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A Conservative Party supporter waits for Stephen Harper to speak at a campaign stop in Saskatoon on April 15, 2011. (DAVID STOBBE/REUTERS)
A Conservative Party supporter waits for Stephen Harper to speak at a campaign stop in Saskatoon on April 15, 2011. (DAVID STOBBE/REUTERS)

Crunching Numbers

Liberal and NDP gains dampen Tory hopes for majority three weeks in Add to ...

With only two weeks left to go in the campaign, the likelihood that Stephen Harper will win a majority government has diminished. But though both Michael Ignatieff's Liberals and Jack Layton's Democrats are on the upswing, there might not be enough time left to scuttle the Conservatives' chances of a stronger minority mandate.

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If the election were held today, the Conservatives would take 38.8 per cent of the vote and 150 seats, according to ThreeHundredEight.com's updated seat and vote projections for The Globe and Mail. That is still five shy of a majority and three fewer seats than were projected to go Tory one week ago.

The Liberals have made a small gain in the popular vote, with a projected 28.1 per cent support, but they have also made a gain of five seats. They are now projected to win 77, the same number of seats they held when the government fell.

With a recent gain in the polls, the New Democrats are now projected to have the support of 17.1 per cent of Canadians, enough to give them 34 seats in the projection - a gain of one since last week. Unfortunately for Jack Layton, however, much of their recent boost has come in Quebec where their seat prospects are relatively low.

The Bloc Québécois has the support of 36.1 per cent of Quebeckers, a drop of 1.3 points since last week and a decrease of 2.5 points over the last two weeks. This has reduced their number of seats to 47 in the projection, where they were when the election was called. Though this level of support would be the lowest in the party's history, the relative weakness of their opponents in the province allows them to take most of the seats in Quebec outside of Montreal and Quebec City.

How the New Democratic vote will break, however, could decide a lot of races in the province. The NDP is up 2.3 points in Quebec over the last two weeks, and now enjoys the projected support of 16.9 per cent of Quebeckers. That would be an all-time best for the NDP in the province, and would net the party two seats: Outremont and Gatineau. The Liberals (at 20.6 per cent) and Conservatives (20.5 per cent), meanwhile, are projected to win 15 and 11 seats in Quebec, respectively.

In Ontario, both of these parties are hitting above their 2008 election weight, with the Conservatives at 41.9 per cent and the Liberals at 35.3 per cent. For Mr. Ignatieff's party, that is a gain of almost two points in Ontario over the last two weeks. This has helped them take two Toronto-area seats from the Tories in the projection. They are now slotted to win 36 seats in Ontario, with 55 going to the Conservatives and 15 to the New Democrats. If the Liberals continue to make gains, they could win a half-dozen more seats in the province.

The last region of the country to show some shift in voting intentions is Atlantic Canada, where the Liberals have gained two points since the projection of April 3. They are now projected to enjoy the support of 38.1 per cent of Atlantic Canadians, ahead of the Conservatives at 36.4 per cent and the New Democrats at 19.1 per cent. The four NDP incumbents in the region, well ensconced in their ridings, are projected to be safe, while the Liberals are likely to take 16 seats (a gain of one) and the Conservatives 12.

But with the large advantage the Conservatives hold out West and roughly half of the seats in Ontario going blue, the Tories are still on track to win more seats than any other party (or combination of two parties). They are even likely to win more ridings than they did in 2008. Though the tide appears to be turning in the favour of the two main opposition leaders, there might not be enough time left in the campaign to sink the Conservative ship.

ThreeHundredEight.com 's projection model aggregates all publicly released polls, weighing them by sample size, date, and record of polling firm accuracy. The tested seat projection model makes individual projections for all 308 ridings in the country, based on the provincial and regional shifts in support from the 2008 election and including the application of factors unique to each riding, such as the presence of well-known candidates and the effects of incumbency.

These projections are a reflection of the likely result of an election if an election were held today. They are subject to the margins of error of the opinion polls included in the model, as well as the unpredictable nature of politics at the riding level.

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