Or, so the story goes, it will be inevitable unless the Liberals get their act together.
But, like any good Liberal partisan, I dispute the notion of a Harper majority, no matter how well he can play the piano or appeal to issues-voters on the basis of crime, guns, and country. After nearly five years in power, three successively weak Liberal leaders and fairly uninspiring Bloc, NDP, and Green movements, Mr. Harper's Conservatives are stagnant, and if the polls are right, no closer to their majority than they were back in 2006. Indeed, even bringing the Liberals down to their lowest levels of modern support, derailing its leadership and its organization, and scoring an 11-point victory over the former natural governing party in 2008, co-opting its Ontario-based suburban powerhouse, they're still sit short of a majority in the House of Commons, and had to fight tooth and nail for their coveted plurality (or is it now a majority?) in the Senate, where the Liberals still manage to piss them off one or two times a week. Harper is not exactly rolling about in momentum.
Indeed, even with the most recent polling out by several pollsters, not including Ekos, the numbers have moved little. Nanos, AR, and Abacus shows maybe one or two points difference between their last polls and their most recent. The media jumped on it simply because of the timing right after the by-elections, and proof that Ignatieff was going down. Ekos breaks the trend, though whether its an outlier or not, I'm not willing to bet on it. After all, all individual Ekos polls are weird in some way, but they usually follow trends very well. One wonders who is right.
But either way, even the other pollsters, according to 308.com's projections, don't permit Harper a majority in the House. Canadians just cannot bring themselves to give this man their total confidence, preferring to divvy it among the Opposition parties to varying degrees. So then the media stirs up talk about "cluster strategies" and appealing to their core supporters while depressing Opposition voters, but one has to ask themselves why Harper has to employ all of these political strategies in order to win. If Harper really is the man to return respect to Canada's Conservatives by delivering them their majority, you'd think they wouldn't have to stoop to those levels, right? Right!?....
Layton, Duceppe, May, and Lord knows Ignatieff, are not exactly up to the task of taking on the Conservative machine in any effective manner. They should have been railroaded back in 2008. Instead, the Liberals and Bloc held on, the NDP squeezed in their share, and the Conservatives were deprived of their 155 seats. This was not because people flocked to the Opposition; it's because the Conservatives could not manage to get enough voters on their side. And the blame for that I would lay squarely at the feet of Stephen Harper.
He is both an asset and a liability. He is not popular, but he's seen as effective, or at least the most effective out of the bunch we have up there in Ottawa right now. This balance, aloofness, whatever you call it, keeps his party from winning a majority. Canadians are simply not willing to hand all the keys over to him unconditionally. They simply will not do it. It's why any Liberal you talk to says that if Harper was replaced by someone else, the Conservatives would have their best shot at getting a majority. It's why a lot of us don't want Harper to leave, because we know he'll fail to get a majority, fail to destroy the Liberals, and why we have a fighting chance. Because there really is nothing wrong with the Conservatives, but there is something terribly wrong with Stephen Harper. And the voting public knows this. That "hidden agenda" aspect of his reputation and leadership has never left.
So, next time someone tells you that the Conservatives will get a majority, tell them that they're right - when they get rid of Harper. They very well may be a Conservative majority government on the horizon, but there will not be a Harper majority. As long as he is leader, it's pretty much unattainable.