This morning, Ipsos Reid released a new poll confirming a trend that the Nanos poll touched upon: the tightening of the horserace back to a three-way race between the Conservatives, NDP, and Liberals rather than a competition between the Conservatives and NDP with the Liberals as kingmaker. The NDP is in first with 33% and the Conservatives are in second with 31%. This is a decline for both parties since the last time the polling firm was in the field. The Liberals have gained and are now at 28%, within striking distance of first place. The Bloc Quebecois and Greens both have 4%.
Here is the seat projection using my model*:
British Columbia: 37% New Democratic (24 seats), 27% Conservative (9 seats), 26% Liberal (7 seats), 10% Green (2 seats)
Alberta: 50% Conservative (27 seats), 30% New Democratic (5 seats), 17% Liberal (2 seats), 4% Green (0 seats)
Saskatchewan/Manitoba: 47% Conservative (21 seats), 27% New Democratic (4 seats), 21% Liberal (3 seats), 5% Green (0 seats)
Ontario: 33% Conservative (44 seats), 33% Liberal (40 seats), 29% New Democratic (35 seats), 4% Green (2 seats)
Quebec: 41% New Democratic (54 seats), 22% Liberal (11 seats), 19% Conservative (7 seats), 16% Bloc Quebecois (6 seats), 1% Green (0 seats)
Atlantic Canada: 47% Liberal (21 seats), 31% New Democratic (7 seats), 18% Conservative (4 seats), 3% Green (0 seats)
Total: 33% New Democratic (130 seats), 31% Conservative (112 seats), 28% Liberal (84 seats), 4% Bloc Quebecois (6 seats), 4% Green (4 seats)
*Since Northern Canada was not polled, I have kept their seats with the same parties for the sake of simplicity.
With these numbers, the NDP has a plurality of seats with 130. The Conservatives are in second with 112. The Liberals have potential kingmaker status with 84, which could put either the Conservatives or NDP over the top in a coalition or confidence-and-supply situation. The Bloc Quebecois will increase its caucus to 6 seats, and the Greens will increase their caucus to 4 seats.
In terms of regional trends, the NDP is gaining in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. It is declining in Alberta, Saskatchewan/Manitoba, and Atlantic Canada. This is generally a case of its strongholds consolidating, and declines in already marginal areas, which has little bad consequence for the NDP, with the exception of Atlantic Canada and Ontario. In certain polls, it has been shown to lead there, and when it leads there, it solidifies itself as the alternative to Harper. As long as the Liberals hold themselves there, they still have a significant chance of turning things around. In Ontario, the Liberals are also beating the NDP, which also could have negative consequences for the party – if the Liberals open a tight enough lead in the province every party needs to win, voters nationwide might go back to the Liberals as an alternative to Harper.
The Conservatives are gaining in Saskatchewan/Manitoba and Quebec and declining in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. This is a sign of significant trouble for the embattled party – its gains are marginal in areas where they are already incredibly strong (Saskatchewan/Manitoba) or incredibly weak (Quebec). Their declines in British Columbia and Atlantic Canada have been long-term, and represent the loss of previously reliable areas. Declines in Alberta, while marginal, are worrisome for the party as this is their heartland. Ontario is the most troubling of all – they had a majority there last time around, and if they only get a plurality in the province or not even that, they have no chance of forming a majority government. A plurality would still be possible, but it would be a much tighter situation.
The Liberals are gaining in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada, and declining in Saskatchewan/Manitoba and Quebec. This is a mostly positive development for the party. British Columbia and Alberta represent areas where they have never had strong breakthroughs, but they are areas where they can be nipping at the heals of the NDP, who are currently the alternative to the Conservatives there. Their gains in Ontario are enough to be tied with the Conservatives and beating the NDP, which can lead to soft NDP support returning to them elsewhere. Gains in Atlantic Canada represent the solidification of a stronghold after it seemed it was going towards the NDP. Declines in Saskatchewan/Manitoba are marginal. However, declines in Quebec represent the Liberals being cut off from hurting the NDP in its biggest stronghold.
The Bloc Quebecois under Gilles Duceppe has not received any significant boost in the polls, and is projected only to have half the seats it needs for Official Party Status.
The Greens are looking quite healthy – they are projected to win 2 seats in British Columbia, which is a very sympathetic area to the Greens, doubling their seat count there. They are also projected to win 2 seats in Ontario, which could plant the flag in the ground for future victories.