La Presse reports the results of polls in three Quebec City area ridings. In each case, Louis-Hébert, Beauport--Limoilou and Portneuf--Jacques-Cartier, the incumbent is ahead in a tight race.
These polls are valuable because it has been a while since we got a regional breakdown for Quebec City ridings. My provincial polling averages have the Tories closing the gap on the Bloc by 4%. In both Louis-Hébert and Beauport--Limoilou, according to CROP's result, there was a 1% change toward the Bloc. The Quebec City adjustment will now be 5% toward the Bloc instead of 10%, as based on previous polls, in my model. This makes sense since the arena controversy has died down. In order to balance things out province-wide, I also make a small opposite adjustment elsewhere in Québec, which will be halved as well.
The immediate effects of these changes is that the Tories take back Beauport--Limoilou, but are slightly farther from getting Chicoutimi--Le Fjord.
For Portneuf--Jacques-Cartier, I used to include it in Quebec City for the purposes of the aforementioned adjustment. However, this was debatable, since riding is only partly within the Quebec City metropolitan area. Given the above poll, I will now equate the swing in the riding to the provincial swing - there will be no adjustment toward the Bloc as in Quebec City ridings, nor will there be an adjustment toward the Tories as in other Québec ridings. (I also count André Arthur as a Tory in order to estimate his vote share.) This change now puts Portneuf--Jacques-Cartier in the Independent column.
The update projection is therefore:
CON - 149
LIB - 79
BQ - 44
NDP - 35
IND - 1
Another thing that came out of these polls is that the NDP did rise by about 5% in the Quebec City area, which is about 60% of its province-wide increase. This was done mostly at the expense of the Liberals. However, we know that the main victim of the NDP's rise province-wide is the Bloc.
The above suggests the possibility that the NDP's rise came at the expense of the Liberals outside Montréal, and of the Bloc in the Montréal area. This makes sense for at least two reasons:
1. The Bloc is actually a coalition of progressive separatists in and around Montréal and more conservative ones elsewhere. The former are naturally more receptive to the NDP's message. Another way to look at this is that in Montréal, Bloc supporters are more left-wing than Liberals, while outside Montréal, the opposite is true.
2. Empirically, in Outremont, it is the Bloc that collapsed to make way to Mulcair.
If my hypothesis is correct, the main beneficiary of the NDP's rise could actually be the Liberals. Losing votes to the NDP outside of Montréal doesn't bother the Grits, since they were hopeless in those areas anyway. But a weakened Bloc around Montréal would help the Liberals in a handful of ridings such as Brossard--La Prairie, Ahuntsic and Papineau. (Perhaps also Jeanne--Le Ber, but as I explained yesterday, that one could well go NDP.) If the effect is strong, as appears to be the case, ridings like Saint-Lambert, Alfred-Pellan and Laval could also go Liberal. I don't see these ridings actually going orange with the NDP at 20%, but if their provincial numbers get close to 25%, Brossard--La Prairie, Saint-Lambert, Alfred-Pellan and Laval could become three-way races, and might be as prone to an NDP takeover as Pontiac and Westmount--Ville-Marie, which I mentioned yesterday.
Collecting my thoughts from yesterday and today, I now see the NDP with 2-5 seats in Québec, with their polling average just over 20%. If they get to 25%, they'd have a shot at a dozen of seats, probably winning 5-8. For the reasons I mentioned yesterday, I still think they'll have a harder time getting to 10 seats than the Tories.