Rarely has there been an election campaign that spanned two calendar years but that appears to be what we are about to have in Canada, starting apparently on November 28. While the election could have taken place in February if the Liberals had acquiesced in the NDP’s proposal, instead a collision resulting in a non-confidence vote now appears inevitable.
So what is the political position of the parties at this moment? I have averaged all the recent polls conducted after the Gomery report was delivered, and compared them to an average of national polls from September and October. Gomery has weakened the Liberals, but they are still ahead. Although it is the Conservatives who have exploited the issue most energetically, they are not biggest beneficiary of Liberal losses. The Liberals averaged 4.3% less in the post Gomery polls compared to earlier in the fall, the NDP 2.1% more, the Conservatives 1% more and the Bloc gained 0.8% (a 1.7% gain in Quebec).
This has produced some spectacular results for the NDP in terms of potential seat gains. For example, an average of the three recent Ipsos-Reid, Léger Marketing and Ekos polls would give the NDP 36 seats. The SES poll out today would translate into 49 seats. Only the first Strategic Counsel poll for the Globe taken in the days just after the report was released would have given the Conservatives the greatest number of seats; otherwise the Liberals are ahead.
My view is that the preferences now are highly unstable, and that the campaign will matter a great deal. More to come….