Monday, March 14, 2011

BQ drops in new projection, Tories two short of majority

With three new federal polls added to the mix, the projection has been updated. Though there has been very little change in the national numbers, a drop of support for the Bloc Québécois in Quebec has put the Tories only two seats short of a majority.

You can click on the links to the right to see the breakdown by riding.

Nationally, the Conservatives have gained 0.1 points, and now lead with 38.2%. More importantly, they have picked up a net one seat, and are now projected to win 153 seats if an election were held today.

The Liberals are unchanged at 27.7% support, but have picked up two seats and now projected to win 75.

The New Democrats are up 0.1 points to 15.6%, and are up one seat to 32. The Bloc Québécois has dropped 0.3 points to 9.6% nationally, and are down four seats to 48. The Greens are up 0.3 points to 7.7%, but are not projected to win any seats.

These are, obviously, good numbers for the Conservatives. Being at 153 seats would likely be as good as a majority, considering they could easily pick-up two seats in by-elections during their mandate. They've done it before.

We'll start in Quebec, where there has been the most movement in the past 12 days.

The Bloc has dropped 1.3 points in the province to 38.8%, and with the drop has come a loss of four seats. The Liberals are up 0.6 points to 21.9%, and have gained Ahuntsic and Brossard - La Prairie from the Bloc. The Conservatives are up more modestly, with a gain of 0.2 points to 19.4%, but coupled with the Bloc drop that is enough to put Montmagny - L'Islet - Kamouraska - Rivière-du-Loup and Roberval - Lac-Saint-Jean back in their column. The Liberals are now projected to win 15 seats while the Conservatives take 11. The New Democrats are down 0.1 points to 12.6%, but are still projected to win one seat. The Greens are up 0.7 points to 6.4%.

The other seat change has come in the North, where the New Democrats have taken back Western Arctic from the Conservatives. You'll notice that in this riding, as in a few others, the parties are tied. When there is a tie, the incumbent is always given the win.

There has been very little change in British Columbia. The Conservatives and Liberals are still projected to win 40.3% and 23.7% of the vote, and 22 and seven seats. The New Democrats are down 0.3 points to 22.9%, but are still projected to win seven seats. The Greens are up 0.4 points to 10.8%.

In Alberta, the Conservatives are up a full point to 62.4%, followed by the Liberals at 17.9% (-2.0). The New Democrats are down 0.6 points to 8.8%, while the Greens are up one point to 8.5%. They are challenging the NDP for the third spot in the province.

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Conservatives are up 0.1 points to 51.4%. The New Democrats have taken second, holding at 21.1%. The Liberals are down 1.3 points to 19.9%, while the Greens are up 0.4 points to 6%. There is no change in the seat projection for these two provinces: 22 for the Conservatives, four for the NDP, and two for the Liberals.

There has been very little change in Ontario as well, with the Conservatives dropping 0.1 points to 41.1%. The Liberals are down 0.2 points to 34.4%, while the NDP is up 0.2 points to 15.5%. The Greens are unchanged at 7.8%, and the seat projections are also unchanged at 56 Conservative, 35 Liberal, and 15 New Democratic seats.

Finally, in Atlantic Canada the Conservatives have dropped 2.8 points to 36.2%, but are unchanged at 13 seats. The Liberals are down 0.6 points to 35.7%, while the NDP is up 0.6 points to 18.6%. The Liberals and NDP are still projected to win 15 and four seats, respectively. The Greens are up 0.3 points to 6.3%.

Unless the government pulls the plug, this week will be the calm before the storm. It seems unavoidable that the government will face a confidence vote next week, so we will either be going into an election or not within the next 11 days.

You'll notice that most ridings leave no share of the vote for the other parties. This is on purpose. I am only giving the minor parties and independents a share of the vote in ridings where Elections Canada or their respective websites have listed candidates as nominated or confirmed. Each minor party candidate will be given the same share of the vote as the party as a whole averaged in contested ridings in 2008, with independents being given 0.6% of the vote (the average independents managed in 2008). Independents who performed especially well in 2008 (i.e., James Ford) will be given special consideration.

Here are the individual riding projections, which will be permanently linked to in the right-hand column. Click to enlarge.


  1. Can you clarify your methodology for determining your projections for all 308 ridings. thanks.

  2. See here:

    The link is also at the bottom of the page.

