The question everyone comes here to find out is what will happen in the next election.
The answer, as far as we can tell, is that Stephen Harper will win a majority.
Over the past year, Canadians have become more comfortable with the idea for a Harper majority, even if the Tories continue to make mistakes (so would the Liberals)
Ignatieff did catch the public's imagination for quite a while, but after he dropped off the radar, the idea of Harper winning a majority now seems almost inevitable.
If Harper is going to win why is he currently not polling at majority levels? The answer is that Canadians are still looking for another answer. People are not paying attention to the polls right now, they are buying x-mas presents for their children. When an election starts and people focus in, they will see how close Harper is (always within 15 seats) they will realize that he will win no matter what, and that they 'might as well just' give him a majority.
Of course, things can change, but at this moment, Harper looks set to win a majority in the coming spring or fall election.
So what does this mean? Well for one thing it is great news for Harper. It is bad news for those who are currently in a good position to be elected as Tory Leader (and lets face it, at this point that list is very short. Prentice, Flaherty, Kenney, and that's about it) but it is good news for the other possibilities who may be in a better position to challenge in 4 years; MacKay, and Day are two possibilities. Bernard Lord comes to mind, even Jean Charest if he can wiggle out of the Premier's office before his party loses to the PQ. With 4 years of good service in cabinet, Bernier, Barid, Van Loan, and Cannon all could make a solid run.
This is likely good news for the Bloc, as Harper would be much easier to skewer than Ignatieff would be, or Harper's replacement should he dare win yet another minority. The NDP also benefits as the country will move further away from how they want it to be, giving them more ammo in the following election. Both parties will also be free to pick a new leader, which they both likely will do in a few years regardless.
For the Liberals this can be a good thing. It gives them an excuse to sit down and take the party apart before putting it back together again. It is bad news for Ignatieff, who will be out, and also for the current "old guard" but great news for people like Justin Trudeau. Trudeau is currently "too young" to be a realistic contender for the leadership in these difficult times, but facing a Harper Majority, there is a good chance the Liberal Party will be willing to 'take a chance on a Trudeau' again and give him a good 2-3 years as opposition leader without the risk of an election.
Lastly, this is good news for Canada as a whole. Minority parliaments, while useful, often serve to only amplify the divisions that exist in this country. Whatever the Tories do while in office, it will be consistent to a single ideology. Rather than sitting and spinning our wheels, we will start moving somewhere. Weather that is a place Canadians want to go, however, is another question for another time.
Sorry, no extra data today!