Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Liberals gain in new projection

ThreeHundredEight's new projection shows modest gains for the Liberals, mostly at the expense of the New Democrats and Bloc Québécois.It has been a little over a month since my last projection update, and accordingly a lot of new polls have been added. Despite that, the Conservatives remain unchanged with 129 seats and 33.8% of the vote. But while they are standing still, the Liberals are moving forward.

They have gained 0.7 points and now have 29% at the national level. They've picked up two seats and are up to 96.

The Bloc has dropped a seat and 0.1 points, and now stand at 9.8% of the vote and 51 seats.

The New Democrats have dropped 0.3 points to 16% and have lost one seat, dropping to 32.

The Greens are down 0.2 points to 9%.

Now while it appears that only two seats have changed hands, the fact is that there have been seats changes in almost every part of the country.

The two exceptions are in the North and British Columbia. In the North, the Liberals have picked up 0.2 points and are at 33.3%. The Conservatives are steady at 30.2% while the NDP is down 0.2 points to 26.9%. The Greens are down 0.1 to 8%. The Liberals are still projected to win two seats here, while the Conservatives win one.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives lead with 36.5% (down 0.4), followed by the NDP at 26.1% (down 0.4) and the Liberals at 23.7% (up 1.1). That is a big gain for Michael Ignatieff, the largest in any region in this projection. Elizabeth May's Greens are holding steady at 11.9%. The Conservatives are projected to win 19 seats here, while the NDP would win nine and the Liberals eight.

In Alberta, the Conservatives have picked up 0.1 points and now lead with 59.9%, but have lost one seat to the Liberals, who are up 0.8 points to 17.3%. Though it will be a surprise for the Liberals to elect someone in Alberta, it cannot be ignored that the Liberals have increased their support here by 50%, and are higher than they were in either the 2006 or 2008 elections. As regular readers of this blog know, I do not make projections at the riding level (yet). But this Liberal win could come in Edmonton Centre, where the party was only 14 points behind the Conservative candidate in 2008, and where a uniform swing makes a seat gain plausible. The NDP is down 0.5 points to 10.9% and the Greens are down 0.6 points to 9.2%. That is the Green Party's biggest regional loss in this update.

On to the Prairies, where the Conservatives have picked up a seat from the NDP, and are now projected to win 21 seats. However, they have also lost 0.4 points and now lead with 46%. The NDP is up 0.8 points to 24.1% (three seats), while the Liberals are down 0.2 to 21.6% (four seats). The reason for the NDP seat loss despite having a gain in support is because of a small change I've made to the projection model. The Greens are down 0.2 to 6.5%.

The Conservatives have gained 0.3 points in Ontario and lead with 35.5%. They're projected to win 46 seats, unchanged from the last projection update. The Liberals are up even more, gaining 0.8 points. They are now at 35.3%, only a little behind the Tories. They are projected to win 46 seats, one more than in August. The NDP is down 0.5 points to 16.9% and is slated to win 14 seats, down one. The Greens are down 0.3 points to 10.5%.

The Bloc has dropped a seat and 0.2 points in Quebec, and now stand at 51 seats and 39.1% of the vote. The Conservatives have taken advantage of the drop, jumping 0.4 points to 17% and one seat to seven. The Liberals are up 0.5 points to 23.6% and remain unchanged at 15 seats. The NDP is stable at 11.9% and two seats, while the Greens are down 0.2 to 7%.

Finally, in Atlantic Canada the Liberals are up 0.1 points to 38.4%, and are projected to win 20 seats. The Conservatives have dropped 0.6 points and one seat, and are now projected to win eight seats and 31.3% of the vote. The NDP has picked up the seat and now looks to elect four MPs, while taking 22.4% of the vote (up 0.4). The Greens are unchanged at 6.2%.

Clearly, the Liberals are the winners of this update. They're up two seats and almost a full percentage point. Their net gain in the seven regions is 3.3 points, a very good sign of improvement in virtually every part of the country.

The Conservatives can be content that they have remained stable, but their net loss of 0.6 points is a problem. They've lost ground in British Columbia and Atlantic Canada, though they have gained in Ontario and Quebec. In short, it's a mixed bag for the government, but their position has become worse relative to the Liberals.

The Bloc lost one seat and 0.2 points, both bad bits of news, but they are still well ahead of the Liberals and Conservatives in Quebec.

The NDP has lost a seat and are down a net 0.4 points, which is a problem. They are down in British Columbia and Ontario, two regions that are extremely important for their electoral future. However, they seem to be on the upswing in Atlantic Canada after some very bad months of polling.

Finally, the Greens seem to have had the worst time of it, as their net loss was of 1.4 points. They didn't make any headway anywhere, their best news being no change in British Columbia and Atlantic Canada.

Generally speaking, this electoral result would not change much in the House of Commons. The Conservatives would have a much reduced caucus, but would still have a plurality of seats and more seats than the combined totals of the Liberals and New Democrats. They are also in a sweet spot where they would need the support of only one opposition party to get legislation passed or to survive non-confidence motions. In other words, while the Liberals and Bloc would have been boosted from their present standing at the expense of the Conservatives (and NDP), the opposition would not be any nearer to toppling Stephen Harper's government.