We are now roughly a month into the campaign, and according to the latest EKOS poll, the race is tightening up. Last week, the NDP had 33.6%. They have dropped 3.4 points to 30.2%. The other parties have gained where the NDP has lost, with the Conservatives increasing 1.4 points to 29.5%, the Liberals increasing one point to 27.7%, the Greens increasing 0.6 points to 6.4%, and the Bloc Quebecois increasing 1 point to 4.2%.
In last week’s poll, the NDP were projected to get a plurality with 135 seats, the Conservatives had 105 seats, the Liberals had 85, the Bloc had 7, and the Greens had 6.
Here is this week’s results using my model*:
British Columbia: 31% New Democratic (13 seats), 31% Conservative (19 seats), 25% Liberal (8 seats), 11% Green (2 seats)
Alberta: 47% Conservative (27 seats), 24% New Democratic (4 seats), 20% Liberal (3 seats), 5% Green (0 seats)
Saskatchewan: 47% Conservative (11 seats), 29% New Democratic (3 seats), 16% Liberal (0 seats), 6% Green (0 seats)
Manitoba: 45% Liberal (11 seats), 29% Conservative (3 seats), 15% New Democratic (0 seats), 8% Green (0 seats)
Ontario: 34% Liberal (41 seats), 32% Conservative (50 seats), 27% New Democratic (26 seats), 6% Green (4 seats)
Quebec: 42% New Democratic (56 seats), 18% Liberal (7 seats), 17% Conservative (7 seats), 17% Bloc Quebecois (7 seats), 4% Green (1 seat)
Atlantic Canada: 40% Liberal (20 seats), 27% New Democratic (6 seats), 21% Conservative (5 seats), 10% Green (1 seat)
Total: 30.2% New Democratic (109 seats), 29.5% Conservative (124 seats), 27.7% Liberal (90 seats), 6.4% Green (8 seats), 4.2% Bloc Quebecois (7 seats)
*Since Northern Canada was not polled, I will keep their seats with the same parties for the sake of simplicity.
Despite lagging slightly in the popular vote, the Conservatives now are projected to have a plurality with 124 seats, an increase of 19. The NDP is slated to come in second with 109, a decrease of 26. The Liberals now have increased their total to 90, an increase of 5. They are in a position to put either party over the top in terms of a coalition government or confidence and supply. The Greens have increased their total from 6 to 8, still short of Official Party Status, and the Bloc remains the same at 7.
What trend is shown from this poll? Well, if last week was any indication, then the NDP is having a bit of trouble in paradise. They might be retaining a lead in the popular vote, but they are stagnating in British Columbia, allowing for the Conservatives to retain a plurality simply out of incumbency. In addition, they are flagging as the alternative in the Prairie provinces, and starting to become uncompetitive with the Liberals in Atlantic Canada. These are worrying signs, but not something the NDP cannot come back from.
The Conservatives still have an extremely difficult road to a majority, as that would require a patchwork of all the regions they won in 2011. With Atlantic Canada’s numbers, this appears unlikely. However, I was wrong when I said they couldn’t be competitive in British Columbia, and here they are. There is also a month left in the race, so I guess we’ll see.
The Liberals, while still in third, have a promising future ahead. They have now jumped into leads in the popular vote in Manitoba, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. In Manitoba and Atlantic Canada, this lead is large and enduring. In Ontario, it is still not enough to upset the Conservative incumbency advantage, but they are in a much better position than the NDP. They can easily switch to being the credible alternative in the eyes of strategic voters.