The latest EKOS release is out, and the numbers are quite good for the Tories. First, their national lead is comforting, as it appears that the previous EKOS and Nanos both showing a virtual tie was a coincidence, and that Ipsos, Harris-Decima and Environics were right about the 3-4% gap. Moreover, this poll shows a virtual dead heat in Ontario, unlike the previous EKOS and the most recent Nanos and Ipsos, which all showed a sizable Liberal lead - this also makes Environics' 10-point Tory lead in Ontario seem less crazy. Also, the latest week of polling in Québec puts the Tories above 20% for the first time in a while; it's too early to conclude anything yet, but did Harper's half-hearted musings about funding a new Colisée actually attract voters? Finally, Atlantic Canada seems to have tightened back up from inexplicably large Liberal leads shown by most pollsters in August.
It's not all bad news for the Grits though: in both weeks of polling, they were in a tight three-way race in BC (a dark spot for the Tories), and while their Québec numbers were essentially flat, the Bloc has shed a few points since the last EKOS poll.
For the NDP and the Bloc however, this is a bad poll. The Dippers have to be especially concerned about Ontario: none of the polls released in the past two weeks has put them above 15% there, so their gains from 2008 would likely have vanished had an election taken place recently. They do seem to be back to respectability territory in Atlantic Canada, but are still down from 2008, and while they do not trail the Tories anymore in BC, as mentioned above, the Liberals have caught up.
Much regional changes in the seat projection, but in the end, everything outside Québec, where two seats moved from the Bloc to the Liberals, canceled out:
CON - 129
LIB - 94
BQ - 50
NDP - 35
So despite all the good news for the Tories outside BC, their seat count does not increase. However, they consolidate a few seats in Ontario, and are closer to reducing losses in Québec. Similarly, despite all the bad news for the Dippers, their seat count does not decrease, but they have become more vulnerable in a few places.
The average Tory national lead is back up to 3.1%. I have now returned to the normal depreciation formula, since all pollsters appear to be back in action.