So where are we 14.5 months after the last federal election? Lots of things have happened: a parliamentary crisis with threat of coalition and, ultimately, a controversial prorogation; a new Liberal leader, his honeymoon through the spring and great fall in, well, the fall; the biggest federal deficit in history (though this is misleading since it's only true not taking into account inflation and economic growth); the NDP deciding to temporarily support the government; the Afghan detainee scandal; and Canada's declining reputation internationally due to the climate change issue.
It seems, though, that in terms of voting intentions, these have pretty much all canceled out. Here are the seat changes from the 2008 election (counting André Arthur and Bill Casey as Conservatives) to the most recent projection:
So essentially, we're back where we were on Election Night 2008. It doesn't get much more exciting when you break it down by region either:
British Columbia: This is the region, along with Atlantic Canada, where there has been the most movement, but that's not saying much. Conservatives are on -3, with Liberals gaining 1 and NDPers gaining 2. Stéphane Dion's departure (Dion being extremely unpopular in BC) and the HST probably explain these changes.
Prairies and North: Nothing. Kind of fitting for this region, no?
Ontario: NDP loses 1 seat, while Liberals gain 1. Out of 106 seats, that's essentially no change as well.
Québec: Tories lose 1 seat, while Grits gain 1. Again, out of 75 seats, that's also pretty much no change.
Atlantic Canada: Tories gain 3, NDP gains 1, while Liberals lose 4. These changes are significant, and the Tories now lead the seat count there (but just barely). One explanation is that Dion was not being horribly unpopular there. Also, Atlantic Canada seems to react a bit more slowly than the rest of Canada to political developments (again fitting: as they say in French, une heure plus tard dans les Maritimes), so one can speculate that while the Grits have marginally picked up in the rest of the country, they are still at their November lows in the Atlantic provinces. Remember that when Ontario swung to the Tories in September, Atlantic Canada held good for the Liberals, only to then swing in October.
What will happen in 2010? My humble guess is that the Liberals will recover somewhat from their lows this Fall. But I don't think that they will retake the lead from the Conservatives before an election campaign. Of course, once a campaign is underway - which may or may not happen in 2010 - all bets are off!