Door knobs, super-sized cheques with Tory logos and largesse going disproportionately into Conservative ridings have helped to change the narrative away from the Liberals in the last week. No longer is the story that of the Grits gunning to force an unwanted federal election.
And this plot switch is reflected in at least one of two new national opinion polls released Thursday. Both polls, however, show the Harper Conservatives in majority government territory, a place they have been consistently for the last few weeks.
This consistency, pollster Nik Nanos says, may just be the "new normal."
His latest survey shows the Conservatives with 39.8 per cent support of Canadians compared to 30 per cent for the Ignatieff Liberals, 16.6 per cent for the NDP, the Greens are at 4.6 per cent and the Bloc at 8.9 per cent.
"I think what we are seeing now is possibly a new trend where the Conservatives are able to stay in majority territory for more than a week," Mr. Nanos said. "And the key thing to watch is how long can they sustain themselves in the high 30s, low 40s?"
The Conservative lead is based on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent performances on the international stage, his stable handling of the economy and his "mantra" that now is not a good time for an election, Mr. Nanos said. He warned, however, that the numbers are volatile and could change dramatically if the Conservatives make a major blunder.
A second poll today, from EKOS, has the Harper Conservatives supported by 38.3 per cent of Canadians compared to 27.1 per cent for the Ignatieff Liberals. The NDP are at 14.5 per cent, the Green Party is at 11 per cent and the Bloc is at 9 per cent.
This is a change from last week's EKOS survey in which the Tories were at a high of 40.7 per cent and the Liberals at 25.5 per cent.
In his analysis of this latest poll, EKOS president Frank Graves noted last week's news was dominated more by the Tories and their stimulus strategy than "on Liberal attempts to bring down the minority Conservative government."
But while the Conservative focus may be the reason for the Tory's slight decline in the EKOS poll, Mr. Nanos says that in the end the Tory stimulus strategy might just work in their favour.
He said the "unspoken subtext" of the stories pointing out that big beautiful new hockey rinks and other infrastructure is going into Tory ridings is that it's good to vote for the Conservatives because they deliver.
"If you are in a Conservative riding perhaps you are getting a better share of the stimulus focus," Mr. Nanos said.
This is a variation on "the old road-paving" way of garnering votes, which Mr. Nanos said works especially well in Quebec where even sovereignists like to get their fair share from the federal government.