Despite recent concerns over the Harper government's transparency and a new health care proposal from the opposition, the federal voting intentions of Canadians were unmoved over the last two weeks, according to an analysis of recent polling data. While the New Democrats have regained some of the support that was lost over their stand on the long-gun registry, the Conservatives have maintained their five-point lead over Michael Ignatieff's Liberals.
With 33.9 per cent national support, the Tories are projected to win 129 seats in the 308-seat House of Commons. While that would see the current Conservative caucus reduced by 14 seats, it is unchanged from the seat projection The Globe published two weeks ago, when the Conservatives were listed at 33.8 per cent support.
The Liberals, with 28.6 per cent national support, would elect 96 MPs and form the official opposition. That is a loss of five seats compared to the last seat projection, but an increase of 20 over the party's current standing in the House of Commons.
The race between the Liberals and the Conservatives is especially heated in Ontario, where the Tories hold a slim lead. With 37 per cent support, Stephen Harper's team is only 0.8 points ahead of the Liberals and are projected to win 47 seats in the province, as opposed to the 46 seats projected to go to Mr. Ignatieff. The New Democrats, at 15.9 per cent in Ontario, would win 13 seats.
After dropping to 14.2 per cent nationally two weeks ago, the NDP appears to have rebounded and is now at 16.1 per cent support. The party's growth comes primarily in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, as the party has gained 1.5 points in Canada's largest province and almost 10 points on the East Coast. With this uptick in support, the New Democrats are projected to win 30 seats, an increase of six from the last projection. Nevertheless, that still represents a reduction of the 36-seat caucus Jack Layton currently leads.
In Quebec, the Bloc Québécois is at 38 per cent support, down almost three points from the end of September. The party is projected to win 53 seats in the province, one fewer than two weeks ago. The Liberals are running second in Quebec with 24 per cent and are projected to elect 16 MPs, primarily in Montreal. While that is a small gain in support for Mr. Ignatieff, Mr. Harper's Conservatives remain stagnant with 15.2 per cent, good enough to retain only five of the 11 seats the party presently holds in Quebec.
Down almost two points, the Green Party has the support of 9.6 per cent of Canadians but is not projected to win any seats. They are performing best in British Columbia, where Elizabeth May will be running as a candidate. The Conservatives lead in that province with 33.7 per cent support, and are projected to win half of British Columbia's 36 seats. The Liberals and New Democrats would evenly split the remaining 18 ridings between them.
The Tories lead comfortably in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, and are projected to win 49 seats in those three provinces. The race has narrowed in Atlantic Canada, where the Liberals lead with 35.7 per cent to the Conservatives' 32.3 per cent, but nevertheless Mr. Ignatieff's party is projected to win 19 of the region's 32 seats.
Based on surveys of 4,885 Canadians conducted by EKOS Research and Nanos Research between Sept. 29 and Oct. 12, this polling average is weighted according to sample size and date, with larger samples and newer polling results given greater importance.
Éric Grenier writes about politics and polls at ThreeHundredEight.com