April 20th: NDP rises, Tories still short of majority

The surge of the NDP in the polls is clearly translated into additional seats, mostly in Quebec. If the Bloc keeps falling (and depending on where the swing comes from for the NDP in this province) Jack Layton could potentially get as many as 7 MPs. It's really bad news for the Bloc. Until now, they were only facing competition from center-to-right-wing federalist parties. Therefore they could capitalize on the left-wing AND the separatist vote. Now that the NDP is a real player in Quebec, the Bloc is basically left with the separatist vote only and during a federal election, it's harder to get this vote out. Please note that the model in Quebec for the NDP is now a mix of estimation/calibration. Basically, as long as the swing for the NDP is not completely uniform, they can expect 4-7 seats. You really have many ways to achieve that: increase in the North and South suburbs of Montreal; increase in Montreal-West; increase at the expense of the Bloc, etc. Again, anything but a completely flat and uniform swing will give them more than 2 seats.

For the Conservatives, if it wasn't for a couple of bad polls in the Atlantic, they would be in majority territory. However, they have 128 safe seats and are involved in 40 close races. Therefore, the maximum is large for them with 168 seats. By the way, these projections are made with the improved model for Ontario where another factor has been added: the swing experienced by parties in close wins and close losses. This explains why the Tories are now at 54 seats and much closer to the Grits in a lot of the GTA ridings.

For the Liberals, honestly, you need to work really hard to find some good news. I think it's clear that the strategy of Michael Ignatieff didn't work so far. The idea of solidifying the party to its left, by getting votes from the NDP, and therefore forcing Harper to another minority, kind of backfired. Not only the Liberals are not stealing votes from the Tories, but they are now threaten by the NDP. We still have two weeks left, but the momentum is clearly behind the NDP. And with Ignatieff confirming he would be ready to bring Harper down and form the government with (informal) support of the Bloc and NDP, I don't see this trend changing. If anything, it will convince some undecided voters to vote for stability and election-free period of 4 years.

For the Bloc, thanks to the electoral system, they would probably still win 45 seats, even though they represent only 32% of the votes... However, now that the orange wave is really started in Quebec, we'll see how the last two weeks will turn out. I think the big threshold for them is to stay above 30%. If they fall below that, it could get really ugly for them.

The riding-by-riding projections are here