01/03/2013 10:52 EST | Updated 03/05/2013 05:12 EST

The Nanos Number: Canadians less certain over country's direction

Nik Nanos digs beneath the numbers with CBC News Networks Power & Politics host Evan Solomon to get to the political, economic and social forces that shape our lives.

This week: Why do fewer Canadians feel the country is moving in the right direction?

Nanos Research has done a tracking poll looking at the mood of Canadians and the direction they think the country is going in. Nik Nanos says the results might be worrying for the government.

Canadians were asked: "Would you say that Canada as a country is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction?"

Forty-eight per cent responded the country was headed in the right direction. Twenty-seven per cent thought the country was moving in the wrong direction and 25 per cent of Canadians were unsure.

That's a significant change from 2011, when 64 per cent of Canadians said the country was moving in the right direction, 28 per cent said the country was moving in the wrong direction and only 9 per cent were unsure.

While 48 per cent is still a pretty high number for the Conservatives, "looking at the trend you have to be concerned about people moving out of that column and into unsure because it means they are potentially up for grabs," Nanos said.

Factors behind the drop

Nanos said the change in support is driven by a number of factors with a number issues dogging the government right now, including the controversy over robocalls during the last federal election, the cost of the F-35 fighter jet and the omnibus budget bills.

"But I would say the number one thing is the economy. And for the Conservatives, the party that has built its brand around stewardship of the economy, this is going to be the key issue to watch," Nanos said.

Confidence numbers show Canadians are tentative about 2013 when it comes to the economy, so Conservatives should watch out on this issue especially, Nanos said.

Nanos added that Nanos Research has been tracking the direction Canadians feel the country is going in for six years and 2012 saw the highest level for "Unsure" responses, at 24 per cent. That could benefit the opposition parties.

"Usually when the unsure numbers go up, that's indicative of potential movement. People don't switch from one team politically to another team, they park," Nanos said.

For the opposition, Nanos says this is an opportunity to grab some of those unsure voters and try to convince them what the government is doing has the country on the wrong track.