The three way race that Nanos had last week has tightened considerably. The Conservatives retain their narrow lead with 31.9%. However, virtually tied for second (virtually tied for first considering the margin for error) are the NDP with 29% and the Liberals with 28.7%. The Greens have 5.3% and the Bloc Quebecois has 4.5%. Last time around, I projected that the Conservatives had 140 seats, the NDP 109, the Liberals 77, the Bloc Quebecois 7, and the Greens 5.
Here is the seat projection using my model*:
British Columbia: 39% New Democratic (27 seats), 28% Liberal (8 seats), 26% Conservative (7 seats), 7% Green (0 seats)
Prairies: 53% Conservative (53 seats), 20% Liberal (4 seats), 19% New Democratic (4 seats), 7% Green (1 seat)
Ontario: 42% Conservative (77 seats), 29% Liberal (23 seats), 23% New Democratic (19 seats), 6% Green (2 seats)
Quebec: 35% New Democratic (44 seats), 30% Liberal (19 seats), 18% Bloc Quebecois (9 seats), 12% Conservative (5 seats), 4% Green (1 seat)
Atlantic Canada: 45% Liberal (19 seats), 38% New Democratic (10 seats), 16% Conservative (3 seats), 1% Green (0 seats)
Total: 31.9% Conservative (147 seats), 29% New Democratic (105 seats), 28.7% Liberal (73 seats), 5.3% Green (4 seats), 4.5% Bloc Quebecois (9 seats)
*Since Northern Canada was not polled, I will leave their seats with the same parties for the sake of simplicity.
With this projection, the Conservatives have a plurality with 147 seats, 7 up from last week’s Nanos poll. The New Democrats would come in second with 105, down 4 seats. The Liberals would come in third with 73 seats, down 4. The Liberals, ideologically between the Conservatives and NDP can easily play kingmaker with either party. The Bloc Quebecois has 9, 2 more than last week, and the Greens have 4, one less.
The Conservatives, in regional terms, have opened up a significant lead in Ontario, which is crucial for them to gain a wide plurality. They have largely stagnated in the Prairies, which has been a consistent stronghold for them. They have also stagnated in areas that are proving to be perpetually unfriendly towards the Conservatives in this election – British Columbia, Quebec, in Atlantic Canada. Two of the three (British Columbia and Atlantic Canada) represent previous strongholds of the Conservative Party that have been lost to the NDP (British Columbia) or are third in a contest between the NDP and Liberals (Atlantic Canada). With these areas likely being permanently lost, we may be seeing the seat ceiling for Conservatives – and it’s not a majority.
The NDP has also hit a wall. It has made slight gains in British Columbia, a current stronghold, and Atlantic Canada, a competitive area with the Liberals that is a moral victory if won. However, it has made very little inroads outside of its strongholds and is declining a bit in Quebec as the Liberals are rising. Its best hope for a plurality would be returning Ontario to a three way race and gaining some seats in weaker areas.
The Liberals have hit a snag in their strategy, as well. They are competitive in many regions but only leading in one (Atlantic Canada), and even that area is being contested currently. They may have the easiest path to a wide plurality, since they are in second place in the rest of the country, but they have yet to break through in any of them. They have to break through somewhere, preferably seat-rich Ontario, in order to gain a plurality.