32.3 per cent (up 2.1 from last week)
> Thomas Mulcair: 20.5 per cent (down 0.2 from last week)
> Elizabeth May: 6.4 per cent (up 1.0 from last week)
> Gilles Duceppe: 2.3 per cent (unchanged from last week)
Nanos conducts daily tracking for The Globe and Mail and CTV. A three-day rolling sample of 1,200 Canadians are contacted through phone (cell and landline). The margin of error is 2.8 points. Click here for Nanos methodology.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING
By Chris Hannay (@channay)
> Stephen Harper appears to be campaigning on the defensive.
> Positive Liberal ads have been effective in the past, but those critical of Trudeau seem to be more effective now, a survey suggests.
> What addiction experts are saying about legalizing marijuana.
> Justin Trudeau is targeting disgruntled Conservative supporters in the runup to the election.
> How well do you know Elizabeth May?
TODAY'S ELECTION SIMULATION
The Liberals take 139 seats after a resurgence in Ontario and Quebec -- just ahead of the Conservatives' 137. The NDP, meanwhile, hold the balance of power with 56 seats from across the country. Try your hand at our simulator and find out what could happen if an election were held today.
Overall, the Liberals currently have a 51 per cent chance of winning the most seats.
WHERE THE LEADERS ARE
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper continues campaigning in Ontario, with a morning event in Etobicoke and an evening rally in London.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair campaigns in Oshawa and Brampton, with a VICE town hall in Toronto in-between.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau blitzes Toronto ridings in the morning, before visiting Kitchener in the evening.
MEET THE ADVISER BEHIND EVERY MOVE TRUDEAU MAKES
If there is to be a Liberal victory on Oct. 19, it will be largely a result of the unique partnership between Gerald Butts and Justin Trudeau. The two friends ... have formed a unique partnership in Canadian political history. Instead of a traditional leader-follower relationship, they operate on a peer-to-peer basis with no formal distance between the pair.
WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
"If the polls hold, Canadians could wake up to a hung Parliament after the 42nd general election, with no party able to command a majority of seats in the House of Commons. In that case, tradition, precedent and David Johnston's discretion could determine who governs Canada and for how long." – John Ibbitson on the Governor-General.
Geoff Plant (Globe and Mail): "There is a principle that is truly fundamental to our country. It is that we do not simply tolerate difference, we celebrate it."
Colin Robertson (Globe and Mail): "That trade, this time in the form of the recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is once again an election issue should come as no surprise."
Jason Markusoff (Maclean's): "Whether or not the Liberals win government, history may record another impressive feat: that it took one Trudeau to exorcise the ghosts of another Trudeau in Calgary."
LOOKAHEAD: WHAT TO EXPECT THIS WEEK
Leaders are campaigning furiously in the lead-up to the vote next Monday.
The election is in 6 days.
This newsletter is produced by Chris Hannay and Steve Proceviat.