Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Another poll and seat projections

Yet another poll on the Canadian federal election has been released and it gives the governing Liberals 35% with the Conservatives right behind at 30%. And Global News' seat projections were the election held today give the Liberals 127 seats compared to 106 for the Conservatives, 54 for the Bloc Quebecois and 21 for the New Democrats. The big news here is that this places the Liberals 28 seats away from the 155 needed for a majority. And just as importantly, even if they received the support of the New Democrats, they would still fall short of an absolute majority in the House of Commons. The scenario of a Conservative minority backed loosely by the Bloc Quebecois is a real possibility.

But will the numbers hold out until election day, and will the Liberals fall further? I suspect that the numbers may move a bit, but probably not too much. I also expect that the Liberals are probably reaching their lowest point at 35% support while the Conservatives are approaching their upper range at 30%. The reason I hold this view is that even during the Liberals' disastrous showing in 1984, the part only fell to 28%. That was certainly an anomaly, but I think it can safely be said that the Liberals don't fall much below a solid base of 33% of the electorate. At the same time, that 33% mark is about the upper limits of Conservative support. The only thing that pushed them significantly above this point in an election, such as that of 1988, was the fact that Quebec nationalists supported the Conservatives and Quebec-native, Brian Mulroney.

As I've argued before, the Liberals are pretty much the only national party that can win a majority, but they don't, contrary to their own views of themselves, have a solid majority base in Canada. In fact, they don't even have a solid base at 40% of the electorate. As such, the Liberals are always open to the threat of falling into minority status. And, if the polls are to be believed, it looks as though even the support of the New Democrats in the House of Commons won't be enough to give them a majority.

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