There's an interesting pattern to Harper's polling numbers.
While he isn't being held accountable by the people in Parliament, his fortunes aren't too bad. Put him in Parliament, and the nasty, vicious side of the man comes out in public, and it's on the public record.
The latest polls show that Harper is not making any forward progress - especially not for a sitting Prime Minister. He remains a figure that is deeply divisive to voters. He has a commanding presence among voters over the age of 50, and among male voters. But overall, he's running in a dead heat with the Liberals. (Both holding an overall 31% of the decided voters)
I suppose the other side of the coin is that one could argue that the Liberals' Stephane Dion has not been terribly successful either. However, Dion is not the sitting PM - the next election is Harper's to lose - and PMs lose elections because they have not impressed the voters.
Harper's closed-door approach to government directly and obviously violates his explicit promises to be more open and accountable. A public persona that is best describe as cold, arrogant and pugnacious hardly creates a public image that is going to attract people to him as a person - which means he has to be seen to be clear of vision and direction. Instead, we have a man who drifts rudderless when he runs out of carefully planned script.
The rumblings in Alberta that could shake the provincial PC's to the core don't help Harper much either. Alberta is "home turf" for the Con$, and locally the two parties are seen as deeply linked. If the PC's lose backing, you can bet that will dilute the federal Con$ vote as well.