Projections update, Aug. 27th: Are the Liberals close to falling to second place?

Here below are the most up to date projections based on the polls published last week. As you can see, the Liberals are holding up maybe better than what you could have thought after reading some stuff on Twitter. But it could all change pretty quickly if today's polls from Ekos and Mainstreet are right. Both are showing the Conservatives well ahead nationwide (by like 5-6 points) and, if they are right, the Tories could well win more seats (still short of a majority although that possibility is now a lot more real than previously).

Anyway, here are the projections. Below them, I provide a short analysis of how close the Liberals are to losing a lot more seats (hint: it involves the GTA and Quebec. Yes, shocking!).

The map:

Full page version here.

And the detailed projections with chances of winning.

Proj Canada 27 August 2021 by bryanbreguet on Scribd

If I only used today's polls (Ekos and Mainstreet as well as Nanos who is less bullish on the Tories than the other two), I would actually get 138 CPC, 147 Liberals, 29 NDP,1 Green and 20 Bloc. The chances of winning the most seats would be, essentially, 40% for the Tories and 60% for the Liberals. The Conservatives would even have a 9% chance of a majority! Yes, what was completely unthinkable 2 weeks ago is now at 1 in 10 chances. It's pretty crazy. I think we are one debate win away from genuinely discussing an O'Toole government.

Looking at the relationship between popular vote (Canada wide) and the number of seats, we see that Trudeau at least isn't close to a complete collapse. But we also see that the 170 magical number for a majority is quite elusive unless the Liberals can get to around 36%.

The one reason the Liberals are still holding up is mostly because they are still ahead in Quebec and Ontario. I'll leave the former aside as it's mostly against the Bloc and it isn't as crucial as the latter (it should be noted, however, that the Liberals are at risk of dropping by a good 10 seats if they were to drop a tiny bit in the popular vote there). The graph below shows how the Canada-wide number of seats is heavily a function of the popular vote in Ontario. The seat heavy GTA can obviously tilt the scale on its own and we are starting to see a lot of races and flips there. Earl Washburn from Ekos, who is usually very good at seat projections, have noticed this as well in their data.

Please note that the relationship here does also depend on the across provinces correlations. In other words, the model assumes that if the Liberals are doing worse in Ontario, they'll likely do worse in other provinces. I thought I'd mention it because no, a 20 points swing in Ontario alone (from +10 to -10) can't really cause the Liberals to drop by 70 seats. I should have kept the numbers in other provinces constant but that was extra work. The point was more to give a general rule of thumb of when Trudeau would be in real trouble than a true causal effect.

If the Liberals can't regain a commanding lead in Ontario (like the +10 they had 2 weeks ago), a majority is quite unrealistic. And, as you can see, should the Tories take the lead (so on the left-hand side of the vertical axis), then the Liberals would actually be in danger of not winning the most seats. A 'simple' 4 points lead for the Conservative in Ontario would basically put the two parties tie. The Trudeau would absolutely need the Bloc to remain in the 20s or he'd in serious risk of finishing second. And yes, I'm aware that O'Toole finishing first doesn't guarantee him power.

The next few days will be crucial. The Liberals need to stop the bleeding. And fast. They are actually fortunate Quebec doesn't seem to have been paying attention so far, I suspect things could get much worse once Quebec does.