Election officially started: The Liberals start with a majority

Alright, it's finally officially on. Early federal election starting today with e-day on September 20th.
Let's take a look at where we stand right now. If you want quicker updates, follow me on Twitter.


Voting intentions, seat projections with 95% confidence intervals, probabilities


Full screen interactive version. Performance isn't the best (it depends), so give the map 1-2 seconds if you zoom in or out.

Short analysis

Trudeau has enjoyed a polling bump ever since Covid started, even though the gap has now been cut in half compared to what it was in April 2020. Still, given that the Liberals weren't that far from a majority in 2019 (with 33% of the vote, thanks FPTP!), it is natural that any bump would bring them closer or above the 169 seats threshold.

One caveat is that the Liberals won 157 seats in 2019 thanks, partially, to an incredible vote efficiency (i.e: winning close races; concentrating their support in the ridings they can win). That creates a somewhat weird situation where the Liberals could be up by a few percentage points and that wouldn't necessary translate into many additional seats. This is why the Liberals really need big leads over the Bloc (in Quebec) and the CPC (in Ontario) if they want a majority. As I showed a few days ago, the Liberals are comfortably in majority territory as long as they keep both leads to 10 points. But should one lead shrinks to 'only' 5 points and the odds of a majority are at 50-50 at best.

This is why I currently have the chances of a majority at 70%. It is there, no doubt about it, but the gamble that Trudeau took this morning might be more risky than it appears. The lead over the Bloc, in particular, doesn't feel as solid as the lead over the CPC in Ontario. I personally would expect Yves-François Blanchet to run another great campaign and bring his party to at least 30%. The most recent Leger poll showed that while people (including Québécois) are usually okay with Trudeau and his government, few would want a majority. This is something the Bloc can easily use to its advantage.

While Ontario is usually the center of attention for any federal election, it might be different this time around. This seems to be the most stable province compared to 2019 and Trudeau is polling actually lower than two years ago. It might be because the 'Ford effect' is now mostly gone, thus compensating the Covid bump? Don't get me wrong, the Tories are not doing better there, it's just that the gap with the Liberals is essentially the same.

Speaking of which, the Conservatives start this election with almost no chances of finishing first (not even a plurality). The party is bleeding on its right (many polls have shown that the CPC has lost more voters to the PPC/Maverick than to the Liberals) all while not making any gains in the center. O'Toole has clearly tried to re-center his party and enlarge his coalition, but it hasn't worked yet. So the CPC has this worst case scenario where the base is unhappy and the moderates aren't joining. The bleeding on the right might end up not costing too many seats (the CPC will just win the rural ridings in Saskatchewan and Alberta with smaller majorities) but it creates a situation where O'Toole has to fight on both fronts. Given the polling numbers, I wouldn't be surprised if the Tories decide to run a boring, catered-for-the-base campaign with the aim of saving the furniture (i.e: winning 100 seats) all while hoping the NDP and Bloc are preventing a majority. This plan might work as long as they don't drop too much in the West, in particular in BC where some polls are straight up disastrous for the CPC.

The NDP is the other party starting this election in good shape. Very different compared to the  beginning of the 2019 campaign where the NDP was polling at the same level as the Green party, around 10-12%. Singh ultimately won that battle (partially by winning the English debate) and enjoyed good momentum at the end of the campaign. It didn't translate into as many seats as they had hope but it created a strong foundation to built onto. Singh also benefits from being, by far, the most liked leader federally. If he plays his cards well, we could see a mini orange wave with the NDP gaining many seats in Ontario and BC. This could be helped by the fact the CPC isn't a 'threat' as far as forming the government is concerned, thus negating any call for 'strategic voting' the Liberals will throw around.

The Green party is collapsing in front of our eyes with a party actively sabotaging the efforts of its new elected leader. This is spectacular to witness but sad democratically. They already lost one MP (Fredericton) who decided she wanted to keep her seat and run for the Liberals (shameful but whatever) and they could well end up with only one elected MP, Elizabeth May, the former leader. I can't see this party getting its shit together during the next 4 weeks and I think the only real question is who benefits from the collapse, the Liberals or the NDP? Polls don't necessarily agree on that front.

Finally, the Bloc is polling significantly lower than in 2019 but things could change quickly. Blanchet is still liked and the Bloc as well. If the election becomes a question about giving Trudeau a majority, the Bloc would be ideally positioned. Blanchet also has the benefit of being able to campaign in Quebec every day while Trudeau will need to spend a lot of time elsewhere. My guess is the Bloc has the objective to regain some or the urban ridings it should have won in 2019 (Hochelaga, ridings on the south shore of Montreal). The Bloc could be under threat of the Conservatives if they were to increase in Quebec (both parties do share part of the electorate) but O'Toole's French is too weak in my opinion for him to make major inroads in La Belle Province. Also, as mentioned previously, the CPC will likely play defense for most of the election. That means spending more time in Ontario and BC than in Quebec.

Alright, that's all for now. Happy election!

Detailed projections

Proj Canada 15 August 2021 by bryanbreguet on Scribd