The election is officially started and we've got a couple of new polls (AR, Léger, Ipsos). They all show a big lead for the Conservatives and all the medias are talking about the Tories being "on the edge of a majority". According to the latest projections, the Tories are indeed in majority territory. So if you are a Liberal, you better hope that campaigns DO matter.
You can see the riding-by-riding projections here.
Some of you might say that 155 seats is a very narrow majority and you'd right. But if you look in details, you'll see that the Conservatives are projected to win 143 safe seats (i.e: where their margin of victory is more than 5-points). And then, they have a short lead or are within 5-points of the leaders in 33 other close races. So currently, the model projects the Tories to win 12/33 close races. This is a very low percentages, especially given the record of the CPC in the past election. As I explained, this party is really good at winning close races (probably by getting the vote out). Therefore, I would see the current projections as a Conservatives majority, period. They could well win as many as 176 seats in the perfect world! This party seems to be really high in the Atlantic (the last good region for the Liberals) and in Ontario.
For the Liberals, the best scenario (i.e: winning all close races) would be... 77! Yes, Micheal Ignatieff starts the campaign with having a best scenario equal to what Dion did 2 years ago. I really wonder why the Liberals wanted to bring the government down so bad Of course, we'll see on May 2nd if Ignatieff was right to gamble. But he sure has a steep hill in front of him.
When you look at those projections, you can see that the NDP didn't have so much so lose for voting against the government. There can't expect to make big gains, but they are not really at risk of losing a lot. So that might explain their decision.
So here you go folks, enjoy the elections. It is Harper's majority to lose and it's a new game in (recent) Canadian politics.