So it's almost official: we are in election! The only question remaining seems to be whether the 41st federal election will start tomorrow (with a vote on the budget, well an amendment to it) or on Friday (with the vote on the non-confidence motion of the Liberals). I'm pretty sure the Tories would rather be defeated on the budget and avoid the vote of Friday about the ethic of this government. But in any case, by Saturday at the latest, the campaign will be started. [update: it seems there will not be any vote on Thursday after all. So the government will fall on Friday].
So what can you expect from this blog? Well first of all, I've updated the latest federal projections and you can see them on the right. As the election begins, the Conservatives are 5 seats shy of a majority (or even 4, if you choose the speaker of the House from the opposition). Moreover, if you add the safe seats plus the potential ones, the Tories could well have a majority secured.
The Liberals and the NDP are pretty much where they were in 2008, with a couple of seats lost for both parties. Whether we'll see a quick shift in vote intentions like in 2008 or not is unknown, but the fact that we'll start an election with the Conservatives having a virtual majority is completely new. The Bloc could go back to over 50 MPs, despite not increasing in term of percentages. As for the Green party, they will have to work really hard to finally get their first elected MP.
During the campaign, this blog will have daily updates (with some exceptions). We'll likely have 2 to 3 daily polls, so each day I'll use those new polls (and only them) to make some seats projections. As for the "general proejctions" (the more reliable ones, based on an average of all recent polls), I'll update them every three days. There is no point in updating them every day as the average will prevent big changes to occur on a daily basis.
Regulars may have noticed that I added the three territories to the model. Since we usually don't have polls just for those three ridings, I based the model on the overall results, nationwide. It's not perfect but at least I'm now projecting 308 ridings out of 308.
The simulator is there and I invite everyone to use it. Being able to make your own projections should be fun for a lot of you. And as far as I'm concerned, I'm the only website offering this, as both DemocraticSpace and 308 currently don't do that.
Besides the usual projections posts, I will also write some other posts. For instance, I'll show you how many seats a coalition LPC-NDP could get. I'll also show you historical results or additional details about the model (for instance, I'll explain the predictive power of using the provincial swings to make projections at the ridings-level). Or why I think Elizabeth May would have been better to run in Ontario.
If you want to follow all the updates, the easiest thing to do is to subscribe both to the RSS feeds and my Twitter. I also hope to get a lot of comments during this campaign.
So let's start having fun for the next months (and a couple of days more)!