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By Chris Hannay (@channay)
As Nik Nanos likes to say, it's the trends that matter.
Rather than getting too caught up in particular numbers (especially when comparing support between pollsters), it's most useful to pay attention to where those numbers are going than where they've been.
And in the case of Nanos' daily tracking, the chairman of Nanos Research says the trend has been clear.
"It basically took 66 days for Canadians to sort out who the main challenger was to Stephen Harper," Mr. Nanos says. "It's pretty clear that they believe Justin Trudeau is the main challenger."
For the first half of the campaign, the NDP marginally led a three-way race before starting to dip. Around Thanksgiving weekend, according to Nanos's numbers, is when the Liberals began to take off. The trendlines now point up for the Liberals, down for the NDP, and relatively flat for the Conservatives.
There are a couple of possibilities for what could happen in the last days of the vote, Mr. Nanos says. The first is the bandwagon effect, where support continues to build, possibly enough to propel the Liberals into majority territory.
But there's another possibility.
"In my experience, there are a number of phenomena we usually see in the close of the campaign," he says. "One of them is the technical correction. It's kind of like the stock market. People see a stock that starts to run and then at one point someone says, that stock's a little over-valued.
"We saw that in 2006, when the Conservatives went into majority territory and then there was a technical correction when they went back into minority territory. So the question for the Liberals will be, if they go into the weekend with momentum, will there be a technical correction where people say, 'Yes, we'd like to have a Liberal government, but perhaps not a majority.'"
DAILY TRACKING FROM NANOS RESEARCH
Nik Nanos: "Liberals lead by six points nationally in Nanos tracking."
> Conservatives: 30.6 per cent (down 0.4 from last week)
> NDP: 23.5 per cent (down 1.5 from last week)
> Liberals: 36.5 per cent (up 2.5 from last week)
> Green: 4.7 per cent (up 0.5 from last week)
> Bloc: 4.3 per cent (down 1.0 from last week)
Nanos conducts daily tracking for The Globe and Mail and CTV. A three-day rolling sample of 1,200 Canadians are contacted through phone (cell and landline). The margin of error is 2.8 points. Click here for Nanos methodology.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING
> Fallout continues over a senior Liberal campaign official giving lobbying advice to TransCanada.
> Explosive allegations from a new book about Rob Ford are raising fresh questions about a rally the ex-mayor is hosting for Stephen Harper this weekend.
> The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal is likely not coming out before the election after all.
> Ottawa's economic policy priorities are in line for a significant shakeup should current polling trends hold through to voting day.
> A number of environmental leaders and policy experts are urging voters to opt for strategic voting, bypassing the Greens in favour of a party that could unseat the Conservatives.
TODAY'S ELECTION SIMULATION
The Conservatives make gains in Quebec and hold most of Ontario to walk away with 163 seats, just ahead of the combined tally of the Liberals' 99 and NDP's 61. Try your hand at our simulator and find out what could happen if an election were held today.
Overall, the Liberals currently have a 67-per-cent chance of winning the most seats.
WHERE THE LEADERS ARE
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has a morning event in Quebec City.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is in Lac-Megantic in the morning, including the site of the derailment tragedy, and in Edmonton in the evening.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau tours the Greater Toronto Area today, visiting Mississauga, Brampton, Richmond Hill and Markham.
CAMPAIGNS MATTER - JUST ASK JUSTIN TRUDEAU
By every matrix – fixed vote intention, possible vote intention, preferred leader, agent of change – the NDP cratered in the campaign while the Liberals rose, Jeffrey Simpson writes. This campaign therefore produced a big shift – except for one constant. The Conservatives went nowhere in the campaign, except perhaps slightly backward.
WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
"Two campaigns – the Conservatives and the NDP – chose more well-worn campaign strategies. The Liberals chose the opposite. On this final election weekend, it is the Liberals who lead in voting intentions, not their opponents. It has made all the difference." – David McLaughlin on the election campaign.
Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail): "Just as Justin Trudeau was ratcheting up the whole vibe of fresh, new, hopeful, 'real change' to ride through election day, his campaign co-chair had to be cut loose for what seems like old-timey Liberal behaviour."
Ken Dryden (Globe and Mail): "When we vote on Monday, it will be less a referendum on the visions of the leaders and their parties, and more a referendum on the state of mind of the Canadian people."
Charlie Gillis (Maclean's): "The Tories' marriage of convenience with the Fords was always a calculated risk."
Chris Selley (Postmedia): "The first rule of electoral reform is that you do not talk about electoral reform."
LOOKAHEAD: WHAT TO EXPECT THIS WEEK
Leaders are campaigning furiously in the lead-up to the vote next Monday.
The election is in 3 days.
This newsletter is produced by Chris Hannay and Steve Proceviat.