Various natives get restless as 2015 Canadian election day draws near .. but is a Liberal majority possible ??

Oct 13th, 2015 | By | Category: In Brief

Supporters gather outside the Beacher Cafe in Toronto ahead of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's appearance on Tuesday. (Susan Ormiston/CBC).

The appearance of Justin Trudeau at the Beacher Café in Toronto this morning – just around the corner from our counterweights editorial offices (aka world headquarters)  – was a reminder that Canadian federal election day 2015 is now less than a week away.

As another sign of something a little out of the ordinary, the Nanos Nightly Tracking rolling poll on the CTV website has still not been updated for today, even as of 9:00 PM – a departure from the early morning daily updating followed for the past month or more. [UPDATE 8:20 AM OCTOBER 14 : Nanos Tracking is back this morning, with its “3-day tracking ending October 13.” And the cross-Canada results are : Liberals 36.1 %, Conservatives 29.2%, NDP 24.5%, and Greens 4.3%.]

Meanwhile, The Signal 2015 Canadian Federal Election Forecast from Voxpop Labs on the Toronto Star site (updated October 12) presents a somewhat closer Liberal-Conservative (and weaker New Democrat) race than Eric Grenier’s CBC Poll Tracker (updated October 13). Here are the projected number of seats and percentage of the cross-Canada popular vote in each case :

One big question : what will happen to the Tom Mulcair New Democrats in Quebec? Up, down, or sideways?

* THE SIGNAL FORECAST/TStar : LIB 135 seats, 34.2% ; CON 131 seats, 33.2% ; NDP 65 seats, 21.5% ; BLQ 6 seats, 5.3% ; GRN 1 seat, 4.8% ; OTH 0 seats, 0.9%.

* GRENIER POLL TRACKER/CBC : LIB 136 seats, 35.1% ; CON 118 seats, 31% ; NDP 80 seats, 23.3% ; BLQ 3 seats, 4.8% ; GRN 1 seat, 4.6% ; OTH 0 seats, 1.1%.

Insofar as such things can be judged from TV and the Internet (and the telephone and even a little face-to-face human contact), there seem to be several varieties of fresh nervousness about the direction in which the polls are pointing!

The softening New Democrat position in Quebec has revived concerns about the Bloc Quebecois. See, eg, “Bloc could hold balance of power in a hung parliament: Hébert.”

It’s hard to see how the Bloc could hold a real “balance of power” on the numbers above. For that the Bloc and Conservative seats combined must exceed the Liberals and New Democrats combined. And even on the Signal forecast above the Liberals and NDP together have 200 seats, to 137 seats for the Conservatives and Bloc together (where a bare majority is 170 seats!).

Justin Trudeau gets an enthusiastic greeting in Vancouver, where he also has family ties from way back. R. JEANETTE MARTIN / FOR THE TORONTO STAR.

Similarly, unless the Harper Conservatives actually wind up with a minority government based on the largest number of seats, the problems (and opportunities) of a Conservative minority government outgunned by the Liberal and NDP seats combined will not materialize.

At the same time, at this point at least there does still seem some not entirely negligible prospect that the Conservatives will finish with the largest number of seats, but not a majority in the house. And something of a media debate has arisen in contemplation of this prospect.

See, eg : “Trudeau renverserait un Harper minoritaire à la première occasion” ; “Trudeau, Mulcair reject any suggestion of backing a Harper minority government … It looks more and more like Harper’s only hope of forming next government is to win a majority, which latest polls suggest is unlikely” ; “Leaders focused on winning big, but minority questions persist” ; and “Group calls on Governor General and federal party leaders to publicly approve clear, fair post-election rules before election day.”

Voters line up for advance polls, which had 71% increase in turnout over 2011.

Meanwhile polling guru Eric Grenier himself has raised a larger prospect in “What the final week of 2011 election might tell us about 2015 … the Liberals now appear to have the momentum. Compared with where they stood 10 days ago, the Liberals are polling about four points higher, and the New Democrats about four points lower. So if we apply the 2011 shift in the polls in the final week to the party with the momentum in this campaign, the Liberals might be heading toward a majority government.”

Finally, there has been a striking increase in turnout for the advance polls that closed on Monday at 8 PM. See “Voter turnout up 71% in four days of advance polling.” Wise observers of past elections may urge the wisdom of not making too much of this. But it does suggest that more people are interested in the 2015 election than were interested in 2011. And many of the same wise observers say that this is not good news for Stephen Harper either. Time will tell. As Mr. Grenier the polling guru has also noted, contemplating such quite unanticipated (and to some of us unsettling) prospects as a Liberal majority “does serve as a strong reminder that nothing in this election is yet settled.” Ie, anything could still happen (well, sort of) : stay tuned.

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