In the latest Ipsos Reid poll, the NDP and Conservatives are in a virtual tie. The NDP narrowly leads with 34% and the Conservatives are close behind at 33%, a margin smaller than the margin of error. The Liberals languish in a more distant third than last week at 25%. Bringing up the rear are the Bloc Quebecois at 5% and the Greens at 3%.
Here is the seat projection using my model*:
British Columbia: 39% New Democratic (22 seats), 32% Conservative (13 seats), 20% Liberal (6 seats), 9% Green (1 seat)
Alberta: 57% Conservative (29 seats), 28% New Democratic (5 seats), 11% Liberal (0 seats), 3% Green (0 seats)
Saskatchewan/Manitoba: 39% Conservative (16 seats), 32% New Democratic (7 seats), 25% Liberal (5 seats), 3% Green (0 seats)
Ontario: 37% Conservative (63 seats), 32% New Democratic (31 seats), 28% Liberal (27 seats), 2% Green (0 seats)
Quebec: 37% New Democratic (49 seats), 24% Liberal (12 seats), 22% Bloc Quebecois (11 seats), 15% Conservative (6 seats), 2% Green (0 seats)
Atlantic Canada: 41% Liberal (18 seats), 32% New Democratic (8 seats), 24% Conservative (6 seats), 3% Green (0 seats)
Total: 34% New Democratic (123 seats), 33% Conservative (135 seats), 25% Liberal (68 seats), 5% Bloc Quebecois (11 seats), 3% Green (1 seat)
*Because Northern Canada was not polled, I am keeping their seats with the same parties that hold them currently for the sake of simplicity.
Despite lagging behind slightly in the popular vote, the Conservatives would have a plurality of seats at 135. The New Democrats would form an increased Official Opposition at 123. The Liberals, ideologically between the NDP and Conservatives, would face a kingmaker situation with 68 seats. The Bloc Quebecois would take 11 seats, one short of regaining Official Party Status. The Greens would retain their seat in their leader’s home province.
Over the past few months, there has largely been stability at the regional level. However, there are two regions at play for the parties that could affect the outcome of the election – Ontario and Atlantic Canada. Ontario is in play for the Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP alike – who have all led at one point or another. The province is crucial for the strategies of all three parties and while a win in this province does not guarantee a plurality, it will make it much more unlikely for those who lose the province to see a path to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Atlantic Canada, while less crucial, has a chance for a moral victory for the NDP. Even with the Liberal downturn, the Liberals for the most part have led in this region. Even though only one stronghold is left for the party, having one gives the Liberals infinitely more viability in the eyes of the voters than having none. If the NDP can gain this region, then they become the viable alternative to the Conservatives nationwide, and the Liberals will retain only a loyal core of voters and a small pool of tactical voters for the second election in a row.