Friday, October 22, 2010

Bloc gains while NDP falters in new projection

It's been a month - way too long - but the projection has been updated. Remarkably, there are relatively few changes, at least at the national level. The Bloc Québécois has gained two seats while the New Democrats have lost two, and the Conservatives and Liberals have remained stable.The Conservatives are projected to win 33.8% of the vote and 129 seats, unchanged from the September 22 projection. The Liberals are up 0.5 points to 29.5%, but remain at 96 seats.

The Bloc is unchanged at 9.8% of the vote nationally, but has gained two seats and is projected to win 53.

The New Democrats are down 0.7 points to 15.3% and are projected to win 30 seats, two fewer than last month.

The Greens are down 0.2 points to 8.8% and are projected to win no seats.

This shows a little bit of life for the Liberals, who have closed the gap to 4.3 points. They are still mired at less than 100 seats, however. They seem to have been buoyed by the misstep of the NDP, who really have very little silver lining in this projection update.

We'll start with Ontario. The Conservatives and Liberals have both made gains here at the expense of the NDP. The Conservatives lead with 36.4% (up 0.9), followed closely by the Liberals at 36.1% (up 0.8). The Liberals have gained a seat at the expense of the NDP, which is down 0.9 points to 16%. The Greens are down 0.5 points to 10%. The Liberals are projected to win 47 seats, compared to 46 for the Conservatives and 13 for the New Democrats.

In Quebec, the Bloc Québécois is up 0.2 points to 39.3%, and leads over the Liberals who are at 23.7% (up 0.1). The Conservatives have dropped 0.3 points to 16.7%, and have lost a seat in the process. The New Democrats are unchanged at 11.9%, but are down one seat as well. The Greens are down 0.2 points to 6.8%. The Bloc is projected to win 53 seats, while the Liberals would win 15, the Conservatives six, and the NDP one.

The Conservatives have lost 0.7 points in British Columbia, but still lead with 35.8%. The NDP are second with 26.2% (up 0.1), while the Liberals have gained 0.3 points to reach 24%. The Greens are stable at 11.9%. The Conservatives are projected to win 19 seats, the New Democrats nine, and the Liberals eight.

Surprisingly, considering the small sample sizes, there is very little change in Atlantic Canada. The Liberals lead with 38.3% (down 0.1), followed by the Conservatives at 31.4% (up 0.1). The NDP is stable at 22.4% while the Greens are down 0.1 to 6.1%. The Liberals are projected to win 20 seats in Atlantic Canada, with eight being taken by the Conservatives and four by the NDP.

In Alberta, the Conservatives are once again projected to sweep all 28 seats. They have 60.2% support, up 0.3 points. The Liberals are down 0.4 points to 16.9% and have lost the seat that they were projected to win last month. The NDP is up 0.2 points to 11.1%, while the Greens are down 0.4 points to 8.8%.

Finally, in the Prairies, the Conservatives have gained 0.3 points and lead with 46.3%. The NDP is down 1.1 points (the only >1 loss in this projection) to 23%. The Liberals are up 0.5 points to 22.1% and the Greens are up 0.1 to 6.6%. As has been the case almost always, the Conservatives are projected to win 21 seats to the Liberals' four and the NDP's three.

In the North, I've weighted things a little differently so it isn't fair to compare any changes from last month. But the Liberals lead with 32.8%, followed by the Conservatives at 30.9% and the New Democrats at 26.3%. The Greens bring up the rear at 8.3%. The Liberals are projected to win two seats in the North, with the other going to the Conservatives.

In terms of net regional gains/losses (excluding the North), the Liberals come out on top with a net gain of 1.2 points. They made big strides forward in Ontario and the Prairies, and are going in the right direction in British Columbia and Quebec.

Next best would be the Conservatives, with a net gain of 0.6 points. They are up big in Ontario and are doing well in Alberta and the Prairies. However, losses in British Columbia and Quebec hurt them.

Then we have the Bloc, which has gained 0.2 points in Quebec. They now hold a 15.6-point lead over the Liberals.

The two net losers this month were the Greens (down 1.1) and the New Democrats (down 1.7). The NDP's losses in the Prairies and Ontario are horrific, though minute gains west of Saskatchewan are better than nothing.

Ontario is the obvious battleground. The Liberals and Conservatives are running neck-and-neck, and have been for some time. The Tories have the advantage of seats thanks to their performances in the West, which Liberal performances in the East can only off-set so much. If the Conservatives can pull away in Ontario, they have a strong minority in the bag. If the Liberals can pull away, they stand a chance to form the next government.