In the wake of the gun registry vote, Ekos pollster Frank Graves said to The Globe's Jane Taber:
"I think it's pretty adventurous on the part of the Conservatives," says EKOS pollster Frank Graves. The Conservatives need a good showing Monday in Quebec to gauge how they would do in a general election. They need Quebec to form a majority government. Noting that next month will be the 20th anniversary of the shootings at the Ecole Polytechnique in which 14 women were gunned down, Mr. Graves wondered if anyone in Conservative ranks considered how this would play in Quebec.
"Did anyone think about that? Personally I think the government has been pretty politically astute for the most part and has run relatively error free," he said. "I don't get this one. … I think there could be a real backlash. This is the sort of thing in Quebec that could be extremely unhelpful."
In fairness to Mr. Graves, other pollsters also predicted that Stephen Harper's Conservatives would pay a price in Québec for their gesture.
Yesterday, on the morning of the by-elections, La Presse's Vincent Marissal tagged this onto his column as an addendum:
"Five years ago, in the midst of the sponsorship scandal, Paul Martin's Liberals were amazed that during their tours of the regions, fishy publicity contracts were much less on the minds of Quebeckers than was the gun registry.
Stephen Harper knows that. He's doing what he does best: slicing the electorate into small segments, in order to scrape together the votes he needs outside metropolitan areas."
Score one for the journalist.