A new Ipsos-Reid poll now has the Conservatives one point ahead (within the margin of error of course) of the Liberals. However, it is not all good news for Mr. Harper. Although the Conservatives are ahead in Ontario in this survey, they are in third place in B.C. And a Decima Survey that preceded Ipsos-Reid still reports the Liberals ahead.
My seat calculation based on Ipsos-Reid is Conservative – 112, Liberal – 91, NDP – 39, BQ – 66. This would permit a Conservative minority government to achieve majorities by combining with any one of the opposition parties.
This does set up the classic strategic voting paradigm: a narrow Conservative lead, a possible Tory government but a plentiful supply of NDP first choices that can be appealed to by the Liberals to switch. To be activated strategic voting will take more than just this one poll. But the 2004 end of campaign scenario is beginning to appear again.
One should note that Ipsos-Reid polls in this election have generally found more support for the Conservatives than others, as the current comparison with Decima illustrates.