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Seat projections: back to the grind

Posted by padams under All

Paul Adams

About a month ago, I posted seat projections based on EKOS’ weekly survey of vote intention, which is released by the CBC.

At the time, the Conservatives were enjoying a sudden updraft in popularity, apparently driven by the Liberal threat to bring the government down and force an election. They hit 40.7%, which is several percentage points above the range in which they have been trading over the last year (with the exception of the period of the short-lived “coalition” scheme led by Stéphane Dion’s Liberals).

What was interesting about the seat projection done at that time was that it suggested the Tories would likely win a clear majority of about 167 seats.  This would not be a huge majority, but it would be a comfortable one, unlikely to be dislodged by the occasional defection or byelection loss.

Since mid-October, there has been less attention paid to the polls because each week the story has been pretty similar to the week before: the Conservatives well in front, and the Liberals well behind, mired in fact at historic lows. (See the latest EKOS poll here or on the CBC’s website here.)

But crucially, as has often happened in the past when the Conservatives lunge into majority territory, their edge seems to erode over time. And that has happened again. The Liberals, interestingly have not recovered since last month, still stewing in the mid-twenties; but the Conservatives have slipped incrementally back to their normal range.

And what does that do to the seat projections? Hey! Presto! Back to minority:

EKOS seat projection November 12















And more than just a minority; the same minority as we got in 2008. In this scenario, the Conservatives and Liberals are within a seat of the 2008 results. The Bloc is up two seats. And the NDP has exactly what they had last year. (So much for the persistent media narrative that the NDP is heading rapidly to oblivion!)

What does it tell us? Maybe that Canadians were right when they expressed themselves so strongly this fall that instead of sending us all to the polls, the parties in parliament should get down to governing for a while.

Paul Adams teaches journalism at Carleton and is executive director of EKOS Research Associates.