Heading into 2013, Canadians are confident about the economy, less confident about Harper

·Politics Reporter

Despite all the news about the Americans going over the 'fiscal cliff' next week, Canadians are still confident about our economy heading into the new year.

According to an Ipsos Reid poll released Thursday, 65 per cent of Canadians expect 2013 to be a ‘good’ year for the economy.

Moreover, 49 per cent of us approve of the Harper government's management of our finances.

"The polling we do every month in 24 countries around the world on 11 measures about the economy shows that the Canadian composite is the third highest — a steady increase over the past two years up from eighth place," explained Ipsos Reid vice president John Wright in an email exchange with Yahoo! Canada News.

"This translates into good approval ratings for the federal government as they are viewed to have the major role of stewardship for the economy."

[ Related: Canadians rank Budget 2012 as the top political story of the year ]

While those numbers aren't bad, things aren't as rosy for the Conservatives as they were this time last year.

Since February, the Harper government's approval rating — with regard to the economy — has dropped 5 percentage points.

And, according to polling analyst Éric Grenier, the Tories have lost support in the general opinion polls.

Grenier — Canada's version of Nate Silver — took the average of all the polls done in 2011 and compared them to all the polls done in 2012. He found that Tories fell 3.6 points to 33.9 per cent, while the NDP and Liberals each inched up 1 point to 31.2 per cent and 22.2 per cent respectively.

Yahoo! Year in Review:

"Altogether, 2012 has to be considered a bad year for the Conservative Party," Grenier wrote in his blog.

"In addition to shedding 3.6 points of support nationwide (or almost 1 out of 10 supporters from their 2011 average), the Conservatives dropped in every region."

Grenier goes on to say that at their current level of support, the Tories would likely lose their majority in an election.

Why the Tories have dropped in the polls is up for debate.

Perhaps a ballooning deficit, the F-35 debacle and the Bev Oda affair have left some wondering how fiscally conservative the Conservatives really are. Or maybe the protests over budget cuts and the omnibus budget implementation bills have finally caught up to them.

Or maybe it's just because of Justin Trudeau?

What will be interesting to see is if the Tories' downward trend continues in 2013.

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