Thursday, September 2, 2010

EKOS: Conservatives Led by 3.5 and 0.3 in Past Two Weeks

The latest EKOS release shows a tightening race between the two main parties, with a virtual dead heat nationally in the latest week.

The regional numbers for this poll are also very interesting: EKOS now agrees with all other pollsters that the Liberals are on a tear in Atlantic Canada, at the expense of both the Tories and the NDP: a little hard to believe, but throughout August, the Grits have been almost as strong in Atlantic Canada as the Tories are in MB/SK. In Québec, however, this poll suggests that the Liberals' inroads have abruptly reversed, and the Bloc is back to 40%+.

Ontario showed little movement in the first week of the poll - still a dead heat - but in the second week, the Liberals posted a 6.6% lead. If the latter number holds up in the coming weeks, the projected seat count could start moving significantly. Like Ontario, BC also showed little movement in the first week, but in the second week, the NDP took a 5.5% lead over the Tories, with the Grits close behind, and the Greens at a respectable 18%.

The small parties strengthen slightly in the seat projection:

CON - 128
LIB - 90
BQ - 52
NDP - 38

Exactly 6 months ago, the Conservatives pulled above 130 seats, and have not fallen below that threshold until today. Their average national lead has also dipped to 3.6%.

I don't usually do single poll projections, but given the odd results of the latter week of this poll, I decided to calculate what seat count it would produce. The result: CON 110, LIB 106, BQ 56, NDP 35, GRN 1. Note that in such a parliament, the NDP's support is insufficient to either major party. This means that unless the Tories and Grits govern together (i.e. when pigs fly), either the Official Opposition will need to abstain on confidence votes, or the Government will require the support of the Bloc. Also, I've been saying for a while that due to the low Ontario gap (Liberal Ontario lead + Tory national lead), the Grits are likely to lose the seat count if the popular vote is tied. In this poll, the Ontario gap recovers to a respectable 6.9%, and that produces a tight seat count with a virtual tie in popular vote.

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