Friday, April 22, 2011

A polling sweet spot for the Conservatives

The polls from the last few days have captured an NDP surge that is strong in Quebec and evident, although much weaker, elsewhere.  Here is the change in support between the 2008 election and an average of four polls released over the past two days:

C.P.C. Liberal NDP Green Bloc Other
Canada -0.5 -1.5 5.4 -0.3 -4.4 1.3
Atlantic 7.1 -4.9 1.3 -1.3 0.0 -2.2
Quebec -2.9 -5.7 17.7 0.3 -10.4 0.9
Ontario 1.7 -2.6 1.3 -1.8 2.0 -0.6
Man/Sask -3.1 1.8 1.8 -0.9 0.0 0.3
Alberta -3.6 2.7 2.3 -0.3 0.0 -1.1
BC -2.4 -1.6 3.7 -1.4 0.0 1.6

The current distribution of preferences gets us close to a Conservative majority and a close contest for official opposition. However, I don't feel confident about my seat forecast in Quebec given the unprecedented character of support for the NDP in that province, so there is considerable uncertainty to this estimate:

C.P.C. Liberal NDP Green Bloc Other Total
CANADA 153 58 61 0 35 1 308

However, note in the table above that the Conservatives are down in most provinces/regions. TC would add that the Ipsos poll, which is included in the averages used to calculate the table above has a decidedly Conservative tilt. Their regional numbers in particular seem inconsistent with the other surveys. 

The even split overall between the Liberals and the NDP should be highly beneficial to the Conservatives, but somehow, this sweet spot still leaves them short of an overall majority.  TC has been skeptical all along that the Conservatives will win a majority and remains so. 

The movement to the NDP is not yet finished, so we are still likely see changes in the days ahead that will alter the seat configuration.  In particular, Conservative support in BC in recent days looks too high to me, and I expect the NDP to make further gains there at the expense of the Conservatives.