  3. I wonder, if the Conservatives are just 2 seats shy of a majority would any Liberal jump ship (ala David Emerson in 2006) to get them to 154 then they vote another Liberal speaker giving the Conservatives a majority - barely (154 to 153 since the speaker votes only in the event of a tie). Of course, a BQ or NDP could shift too but that would be a lot less likely.

    I figure it would be a lot easier to get one person to jump ship than to try to get one of the 3 other parties to work with the CPC, plus it would allow Harper to pass anything his members agreed on (such as the long gun changes, removal of per vote funding, etc.). Of course, he'd have to be a bit more careful to avoid 'Joe Clark syndrome' as losing any MP's would cost him that majority.

  4. Don't agree with some ridings but that's it, I'm obviously not going to agree with the medology 100%.

  5. You have to love ridings like Crowfoot. They just make your life easier.

    Those people clearly know what they like.

  6. John_Northey I imagine that a number of MPs would retire including Michael Ignatieff in such a scenario.

    Yeas only have to outnumber Nays for a majority, even if you have less than 155 seats.

    Harper could delay calling by-elections ridings he's likely to lose and quickly fill those he has a shot in.

  7. "Harper could delay calling by-elections ridings he's likely to lose and quickly fill those he has a shot in."

    When to call by-elections is something that needs to be reformed. It's a bit much that the Prime Minister can wait for months and months to call by-elections, it's very beneficial for the ruling party.

    In Newfoundland and Labrador you only have a few months before the by-election must be held. Winnipeg North was left without an MP for 7 months, the ruling party can easily wait for months to call a by-election just to give them time to get the candidate they want.

  8. Arthur "Two Sheds"14 March, 2011 15:24

    Éric, thanks as always for an interesting analysis.

    Just curious: does your model factor in the impact on the campaign of the Conservatives' financial advantage? If I understand correctly they stand ready to spend the maximum allowable while the Liberals in particular won't come close to spending their limit.

  9. Two seats shy, and this is probably the best two weeks the Tories have had since taking over power in 2006. So close and yet so far.
    And that's after weeks of pounding Canadians with anti-Lib attack ads paid by the party and the Look-how-great-your-government-is-working-for-you ads.
    I expect this is as close as they'll get until at least until the writ is dropped.
    Canadians could be waking up soon (from their usual political slumber) in light of the growing belief we could be going to the polls this spring.
    I also don't think the full impact of the latest CPC missteps have had a chance to be reflected in the polls -- many of those surveys taking place just as the poop was hitting the fan.

  10. Arthur TS,

    No, the model doesn't take financial advantages into account. Hopefully polling will indirectly do that.

    I would like to investigate organizational strength and funding and see if there is a way to include them into the model, but I won't have time to do it before an election this spring.

    If the next federal election takes place as scheduled in 2012, then I will likely be able to incorporate that and other factors.

  11. Arthur "Two Sheds"14 March, 2011 15:57

    Thanks for the quick reply. I guess that current polls will reflect some of that organizational and financial edge, but suspect you agree that this advantage will only come to bear fully during a campaign. Will be very interested in seeing how the numbers are affected by an eventual tweaking of the model to factor this in.

    Thanks again, and keep up the great work - you are making such an interesting contribution to the political analysis scene!

  12. Looking over your riding-by-riding projections, I honestly can't see Kitchener-Waterloo going Conservative again. Braid only won the riding by 17 votes. I just don't see it happening again.

  13. Latrell, I'm not familiar with Waterloo but wonder if the timing of an election won't change the electorate signficantly. If it is early May, most of the students will have left town by then. While Waterloo has a significant number on the co-op system who will be there for the summer, most of them will have just arrived in late April/early May, and so won't be registered to vote in that riding, right?

  14. Well, here's some numbers about Kitchener-Waterloo:


    2004 58,217 Telegdi 28,015 (won by 10860)
    2006 66,367 Telegdi 31,122 (won by 12305)
    2008 60,534 Braid 21,830 (won by 17)

    2004 was a summer election, so perhaps 58,217 is understandable. 2008 was a fall election though. Compared with 2006 (winter), there were 6,000 less votes, and Telegdi dropped by almost 10,000 votes. Those are quite shocking numbers. Liberals might have taken this riding for granted in '08; I can't see them doing that again.

