Angus-Reid released its new poll yesterday. In terms of narrative, it aligns with most of the other recent polls we've seen. But the poll doesn't only demonstrate this with its voter intention numbers. It also does so with its leader numbers.Compared to Angus-Reid's last poll taken between July 6-8, the Conservatives have dropped three points and now lead with 33%. The Liberals have (finally) taken advantage of Tory weakness, and are up two points to 29%.
The New Democrats are down one to 19% while the Bloc Québécois is steady at 10% and the Greens are up two to 9%.
In addition to these top-line numbers, we see that Stephen Harper's approval rating has slipped five points to 26%, while his disapproval rating is at 47%. Taking out the "not sures" we get an approval/disapproval rating of 36/64.
While Michael Ignatieff's approval rating is still abysmal at 14%, his disapproval rating has been reduced by six points, and is now at 47%. Doing the same as with Harper, that is a rating of 23/77.
Jack Layton's approval rating has slipped four points to 27%, but his disapproval rating is only at 32%, giving him a "decided" rating of 46/54.
Those numbers aren't terrific for the Liberal leader, but they are heading in a positive direction. This is shown by the amount of people who said their opinion of him has improved: 10%. That is much higher than Angus-Reid's last poll and is greater than the number of people who said their opinion of Layton (7%) and Harper (6%) has improved. While it isn't a barn-burner yet, the bus tour seems to be helping Ignatieff's image.
Now, let's get to the regionals. The Conservatives are down one point in Ontario but still lead with 37%. The Liberals are up three to 34% and the NDP is down two to 18%. Good number for the NDP, and a close race between the Tories and the Grits. This has been the story in every other poll.
The Bloc is down two in Quebec and leads with 37%. The Liberals are down four to 20%, the Conservatives are down three to 16%, and the NDP is up three to 18%. Terrific number for the NDP. They are almost in a position to over-take the Liberals as the top federalist alternative - which means it is probably a statistical anomaly.
The Conservatives are up four points in British Columbia and lead with 39%. The NDP is down six to 27% and the Liberals are up nine to 25%. While that much of a jump is unlikely, improved Liberal numbers on the Pacific coast has been a trend. The Greens are down five to 8%.
The Conservatives lead in Alberta with 61%, while the other three parties are tied at lucky 13%.
The Tories are down 13 in the Prairies to 42% while the Liberals are up nine to 32%. This is the second poll where we've seen the Liberals doing very well in the Prairies. Could this be a new factor?
Finally, Atlantic Canada. The Liberals lead here with 65%...which is unlikely. But before you laugh it off, consider that Angus-Reid's last poll had the Liberals here at 50%. So this isn't even much of a jump, relatively speaking. While we can consider 65% to be an inaccurate number, we do not have to consider a large Liberal lead to be inaccurate.
The Conservatives win 65 seats in the West and North, 50 in Ontario, 6 in Quebec, and 4 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 125.
The Liberals win 17 in the West and North, 41 in Ontario, 14 in Quebec, and 27 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 99.
The Bloc wins 53 seats in Quebec despite slipping in support since the 2008 election. This is due to the very low Liberal and Conservative numbers.
The NDP wins 13 seats in the West, 15 in Ontario, 2 in Quebec, and 1 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 31.
Considering that EKOS, Ipsos-Reid, and Angus-Reid have all shown a similar storyline of the Conservatives slipping and the Liberals growing, we can reasonably assume that Harris-Decima's recent poll (which did show the Liberals up) was the odd-man out.
But this isn't the kind of spectacular movement we saw last summer. Political opinion is shifting by inches, and it is impossible to tell if it will bounce back, stabilize, or continue.
Will we have a fall election? I don't see anything in these recent numbers that I would want to take to the bank as a party leader. And with New Brunswick's election campaign running from August 26 to September 27 (of which ThreeHundredEight.com will be giving full coverage) that pushes us into October-November.
There is a lot of wait-and-see going on right now. No one is assured of victory, and everyone risks a crushing defeat. I don't think anyone will pull the trigger this fall without good reason.