This is the point in the campaign where a clear direction is established. The story of the campaign has been the NDP's growing wave of support in Quebec, with a parallel move happening in Atlantic Canada.
This commentary by former CBC Ottawa bureau chief Elly Alboim captures the significance of the moment:
More often than not, these sorts of break outs cannot be reversed. They represent a collective decision making process that sometimes builds on mounting evidence or sometimes catches media by surprise after events or debates — although this would represent a very slow reaction to a debate. There are notable exceptions like the PC’s beating back the resurgent Liberals in 1988 but they are rare.There have been some small NDP gains in provinces west of the Ottawa River, but so far they lag the progress Mr. Layton's party is making in the east. Conservative support so far is holding but not growing. Here is another table comparing early national polls to the last few days:
Often, the final results overshoot the initial wave. Momentum builds and begins to sweep into ridings that most think are not in play. I’ve been involved in dozens of CBC projection meetings where seasoned political reporters said that it was inconceivable that certain ridings and personalities were lost. And yet they were. Canada is littered with former cabinet ministers who never should have lost.
The Conservatives' hoped for majority remains elusive but possible. Vote-splitting by the opposition may help. The open question is: how far can the NDP go?