There were a few reasons for the failure of the Conservatives in the last election. The negative campaigning didn't help them, it was basically 9 years of poor to bad news, The economy, jobs, people needed some fuzzy warmth and it was here that the Liberals had jumped in to give them what they wanted to hear, and it worked.
I really think that the Cons should have had a leadership convention, Harper should have stepped aside and let someone else lead in this past election. The Liberals are famous for this strategy, and it usually works for them. Chretien seceeded and Paul Martin stepped in. Mind you the last time the PC"s tried this, Mulroney gave the big chair to Kim Campbell, that didn't work out too well.
Harper also made a major faux pas by running the economy as a one trick pony, when oil bottomed out, we soon found our self in some serious trouble. We had GM by the short hairs, as a government in power and the fact that we hold some major shares, why not tell them that they had to expand production at the Canadian plants. This knid of thinking would have bought some very important Ont. votes.
I was not surprised to see the Libs win but the majority and the absolute beating the NDP took was a bit of a surprise. Anyway it was probably time for a change, and he has nice hair.