Some have suggested that Barack Obama has the potential to affect this fall’s federal election. A recent Harris-Decima poll pegged the Democrat’s popularity in Canada in the 70 percent range. (Even on the Prairies, the country’s bastion of conservatism, Obama has the hypothetical support of two in three Canadians.) Whether it be his message of "change" or "hope", or simply his charismatic style, Obama’s brand of politics is said to be contagious, leaving Canadian voters yearning for an equivalent north of the border.
Establishing expectations are key to a party’s success in any election. George Bush’s “surprising” performance as an “underdog” in the 2000 U.S. Presidential campaign is only the most prominent example. (In that case, Karl Rove’s ability to downgrade people’s expectations of the soon-to-be-president’s oratory skills gave Bush the pivotal post-debate bounce that carried him to the White House.)