Time to look at September's polling. Ten national polls were released during this month (same as last month), totaling about 14,650 interviews. Here are the results we get at the national level, with the difference from last month's average in brackets (margin of error +/- 0.8).
Conservatives - 33.4 (+0.6)
Liberals - 29.6 (+1.1)
New Democrats - 15.2 (-1.2)
Greens - 10.2% (-0.3)
Bloc Québécois - 10.0% (+0.3)
Others - 1.6% (-0.5)
The Conservatives make a modest gain and are back over the 1 in 3 mark, but this change is within the margin of error. The Green loss and the Bloc's gain are also within the MOE, but the Liberals have moved up 1.1 points, representing a gain of 2.4 points in the last three months. That's huge, and definitely a trend. The NDP is down 1.2 points from last month, a total loss of 1.8 points in the last two months. It appears that the Liberals are making their gains at the expense of the NDP.
The seat projection for these results is as follows, with the difference from last month in brackets:
Conservatives - 129 (+4)
Liberals - 101 (unchanged)
Bloc Québécois - 52 (unchanged)
New Democrats - 26 (-4)
Greens - 0 (unchanged)
The Conservative gain is a reset of last month's drop, while the Liberals are unchanged after gaining six seats last month. The NDP is down seven seats in the last two months, while the Greens are still not performing strongly enough in any part of the country to elect a single MP.The regional results, with difference from last month in brackets:
BRITISH COLUMBIA (10 polls - about 1,710 people - MOE +/- 2.4)
Conservatives - 33.4% (-3.0)
Liberals - 25.9% (+2.4)
New Democrats - 24.5% (+0.1)
Greens - 14.4% (+0.8)
Others - 1.8%
The Conservatives take a big step backwards, but are still in the lead. The Liberals have moved into second place, and have gained 5.3 points in British Columbia over the last three months. The NDP is stable after a horrendous July, while the Greens are up 2.1 points since July. With these numbers, the Conservatives are projected to win 18 seats, while the Liberals would win 10 and the NDP eight.
ALBERTA (9 polls - about 1,400 people - MOE +/- 2.6)
Conservatives - 56.9% (-1.3)
Liberals - 20.3% (+2.3)
Greens - 9.7% (-1.6)
New Democrats - 9.5% (unchanged)
Others - 3.6%
Over the last two months, the Conservatives are down 2.3 points in Alberta, but they still dominate. The Liberals are up big and over the 20%, while the Greens take a step backwards. The NDP is stable, but still too low. The Conservatives would win 27 seats, with the Liberals winning one.
PRAIRIES (9 polls - about 1,010 people - MOE +/- 3.1)
Conservatives - 46.5% (+0.7)
Liberals - 21.8% (-2.2)
New Democrats - 21.2% (-0.8)
Greens - 8.9% (+2.5)
Others - 1.6%
A little oscillation all within the margin of error, but the Liberals manage to maintain their second-place position in the Prairies. The Conservatives would win 21 seats, the Liberals four, and the NDP three.
ONTARIO (10 polls - about 4,710 people - MOE +/- 1.4)
Liberals - 36.7% (+1.9)
Conservatives - 36.5% (+1.3)
New Democrats - 14.3% (-2.9)
Greens - 11.1% (+0.1)
Others - 1.4%
The Liberals have moved into the lead in Ontario, with a gain of 2.9 points over the last two months. The Conservatives are also up, but have been surpassed by the surging Grits. The NDP is down big, and has lost 3.5 points in the last two months here. The Conservatives would win 46 seats (unchanged), the Liberals would win 48 (+3 from last month), and the NDP would win 12 (-3).
QUEBEC (12 polls - about 5,480 people - MOE +/- 1.3)
Bloc Québécois - 38.3% (-0.7)
Liberals - 24.1% (+0.6)
Conservatives - 16.8% (+1.8)
New Democrats - 12.1% (+0.5)
Greens - 7.5% (-1.8)
Others - 1.2%
The Bloc is down for the third consecutive month, and has lost 1.9 points since July. The Liberals have gained 2.6 points since then, while the Conservatives and NDP take some much needed steps forward. With these results, the Bloc would win 52 seats (unchanged), the Liberals would win 15 (-1), the Conservatives would retain seven (+2), and the NDP would win one (-1).
ATLANTIC CANADA (10 polls - about 1,130 people - MOE +/- 2.9)
Liberals - 39.6% (-2.3)
Conservatives - 32.0% (+4.7)
New Democrats - 18.8% (-0.9)
Greens - 8.1% (unchanged)
Others - 1.5%
Both the Liberals and Conservatives have reset themselves since July, and the NDP is down again in this region. They just seem to be lost here. The Liberals would win 21 seats (-1), the Conservatives nine (+2), and the NDP two (-1) with these results.
September's loser has to be the New Democratic Party. Their net loss (combined gains and loss in all six regions) was four points, with important drops in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. Their small gains in Quebec and British Columbia do not make up for the huge setback in Ontario. The party is also down four seats to 26, which would be a huge loss for Jack Layton.
Next would be the Bloc Québécois, down 0.7 points in Quebec and marking a third consecutive month of losses. However, their seats have not changed, and the party is still well ahead of the Liberals, so it isn't a terrible situation.
Then it would be the Green Party, which has a net loss/gain of 0.0. Ontario and British Columbia are the only two provinces really at play for the Greens, so posting (modest) gains in both those areas is a bit of good news for Elizabeth May.
In the winner's corner, we have the Liberals and Conservatives. The runner-up, however, is the Liberal Party. They had a net gain of 2.7 points, with gains outside of or equal to the regional MOE in Ontario and British Columbia. Being in front in Ontario is terrific news for the party, and with 101 seats the Liberals would be in the game in the House of Commons.
But September's winner, oddly enough, is the Conservative Party. Few would think so if you've been watching the news, but their net gain was 4.2 points and the party picked up four seats from last month. While they did lose some ground in the West, where they can stand to lose ground, they made gains in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. These areas are where the party needs to do well, as the West is more or less locked up.
In any case, it seems that as Parliament resumes and Canadians start thinking more about the next election, voters are returning to the two parties most likely to form the next government.