Nanos Research is back in action with their first poll since June, which corroborates EKOS' latest poll showing a dead heat between the two main parties. The regional numbers in this poll are intriguing: a 6.6% lead for the Tories in Atlantic Canada (but as always, the small sample means it's way premature to conclude that the Grits have lost their double-digit lead there), and a Liberal-Conservative tie in BC, with the NDP not far behind. The most curious number, though, is the Bloc's 1.2% in Atlantic Canada...
The biggie in this poll, however, is the 7% Liberal lead in Ontario. This is very encouraging for the Grits, especially on the heels of their 6.6% lead there in EKOS' most recent week. The Ontario projection, which had been stuck for weeks, has finally moved in the Liberals' favour. Another storyline is the NDP's weakness: just 13-14% in both Atlantic Canada and Ontario, and third place in BC.
Nanos' leadership index remained flat for Ignatieff over the summer, so the recent signs of life shown by the Grits may be due more to the Tories' missteps than to the BBQ tour. On the surface, this is bad news for Ignatieff, but in fact this means there's plenty of room for growth: even with their leader still much less popular than Harper (and not much more than Dion), the Liberals are managing a tie.
The new projection is:
CON - 128
LIB - 91
BQ - 52
NDP - 37
The average Conservative national lead is 2.9%. This number has dropped 2% in the past 11 days without affecting the seat projection much. However, if it drops another 2%, the seat count would start tightening considerably: the Liberals are at the edge of the high payout zone in Ontario with respect to both the Tories and the Dippers.
We're past Labour Day, and Nanos is back. If Harris-Decima, Ipsos and Angus Reid also show signs of life in the next two weeks, and if EKOS returns to weekly reporting, I will switch back to the standard formula, which has slightly faster depreciation than the summer formula.