Well folks, the election has officially been called, and Forum has had first punch at gauging the opinion of the Canadian public. In this poll, the NDP has opened up a wide lead with 39% support. This is a level of support the NDP has previously never seen. The Conservatives and Liberals are in close battle for second place, with 28% and 25%, respectively. The Bloc Quebecois has 5% support, and the Greens have 3%.
Forum predicts that the NDP will win 160 seats, the Conservatives will have 118, the Liberals will have 58, and the Greens and Bloc will have one each.
Here is the seat projection using my model*:
British Columbia: 44% New Democratic (27 seats), 26% Liberal (7 seats), 24% Conservative (8 seats), 4% Green (0 seats)
Alberta: 42% Conservative (21 seats), 34% New Democratic (9 seats), 21% Liberal (4 seats), 2% Green (0 seats)
Saskatchewan/Manitoba: 37% New Democratic (10 seats), 35% Conservative (14 seats), 24% Liberal (4 seats), 2% Green (0 seats)
Ontario: 37% New Democratic (45 seats), 35% Conservative (56 seats), 24% Liberal (19 seats), 3% Green (1 seat)
Quebec: 38% New Democratic (49 seats), 23% Liberal (12 seats), 19% Bloc Quebecois (10 seats), 17% Conservative (7 seats), 2% Green (0 seats)
Atlantic Canada: 45% New Democratic (20 seats), 38% Liberal (10 seats), 12% Conservative (2 seats), 3% Green (0 seats)
Total: 39% New Democratic (161 seats), 28% Conservative (110 seats), 25% Liberal (56 seats), 5% Bloc Quebecois (10 seats), 3% Green (1 seat)
*Since Northern Canada was not polled, I will keep their seats with the same parties that won them in 2011 for the sake of simplicity.
My projection is largely close to this – the New Democrats would be 9 seats short of a majority with 161 seats, and the Conservatives would be the second place party with 110 seats. This places the Liberals in a potential kingmaker position with 56 seats. However, by numbers alone it is far more likely the Liberals would provide successful backing to an NDP government rather than a Conservative government. The Conservatives and Liberals combined would take 166 seats, 4 short of a majority. The Conservatives would additionally require the Bloc’s support to hang onto power, which may or may not happen considering the Bloc’s longstanding antipathy to the Conservatives. The Bloc’s 10 seats would put them 2 short of Official Party Status, and the Greens would win a single seat in Ontario.
The regional data spells out some trends – the New Democrats have British Columbia and Quebec in the bag, and the Conservatives have Alberta. There are three major battlegrounds remaining that can sway the election in several directions. Saskatchewan and Manitoba, previously a solidly Conservative area with some competition from the Liberals, now has the NDP neck-and-neck with the Conservatives. Ontario has been the continual battleground for some time now, though it has recently changed from a three-way race between the Conservatives, NDP and Liberals to a two-way fight between the Conservatives and NDP with the Liberals lacking. In these two battlegrounds, the NDP will have to overcome the formidable incumbency advantage to have a windfall in seats necessary for a majority.
The other battleground is Atlantic Canada, and this is between the NDP and the Liberals. For a long time, this was a Liberal stronghold, and the last one as the NDP eclipsed the Liberals, but now the NDP is competitive. This has significant implications for the Liberals – if they are falling behind even in their most solid area, then they do not have much chance of remaining the alternative to Harper, and their support will be down to their core as their soft support moves to the NDP.
That being said, campaigns are volatile, and nothing is set in stone. All of this could change a week from now. I look forward to watching covering the political battlefield of the 2015 federal election.