It turns out the latest EKOS poll appears to be an anomaly in what appears to be a continuing upward trend to the NDP. In the latest Forum poll, the NDP is in a strong lead with 36%, and the Conservatives and Liberals tied at 28%. The Bloc Quebecois is back to largely normal at 5%, and the Greens have hit an unusual low at 2%. The NDP has never experienced this large of a lead in the history of polling. This is good news for the NDP, as their competitors are being hit in the regions where it hurts.
Here is the seat projection with my model using the latest Forum Poll*:
British Columbia: 54% New Democratic (35 seats), 21% Conservative (4 seats), 20% Liberal (3 seats), 4% Green (0 seats), 1% Other (0 seats)
Alberta: 41% Conservative (22 seats), 28% New Democratic (6 seats), 27% Liberal (6 seats), 3% Green (0 seats), 1% Other (0 seats)
Saskatchewan/Manitoba: 40% New Democratic (13 seats), 34% Conservative (10 seats), 25% Liberal (5 seats), 1% Other (0 seats), 0% Green (0 seats)
Ontario: 33% New Democratic (40 seats), 32% Conservative (42 seats), 32% Liberal (39 seats), 2% Green (0 seats), 1% Other (0 seats)
Quebec: 36% New Democratic (46 seats), 25% Liberal (13 seats), 20% Bloc Quebecois (10 seats), 17% Conservative (9 seats), 2% Green (0 seats), 1% Other (0 seats)
Atlantic Canada: 41% Liberal (17 seats), 32% Conservative (10 seats), 24% New Democratic (5 seats), 2% Green (0 seats), 0% Other (0 seats)
Total: 36% New Democratic (146 seats), 28% Conservative (99 seats), 28% Liberal (83 seats), 5% Bloc Quebecois (10 seats), 2% Green (0 seats), 1% Other (0 seats)
*Since Northern Canada was not polled, their three seats will have the same MP’s in the total for the sake of simplicity.
These results put the NDP 23 seats short of a majority government, but well ahead of any of their opposition with 146 seats, a gain of 43 from their 2011 result. The Conservatives will form the Official Opposition for the first time since 2004 with 99 seats, down 67 from their 2011 result and being out of government for the first time in almost a decade. The Liberals will remain in third with 83 seats, up 49 from their 2011 result. This may come as a disappointment to them considering the Trudeaumania of 2013 and 2014, but it still puts them in kingmaker status. The Bloc Quebecois will bring up the rear with 10 seats, up from 4 in 2011, just two shy of Official Party Status. The Greens would be shut out of Parliament. However, because their vote distribution tends to be less uniform than the other parties, just like when it has a high amount of seats projected, a projection of zero can be unlikely as well.
In relation to the last Forum poll, the NDP increases its caucus by 9 seats (137 to 146), remaining a minority government. The Conservatives increase from third in the popular vote to a tie with the Liberals in 2nd place, and increase their caucus by 3 seats (96 to 99). The Liberals decrease their caucus by 1 seat (84 to 83). The Bloc will decline by 6 seats (16 to 10), losing official party status, and the Greens will lose all 5 of their projected seats last week (5 to 0), being shut out of the legislature. These seats, at the national level, appear largely to be bleeding from the Bloc and Greens to the NDP.
At the regional level, it makes sense that gains and losses are far from uniform. The seat totals did not vary drastically compared to last week. The NDP is gaining in British Columbia, Saskatchewan/Manitoba and Quebec, stagnating in Ontario, and declining in Alberta and Atlantic Canada. The Conservatives are gaining in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada and declining in British Columbia and Saskatchewan/Manitoba. The Liberals are gaining in Alberta and Atlantic Canada, stagnating in Saskatchewan/Manitoba, and Ontario, and declining in British Columbia and Quebec. The Bloc Quebecois is declining in Quebec. The Greens are stagnating in Alberta, Saskatchewan/Manitoba, and Atlantic Canada, and declining in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.
What implications do these results have if representative of public opinion? The NDP is doing well in the areas where it has had strength since the 2011 election (British Columbia and Quebec). Its stagnation in Ontario is still an overall gain from 2011, and may represent a ceiling of support. Saskatchewan and Manitoba represent a largely untapped ground and can gain the NDP some seats. Alberta appears to be somewhat troubling, as the NDP’s surge has come after Rachel Notley’s win in the province. Atlantic Canada’s results are a return to form in a region traditionally dominated by the Liberals. The Conservative gains in most regions are still declines compared to 2011, but it bodes well for them that they are retaining strength in Alberta and Ontario, both being necessary provinces for the Conservatives to sweep. It is also good for them that they are making gains in Quebec, possibly the only province where they have untapped ground. However, British Columbia and Saskatchewan/Manitoba have been previous Conservative strongholds, and declines there cannot bode well for them. The Liberals doing well in Atlantic Canada is helpful as it has been a traditional stronghold, and gains in Alberta represent untapped ground. However, stagnation and decline everywhere else means a very difficult road to the Prime Minister’s Office. However, in all regions, they will gain from 2011. The Bloc Quebecois does not appear to have benefitted in any meaningful way from Gilles Duceppe’s return, and the Greens would be shut out entirely.