The holidays have had little effect on the national voting intentions of Canadians, with polls continuing to show the Liberals holding a comfortable lead over the governing Conservatives.
A weighted average of the most recent national polls conducted up to Jan. 27 show the Liberals in front with 36 per cent, unchanged from where they stood at the end of November. The Conservatives have picked up one point to follow with 29 per cent, while the New Democrats are unchanged at 24 per cent support. The Bloc Québécois and Greens follow with 5 per cent apiece, while 2 per cent of Canadians say they would vote for another party or independent candidate.
The seven-point edge for the Liberals does not deliver them a majority government, however. With these levels of support, the Liberals would instead likely win 118 seats if an election were held today, with the Conservatives capturing 110. The New Democrats would likely win 75 seats, with three going to the Bloc Québécois and two going to the Greens (both in British Columbia).
Compared to their current standings in the House of Commons, this represents a huge swap in seats with the Conservatives dropping 51, the New Democrats giving up 25, and the Liberals gaining 82. Compared to the number of seats the parties could have won at the end of November, only the NDP has seen a major change with an increase of 18 seats, coming primarily from the Bloc.
In May, the new electoral map will come into effect and add 30 seats to the equation. On those new boundaries, the Liberals would likely win 132 seats to 120 for the Conservatives, 82 for the NDP, and two each for the Bloc and Greens. The Liberals would thus pick up almost half of the new seats being added to the map, thanks in large part to the gains the party has made in Ontario.
An enduring Liberal lead
Since Justin Trudeau became leader of the Liberal Party in April 2013, the Liberals have led or have been tied for the lead in 37 of 39 polls published, including the last 17 stretching back to before Thanksgiving. The Conservatives, meanwhile, have not scored 30 per cent or higher in any of the last 10 polls going back to the end of October and the NDP has been registered at 25 per cent support or less in the last five surveys, and nine of the last 10.
The Liberal lead in Ontario has narrowed, as the party has dropped one point to 37 per cent against 35 per cent for the Conservatives, up four points since the end of November. The Tories do seem to be making some inroads in the province. They have been polled at 33 per cent support or more in three of the last five polls, after registering 33 per cent or less in seven of the previous nine. The New Democrats sit in third with an average of 22 per cent support, followed by the Greens at 5 per cent.
The Bloc Québécois, now under interim leader André Bellavance, has taken a hit since the departure of Daniel Paillé. The party is averaging just 19 per cent support, being polled at 20 per cent or less in the five surveys conducted since Paillé's resignation. In the 11 polls conducted before his announcement, the Bloc had managed 20 per cent or better in nine of them.
The Liberals continue to lead in the province with 36 per cent support, followed by the NDP at 29 per cent. That is a gain of four points for the New Democrats since the end of November. The Conservatives are fourth with 13 per cent, with the Greens bringing up the rear with 3 per cent.
In British Columbia, the Liberals have dropped three points to 31 per cent but have retained the lead. The party has been pegged at 32 per cent or less in the province in four of the last five polls, after being over 33 per cent in four of the previous five surveys. The NDP is second in B.C. with 29 per cent, followed by the Conservatives at 27 per cent and the Greens at 11 per cent.
The largest Liberal lead is in Atlantic Canada, where there has been little change over the last two months. The Liberals are in front with 51 per cent support, while the Conservatives and New Democrats are tied at 22 per cent apiece. The Greens have 3 per cent support in the region.
Conservatives in front in the Prairies
The Conservatives have dropped five points in Alberta to 50 per cent, as the Liberals gain seven points to reach 28 per cent support in the province. The NDP was down four points to 14 per cent, while the Greens were at 6 per cent.
The Tories were also in front in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with 35 per cent to 32 per cent for the Liberals (down four points) and 28 per cent for the NDP (up six points). The New Democrats have registered more than 30 per cent support in the region in two recent polls, after not being rated that high since the beginning of April 2013. The Liberals, on the other hand, have been marked at 33 per cent or less in four of the last five polls, after managing 33 per cent or more in four of the previous five. The Greens have 4 per cent support here.
ThreeHundredEight.com's vote projection model aggregates all publicly released polls, weighing them by sample size, date, and the polling firm's accuracy record. The seat projection model makes individual projections for all ridings in the country, based on the provincial and regional shifts in support since the 2011 election. Projections 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.
Éric Grenier writes about politics and polls at ThreeHundredEight.com.