After what appeared to be the beginning of a slump for the NDP, Forum has released a new poll this week putting that possible trend to rest. The NDP has gained two points, achieving 34% support. The Conservatives, tied for first last week, are now tied with the Liberals in second place at 27%. The Bloc Quebecois is running at 7%, a pretty healthy segment of support post-2011. The Greens have rebounded to 5%, after a nadir in their numbers through a handful of Forum polls.
Forum predicts, with its numbers, that the NDP would form a minority government with 132 seats, the Conservatives will form the Official Opposition with 107, the Liberals will have potential kingmaker status with 79, the Bloc Quebecois will have 19 seats, returning to official party status, and the Greens would have one.
Here is the seat projection with my model*:
British Columbia: 46% New Democratic (30 seats), 24% Conservative (7 seats), 20% Liberal (4 seats), 10% Green (1 seat)
Alberta: 47% Conservative (25 seats), 29% New Democratic (7 seats), 17% Liberal (2 seats), 5% Green (0 seats)
Saskatchewan/Manitoba: 40% Conservative (13 seats), 39% Liberal (11 seats), 21% New Democratic (4 seats), 0% Green (0 seats)
Ontario: 34% Liberal (41 seats), 31% Conservative (42 seats), 30% New Democratic (36 seats), 4% Green (2 seats)
Quebec: 34% New Democratic (43 seats), 25% Bloc Quebecois (16 seats), 22% Liberal (11 seats), 16% Conservative (8 seats), 3% Green (0 seats)
Atlantic Canada: 47% New Democratic (24 seats), 30% Liberal (6 seats), 15% Conservative (2 seats), 8% Green (0 seats)
Total: 34% New Democratic (145 seats), 27% Conservative (99 seats), 27% Liberal (75 seats), 7% Bloc Quebecois (16 seats), 5% Green (3 seats)
*Since Northern Canada was not polled, their three seats will have the same MP’s in the total for the sake of simplicity.
With my numbers, I make essentially the same call as Forum, but with different amounts of seats. The New Democrats would form a minority government with 145 seats, the Conservatives would take Official Opposition with 99, the Liberals would have potential kingmaker status with 75, the Bloc Quebecois will return to Official Party Status with 16, and the Greens will increase their caucus to 3 seats.
The NDP has mostly positive returns in terms of regional trends. They are gaining in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada, and declining in Saskatchewan/Manitoba and Ontario. Gains in British Columbia and Quebec are both good for the party since these are strongholds that the NDP needs to maintain in order to win the election. Gains in Alberta, while still not at high enough levels to overturn the dominant Conservatives, are a good beacon of morale for the NDP. After all, the NDP surge of the last couple of months coincided with Rachel Notley’s NDP coming to power at the provincial level in Alberta. The gains in Atlantic Canada might be the biggest game-changer. For years, this has been the one consistent Liberal stronghold. If the NDP takes this, they may see a tidal wave of soft Liberal support going their way out of tactical voting.
The declines in Saskatchewan/Manitoba are not so important, since they have few seats to defend here. However, the declines in Ontario may be a problem. It has been a tight three-way race there for a couple of months now, and out of the two parties vying to replace the Conservatives in government, the Liberals are coming out on top here. If they can displace the NDP as the alternative in Ontario, it is a serious blow to the NDP’s chances at getting first place. If the Liberals can take Ontario, and gain in the rest of the country, the tide towards the NDP may swing the other way.
The Conservatives have a rather bleak outlook at the regional level. They are gaining in Ontario, and declining literally everywhere else at various levels. The gains in Ontario bode well for the Conservatives, since Ontario is a province at the center of every major party’s strategy. However, declines everywhere else, even with the bleeding of support the Conservatives have generally had (save for the last poll), are bad new for them. Declines from their 2011 result are likely after being a majority government for 4 years and in government in general for almost a decade, but they must focus on maintaining. They also must focus on a strategy for Quebec, so that they can find a way to expand there and offset other declines if they wish to win.
The Liberals have a more mixed bag when it comes to gains and declines. They are gaining in Saskatchewan/Manitoba and Ontario, staying steady in Alberta, and declining in British Columbia, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. Gains in Saskatchewan/Manitoba are good for the Liberals as they are largely untapped territory for them in recent times. Ontario bodes well for their strategy, too – if they can gain a lead in Ontario, it may lead the soft Liberals who have gone to the NDP back into the Liberal vote in a tactical move to defeat Conservatives. Declines in British Columbia and Quebec are setbacks, but not devastating, as they didn’t have high totals to begin with. However, they are harbingers of possibly worse to come for the party if they don’t concentrate their resources in areas of expansion. The real blow to the Liberals is in Atlantic Canada, their stronghold that they have now lost to the NDP. This may sway soft Liberal support in the NDP’s direction.
The Bloc Quebecois appears to be benefitting from Gilles Duceppe’s return to the leadership. Of course, with the fluctuations that have been occurring, it’s too early to tell whether they will be able to regain Official Party Status or not. However, gains are undeniable on the Bloc’s part. The Greens are also holding steady – they may have lost their one seat in Quebec in this projection, but they gained a more important one in its place – in British Columbia, the province where party leader Elizabeth May’s riding is located.