April 26th: NDP rising, Tories stable (surprisingly)

These are probably my last projections until the final ones, which should be published Saturday or Sunday. The big story is of course the constant and continuous rise of the NDP that is now projected at 55 seats, including 13 in Quebec. So let's talk a little bit more about la Belle Province.

Some of you would probably think I'm too generous with Jack Layton in Quebec or that I'm using the 2-3 polls placing the NDP above 30% in this province. Well, you would be wrong. These projections are based on 10 polls, all released and conducted within the past 2 weeks. I have two Nanos (I don't use more Nanos because I don't want to bias my average with too many polls from the same pollster), two Ekos (including the crazy one from yesterday, with a sample size of 3000), one Angus-Reid, one Forum, one Leger, one Ipsos and one from Environics. Also, for Quebec only, I have the Crop one. Among these polls, only one, yes one, has the NDP below 20% (Harris-Decima and its probably because it's a 2-weeks poll). I actually have 6 polls where the NDP is first in Quebec. So all that to say that I'm using quite a lot of recent polls. Therefore, it's only normal for the upward trend for this party to be reflected in terms of seats. Also, the NDP is currently on the edge of sweeping Quebec. Indeed, they are involved (or competitive) in 23 ridings in Quebec, of which they only win 6 (the Bloc is 14 out of 20). It's a fairly low convertion ratio, but I'm kinda ok with it as the NDP will still have to get its vote out on May 2nd. However, if the trend goes on this week, the NDP will soon be projected to be around 35% in Quebec and would win a lot more seats. For instance, if I was to use only the poll from Ekos published yesterday, I would get the NDP at 50 seats in Quebec and 99 nationally! And remember, it is a poll with 3000 sample size, therefore we have quite accurate estimates in each province. The orange wave will be THE thing to look for on May 2nd. Will it happen or will it be a burst like the Lib-Dem during the latest UK elections? I don't know. The fact the wave is happening in Quebec makes me believe it will indeed happen.

By the way, if the NDP does finish first in Quebec, with around 35% of the votes, this party has a real chance at finishing second nationally. If the Conservatives fall short of a majority (or even lose some seats), we could have a very unstable parliament. The Liberals would have to decide who they want to support. I'm guessing by that time, they woud also be looking for a new leader and Bob Rae looks to be the frontrunner (a former leader of the NDP in Ontario...). Could this mean that Harper would fall quickly and be replaced by a NDP government? And would it be a NDP-only or a NDP-led coalition? Not sure Jack Layton would feel very generous to a party who said no twice to a coalition (under Ignatieff), but a new leader could fix that. It's all political fiction of course, but the fact is: it's is possible! In particular, if NDP+LPC=majority without the Bloc, a NDP government could well become reality. You don't even need to run crazy simulations, just use a poll with 3000 interviews...

For the Conservatives, it's quite stable and quiet. They are mostly unaffected by the NDP's surge in Quebec. And since the NDP is rising only marginally elsewhere (especially in Ontario), the Tories are still projected around 145 seats. It's quite amazing how stable they are actually. For instance in Ontario, they have been projected at 41% for the last 3 weeks. Every time a poll shows up where the CPC is higher than that, there is another poll placing them below this number (at some point, I even double checked if my excel spreadsheet was woriking properly as I would not see any change for the CPC in Ontario!). A majority is still possible though, but they need to gain many seats in Ontario (in the GTA in particular). Not sure if they can really grab enough seats there though, especially since they don't enjoy a large provincial swing. If they were to shift their support to the GTA (and thus gain seats there), that would necessarily mean some losses elsewhere in Ontario. As I've said before, they also need the Atlantic, but recent polls (especially In NF-L) don't show this region to be a source of many seats for them.

For the Liberals and Michael Ignatieff, things are ugly. In Quebec they are down as some federalist are switching to the NDP. In Ontario, while they were very stable around 34% (like the Tories), they have started slipping to 32% recently. And they must pray for the NDP's surge to be contained in Quebec. While Ignatieff did pretty good during the first two weeks, the impact of its policies announcements are fading away. On the other hand, his less than stellar performance at the English debate still has a negative impact on its numbers. Just look at the traking polls from Nanos and you see that the LPC is clearly down. While the initial plan was to gain some seats and prevent a Tory majority, the current plan must be to "sauver les meubles" and not finish 3rd. Look at the list of polls. Every non-Nanos one published since April 20 show the same thing: the LPC behind the NDP. As for Nanos, the NDP is increasing and getting really close.

Nothing to say about the Green. The only riding to follow on May 2nd is the one of Elizabeth May. They are down in the polls as compared to 2008.

Finally, the Bloc is maybe close to an epic collapse. The NDP could well succeed where the Liberals and the Conservatives failed: finish first in Quebec, both in terms of votes and seats. We are still a little bit short of that, but the trend is not good for the party of Duceppe. And I'm not sure bringing back Jacques Parizeau is the smartest move ever. My guess is that the Bloc is now in a panic mode where the objective is to gather all sovereignist voters (which is around 30-35% currently). The problems? First of all, some separatists don't get out to vote for a federal election. Secondly, some of them just think it isn't the time and place to decide Quebec's future fate in the federation (and they would be right), so they feel free to support federalist parties, such as the NDP. But the Bloc knows that if they fall below 30%, they will enter the "losing zone" where each point lost translates into many seats gone.