Harper is in his third election campaign, but he somehow forgot to write a coherent platform before the start of the campaign. That's not smart. There are a number of miscalculations on Harper's part that I think are going to come under increasing scrutiny in the remaining days of the campaign. Mistakes and blunders.
One of Harper's glaring weaknesses is his inablity to perform in the confrontational one-on-one interview format. Harper gets angry and brittle.
The debates were in a very similar format and that hurt him (especially in Quebec)
Compare and Contrast Dion/Harper Interviewed on RadioCanada.
Harper' s Interview
(try clicking the links twice; the second try seems to work or just go here)
Harper's body language is all wrong. At one point, in a defensive posture, Harper looks like he is trying to shove his shoulders into his ears. But that is not the major problem.
It is not because Harper has an accent. Harper's french is not good, but that is not the reason why he is doing so miserably in Quebec right now. Dion's english is highly accented too, but he is able to use english much more effectively than Harper. Listen to the interview when Bernard Derome asks Harper what he meant when he said that Canadians have become more conservative. The problem is not Harper's french (which is not good) but that he does not have an answer beyond the soundbite.
In general Harper demonstrates a lack of reflexion in all his answers. Dion excels in this format because it shows he has thought through the issues before and is only looking for the correct words to express his ideas. Under close questioning, Harper's ideas are absent beyond glib one-liners.
Derome is equally tough on both Dion and Harper (well maybe a little easier on Harper because of the language barrier). The funniest part is at the end of the Harper interview when Derome takes Harper to task over rumours (rumours intitiated by Conservatives) that a Conservative government would dismantle the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Harper totally flubs the answer.
The problem with Harper in Quebec is the issues. And he should have known this and planned for it a long time ago. Harper is on the wrong side of almost every issue and a smile won't cover that up. (Not that Harper even tries to smile)
The Conservatives are heading toward disaster in Quebec. Harper is to blame.