Sunday, March 27, 2011

Conservatives Start the Campaign in Majority Territory (Angus Reid: Tories by 14; Léger: Tories by 16; CROP: Grits at 11% in Québec)

Life gets in the way sometimes, but here's the post that I promised for last night.

On the first day of the campaign, there was an avalanche of bad polling news for the Liberals: they trail in every region of the country, and by double digits in Ontario. CROP's poll even suggests that they've completely fallen off the map in Québec, though that one looks like an outlier.

In both national polls, the Conservatives are at 39% nationally, and in fact at or above 39% in every region except Québec. Both polls also give the NDP 19%, which is pretty good for them. The NDP's strength implies a division of the left that would allow the Tories to earn a majority while staying below 40%.

The new projection is the worst one for the Liberals since the inauguration of this blog, and has the Tories back (barely) in majority territory. I would like to remind you that these numbers try to reflect the parties' standing during the past week, and are not predictions of the final election result.

CON - 155 (39.0%)
LIB - 69 (26.5%)
BQ - 52 (9.9%)
NDP - 32 (16.8%)
GRN - 0 (6.5%)

The average Conservative national lead is thus 12.6% (numbers don't add up due to rounding). This is only 1.2% more than in the 2008 election, but the Conservative vote is also more efficient than back then due to their progress in Ontario.

Because this is the first projection of the campaign, I will list below the projection for each region of the country:

Atlantic Canada
CON - 16 (39%)
LIB - 12 (34%)
NDP - 4 (18%)

Québec
BQ - 52 (39%)
LIB - 12 (19%)
CON - 10 (21%)
NDP - 1 (15%)

Ontario
CON - 57 (42%)
LIB - 34 (32%)
NDP - 15 (17%)

Manitoba/Saskatchewan
CON - 23 (53%)
LIB - 3 (21%)
NDP - 2 (19%)

Alberta
CON - 27 (58%)
NDP - 1 (11%)
LIB - 0 (19%)

British Columbia
CON - 21 (40%)
NDP - 8 (24%)
LIB - 7 (23%)

Clearly, compared to the 2008 results, the most salient changes are Liberal losses to the Conservatives' favour in Atlantic Canada and Ontario. The Grits' popular support has in fact increased across Western Canada, but they were so far out of the game that this rise does not translate into many more seats. The NDP has lost ground everywhere except in Québec, but the losses are small.

It will be interesting to compare these numbers to the final projection of the campaign and to the election results. Maps are coming soon!

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