Forum was the first polling firm to do a poll for the 2015 federal election, and it projected a huge lead for the NDP: they had 39%, the Conservatives were in a distant second with 28%, the Liberals had 25%, the Bloc Quebecois had 5%, and the Greens had 3%. In this most recent poll, the NDP’s wide lead has fallen back to more typical levels. It has fallen 5 points to 34%. The Conservatives have retained their level of support with 28%. The Liberals have gained 2 points and are now at 27%, a statistical tie with the Conservatives for second. The Bloc Quebecois have increased their support to 6%, and the Greens have increased to 4%.
Last time around, Forum projected the NDP to have 160 seats, the Conservatives 118, the Liberals 58, and the Bloc and Greens 1 each. I predicted the NDP to have 161 seats, the Conservatives 110, the Liberals 56, the Bloc 10, and the Greens 1.
This time around, Forum predicts the NDP will get 125 seats, the Conservatives 120, the Liberals 89, the Bloc 3, and the Greens 1.
Here is the seat projection using my model*:
British Columbia: 38% New Democratic (23 seats), 29% Liberal (10 seats), 27% Conservative (9 seats), 6% Green (0 seats)
Alberta: 44% Conservative (24 seats), 32% New Democratic (7 seats), 17% Liberal (3 seats), 5% Green (0 seats)
Saskatchewan/Manitoba: 43% Conservative (18 seats), 27% Liberal (5 seats), 26% New Democratic (5 seats), 4% Green (0 seats)
Ontario: 33% New Democratic (40 seats), 31% Conservative (41 seats), 31% Liberal (38 seats), 4% Green (2 seats)
Quebec: 37% New Democratic (49 seats), 22% Liberal (11 seats), 21% Bloc Quebecois (11 seats), 17% Conservative (7 seats), 1% Green (0 seats)
Atlantic Canada: 41% Liberal (20 seats), 28% New Democratic (6 seats), 25% Conservative (6 seats), 6% Green (0 seats)
Total: 34% New Democratic (131 seats), 28% Conservative (107 seats), 27% Liberal (87 seats), 6% Bloc Quebecois (11 seats), 4% Green (2 seats)
*Since Northern Canada was not polled, I am going to keep their seats with the same parties for the sake of simplicity.
My projection is that the NDP would have a plurality with 131 seats, a drop of 30 seats from the last Forum poll. the Conservatives would be in second place with 107 seats, 3 less than the last Forum Poll. the Liberals, at least at the national level, have appeared to gain their losses with 87 seats, 31 more than last time. This still puts them at potential kingmaker status for either party, since they can mathematically give a majority to either the NDP or Conservatives and they are ideologically placed between the two. The Bloc has gained 1 seat to now have 11, one short of Official Party Status. The Greens also gained 1 seat, and are projected to have 2 seats, the same amount that they had at dissolution.
The NDP, since the last forum poll has stayed the same in Quebec and declined everywhere else. This is not as worrying as it sounds – they were at an unprecedented lead in the last Forum poll, and were not likely to replicate it with the volatility of the campaign. Compared to the 2011 results, they are better in every region except Quebec, where they have declined, and Atlantic Canada, where they have stayed the same. This bodes well for the party. However, it has to make sure that it can keep Ontario either in a three-way situation or win. If the Conservatives can open up a significant lead in Ontario, they can have an easy plurality. If the Liberals open up a significant lead in Ontario, then the Liberals can become the credible alternative to Harper. The NDP must also attempt to gain Atlantic Canada so that it is the truly national alternative to Harper, which is a moral victory.
The Conservatives have gained in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan/Manitoba, and Atlantic Canada, stayed the same in Quebec, and declined in Ontario. However, despite what appears to be a rosy picture it is still down from its 2011 result everywhere except Quebec, and not much moved from where they were the last Forum poll. A majority is likely out of the question, since they have lost British Columbia and Atlantic Canada likely for the duration of the campaign, but they can retain a plurality if they play to their strengths in the Prairie provinces, and open up a wide lead or keep a competitive three-way race in Ontario.
The Liberals have made gains in British Columbia, Saskatchewan/Manitoba, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. They have made declines in Alberta and Quebec. However, the only significant changes, and the only changes the Liberals need/have to worry about are in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. In the last Forum poll, they seemed destined to remain in a distant third while the NDP and Conservatives competed for the province that would bring any of the parties over the top. This time around, they have again become competitive in Ontario, and if they can open up a wide lead, then they can again become the credible alternative to Harper and regain soft NDP support.