Conservatives Now Clearly in the Lead

The following projection for LISPOP (Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy) and Global News is based upon a series of polls conducted during May, 2019 by Nanos, Angus Reid and Campaign Research producing a blended sample of some 6800 respondents. It should also be clarified that this is not to be interpreted as a prediction of the future, but rather an estimate of parliamentary seat distribution translated from popular support during May.

What the data indicate is that there was continued momentum away from the Liberals and toward several other parties including the Conservatives since our previous projection in mid-April, probably lingering effects of the SNC-Lavalin matter and associated cabinet resignations. The average of national polls during this period moved from a 1% Conservative lead over the Liberals to an approximate 5% differential. However the LISPOP model is based upon regional data, not national figures, and the rate of change has varied substantially by region. The Liberal decline was more evident in western Canada than the east where the number of swing seats is greatest. In fact there are few remaining Liberal enclaves in the west, which  seem to be mostly restricted to Vancouver and Winnipeg.

The province with the most  marginal seats is Ontario, but the relative Conservative advantage there only improved by about 1%. Indeed in Atlantic Canada, the Liberal differential actually improved slightly. Two of the most notable beneficiaries of the Liberal slide were the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party in British Columbia. The Bloc would have gained ten seats since their depressed figures in April, and the Green support in BC jumped 7 points. This raised their seat total to four, all from Vancouver Island. Ironically Green strength at the Liberals` expense in other parts of BC, has had the side effect of allowing the Conservatives  to gain five additional seats in the province without significantly raising their own vote support level.

What this all suggests, is that at the moment Andrew Scheer`s Conservative Party is best positioned to form a government but falls short of a majority. Probably the most fruitful potential path would be a breakthrough in Ontario, particularly the ring of suburbs in the 905 area code surrounding Toronto.

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Table 1: Federal Seat projections - June 2019 (2015 election results in brackets)

Canada 157 (99) 136 (184) 27 (44) 13 (10) 4 (1) 1
Atlantic 9 (0) 22 (32) 1 - - -
Quebec 12 (12) 50 (40) 2 (16) 13 (10) - 1
Ontario 58 (33) 49 (80) 14 (8) - - -
Prairies / North 23 (18) 6 (8) 2 (5) - - -
Alberta 33 (29) 0 (4) 1 (1) - - -
British Columbia 22 (10) 9 (17) 7 (14) - 4 (1) -

Note: The "regional swing model" is more fully explained in a paper presented by Dr. Barry Kay to the 2009 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, entitled "A Regional Swing Model for Converting Canadian Popular Vote into Parliamentary Seats 1963-2008." It should be noted that the application of the model above does not make use of the "incumbency effect" described in that paper. In tests for past elections, using late campaign polls to project electoral outcomes, the model has proved to be accurate within an average of four seats per party since 1963. Readers interested in post-dictions for past federal elections dating back to 1963, for projections using pre-election polls dating back to the 1980 federal election and for three Ontario provincial elections, may contact me at [email protected].

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