I have been otherwise preoccupied for awhile, in part reconstructing my forecast model with data from the transposition of the 2000 results to the new electoral boundaries.
I do have a simple version of my forecast model up and running, although it requires more tweaking.
When I input a weighted average of the last three nationall polls (the last two Reid polls plus the Ekos poll) I get a Liberal minority government based on winning 152 seats (155 needed for a majority) with 74 for the Conservatives, 26 for the NDP and 56 for the Bloc. Just the most recent Reid poll gives the Liberals a majority.
Despite the media focus on the Conservatives, it appears to be the Bloc that represents the greatest threat to the Liberals. Quebec also appears to be Martin's best opportunity to forge a comeback. To accomplish this he must take the attention of Quebecers off the scandal and focus it elsewhere. Quebec political trends are always difficult to devine and the current moment is no exception but it appears to hold the key to the next election.
The Liberal slide was significant in the West but only in relation to recent trends. The Liberals are still running ahead of their 2000 showing west of the Manitoba-Ontario border. The new Conservative Party is currently doing well only in Alberta and even there they are weaker than they were in 2000.
Majority or minority? One thing seems certain. It is the Liberals we are talking about not the Conservatives.