The past week has seen the political impact of changing the subject. The media and public focus on Martin’s speech to the nation, and the subsequent Liberal/NDP deal on the budget have reversed the Liberals’ decline in the polls.
I posted on April 19 on my forecast election outcome based on the early April polls released in the wake of the Jean Brault testimony at the Gomery inquiry. Based on the polls of this past week an updated forecast still finds the Conservatives in front, but the Liberals have gained significantly. In terms of seat totals, the Liberal gains have been largely at the expense of the NDP. The ideological proximity of the two parties, so manifest in the budget deal, means that Liberal strength translates, relatively speaking, into NDP weakness and vice versa. Here are the totals for the most recent week’s poll numbers:
Conservatives – 117
Liberals – 97
NDP – 28
BQ – 65
Other – 1
The Liberals are clearly still weak enough to justify the Conservatives’ declared determination to bring the government down. Whether it will happen is going to remain in doubt until the last vote is counted on the floor of the House of Commons, apparently some time in the third week of May.