Brian Topp has said in this article, more effectively and in greater detail than I, what I have been saying. It is very difficult for Ignatieff to fight this election when he is so politically close to his primary opponent on so many issues. Of course, I am not sure that most voters are really seing it this way. I don't believe most Canadians sit around and think that carefully about the similarities between Harper and Ignatieff in substantive policy terms. Instead what I think is that Ignatieff simply doesn't have enough to sell to Canadians to pull them away from the incumbent party, and as we all know under many circumstances incumbents have a genuine advantage. I think over the years the Liberal Party has shifted to the right far enough to give us little to distinguish between them and the Conservatives. Now, don't get me wrong, Ignatieff has made important points about process and these issues have, I am sure, swayed some voters who are disturbed by Harper's blatant disregard for the rules of the House and freedom of information. And in the long run these could be very important issues for the continuation of our democracy. But the past couple of years have demonstrated that many Canadians don't understand how our system is supposed to work and have little interest in finding out. Thus, it is just unlikely that the Liberals would be able get enough prospective Conservative voters excited about these kinds of issues to sway the vote.
I am not sure if this has significantly affected the NDPs position. They have gone up substantially in Quebec and BC but I am not sure if their poll numbers are regional issues or not. I know that people are saying that Jack Layton has a great deal of personal appeal in Quebec. I think probably there are many prospective NDP voters who just don't see the Liberals as a real alternative to Harper and are smart enough to know that, despite what the Conservatives tell us, the NDP is in no sense a radical socialist party. On the other hand, there are also many NDP voters who are deeply afraid of a Harper majority. So these two groups must, at least in part, cancel each other out. But I suspect that overall the NDP vote will go up significantly, even if their seat count doesn't.
Finally, if Ekos latest seat projection is correct then I can't see Mr. Harper maintaining the office of Prime Minister.