    You never know with the student vote. Perhaps the 6,000 vote drop was students staying away? Not sure. However, this city and area keeps chugging right along, so voters may say "Why rock the boat?" and vote Conservative again.

    But again, I honestly can't see Kitchener-Waterloo going Conservative. That's a gut feeling, no real evidence whatsoever.


    Isn't Iggy the gift that keeps on giving for the Tories? What is he thinking?

    For the Tories, funding the arena (excuse me the "cultural center") in Quebec is (or was) a tricky issue. It affects their popularity in "their" ridings in Quebec, but providing funds for it would likely also tick off their core supporters outside of Quebec. And if they agreed to fund arenas all over the place, the Liberals could nail them for being fiscaly reckless. For the grits, on the other hand, it a non-issue. Providing funds for it isn't going to win them any Quebec seats (just as not funding it isn't going to cost them any seats). And building arena's in winnipeg or regina isn't going to translate into any extra seats for them. At best, if the Tories cave, it gave them something to beat them with in English Canada for being fiscally irresponsible (and possibly an edge in the west, if they could portray Harper as selling out to Quebec).

    And yet, there Iggy goes and says he'd fund an arena in Quebec and in other cities. Now, if the Tories wanted, they could drop the plan in the budget and, when the Liberals vote against it, use that as a stick to beat the Liberals with in Quebec (and elsewhere), while being insulated from Liberal criticism on the issue (given that, nominally, their positions would be identical). In that case, Iggy just tossed Harper a huge lifeline on a sensitive issue. Or, the Tories can stand their ground, mock Iggy for being fiscally irresponsible,(in English Canada at least) for caving into Quebec, and for suggesting that a hockey arena is a "cultural" local. I'm not sure which strategy is better (the former is probably safer, the latter is probably better), but in either case Iggy has given the Tories options on a difficult issue that they didn't have last week.

    The man may or may not become a decent leader, but his instincts continue to be suspect.

  16. Students don't vote in ridings that they are just temporarily living in. They vote for the candidates in their home riding.

  17. Carl the biggest gift coming from the Liberals today was Justin Trudeau doing the unthinkable:

    Why on earth he wouldn't support the government using the strongest possible language to deter people from "honour killings" and fgm is beyond me.

    He expects "responsible neutrality" when dealing with these issues.

    That is perhaps the single worst choice of words in Ottawa all year.

    The government shouldn't be neutral when it comes to these issues, they should be very much OPPOSED.

  18. Progressive Tory - that depends on the student. If they file taxes from an address at the University, then that's their riding.

  19. I know that Ira that's why I said of it's their temporary location, which for a lot of students it is.

  20. Shadow,

    What can I say, Justin Trudeau didn't inherit his old man's intellect. Though why Iggy's office is defending the statement is beyond me. Cue up another attack ad for the Tories.

    I liked Jason Kenney's response "NB - it's meant to be prejorative".

  21. When it comes to student voting, I remember being able to vote in the city I was at school in during the 1988 federal and municipal elections. Don't know if the rules have changed since then, but all I needed was a piece of mail with my name and a local address on it.

    As to the mess that would happen if Harper comes within a few seats of a majority - wow could it be crazy. The CPC contenders who want to take over from Harper would start pressuring him to see it as a good opportunity to retire on top. The Liberals would toss Iggy to the curb - hard. If these were the final results some in the NDP would be annoyed with Layton so he might be on the outs too. Greens would probably replace May with no seats, but with an increase in vote total again would have a fairly big internal struggle. A merger of the NDP & Liberals would be a strong possibility since they'd now have time while some Green leakage would occur to the new merged party (some Greens are on the right wing and anti-Liberal, such as myself, thus couldn't see themselves joining any group like that).

    We could end up with a 2 party system for all intents outside of Quebec by a 2015 election, or have the Greens take over the traditional NDP 'protest vote' slot. Or we could have the Liberals put Bob Rae in control and the NDP sticking with Layton, May winning her seat and sticking as leader of the Greens and Harper stays around as we see tons of ads reminding us about the 1990-1995 mess in Ontario and how Rae went Liberal-NDP-Liberal - ie: he can't make up his mind thus not a leader or just in it for the power or some such.

    Still, if we do get these results it will be interesting to see how things go immediately afterwards.


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