This week's EKOS poll only had 909 respondents, three times less than usual, due to the Easter holiday. The small sample size produced some wacky results: Tories lead by 7.7% in Ontario, but Liberals are up by 2.4% in MB/SK, while the NDP has a 0.7% lead over the Conservatives in BC. Needless to say that I find all this rather suspicious, and would wait before proclaiming that Ontario has gone blue, the (eastern) Prairies red, and that the federal NDP is leading in BC.
Nevertheless, adding this poll to the mix (with a lower weight) did hurt the Liberals and help the small parties:
CON - 130
LIB - 85
BQ - 52
NDP - 41
This projection is the worst for the Liberals since early January (down 20 from their February peak), but also the worst for the Conservatives since late February (though their best in this period was not much higher: 133). It is the best for the Bloc since mid-January, and a new high for the NDP since the creation of this blog.
Why so? Some of this is probably simply due to chance fluctuations: I wouldn't be surprised if the Bloc and NDP numbers slide back a little in the next update. Most of this strength, however, appears to be real, which is consistent with Canadians being utterly unimpressed with either Harper or Ignatieff. But regional factors also play an important role in the inordinate strength of the Bloc and the NDP: the Bloc numbers reflect the unpopularity of the provincial Liberal government and the Tory proposal to reduce Québec's weight in the House of Commons; the NDP numbers in BC probably have to do with the HST.
Tory national average lead: 5%.