The new year is well upon us and the House Commons returns to work in just under two weeks with a budget probably coming in February. Ralph Goodale is consulting opposition parties about the budget’s contents to avoid a vote of non-confidence. Just in case the budget is defeated and an election results, what should we expect?
A poll released recently by Environics has the Liberals at 37%, the Conservatives at 29%, and the NDP at 20%. The Bloc is at 47% in Quebec with the Liberals 29%, four points below the last election.
When run through my seat forecasting model (based on the 2004 results) the poll suggests the Liberals would win with a minority. The results are Liberals - 137 (compared to 135 last June), Conservatives - 77 (a drop of 22 from last year), NDP - 34 (15 additional seats) and the Bloc - 59. In this scenario it is the NDP that holds the balance of power.
My gut hunch is that between elections polls tend to overestimate Liberal support in English Canada and understate it in Quebec (the so-called hidden federalist vote). This poll nonetheless strongly suggests that a majority government is not in the cards.