338 Projection Update: Return to a Two-Party System in Canada?

New polls were published in the past seven days: the Nanos weekly update and the federal Mainstreet Research Ultrapoll. Both polls showed similar tendencies: 1) the Liberals still stand slighly ahead of the Conservatives, but are losing ground in the West, 2) the NDP are near a complete collapse, 3) The Bloc québécois has not (yet) enjoyed a boost from the nomination of its new leader Yves-François Blanchet.

All federal polls are listed on this page. Methodology for this projection follows the same basic rules as did the Qc125 model in Québec and Ontario*: the model calculates a weighted average of all polls publicly published by professional firms. The weighting depends on field date, sample size and historical performance of the polling firm on similar polling endeavours (i.e. provincial polls are not the same as federal polls or municipal polls, etc.). Moreover, the model takes into account the electoral history of all regions of Canada and the demographic data published by the Canadian census.

(*In 2018, the Qc125 model correctly predicted the PC and CAQ majorities in Ontario and Québec respectively, and correctly identified the winners in 111/124 ridings in Ontario and 112/125 ridings in Québec.)

As the last parliamentary session of the 42nd federal legislature gets under way next week, here are where the main parties stand less than 8 months away from the general election.

Popular Vote Projection

Although every poll published since mid-December 2018 shows the Liberals in the lead nation-wide, the gap between the Liberals and the Conservatives is still too narrow to be considered statistically significant. Indeed, as we will see below, we have a statistical tie on top of voting intentions.

The Liberal Party of Canada leads the way with an average of 35.9%. As we will see below, the Liberals are leading in the Maritimes, Québec and are neck and neck with the Conservatives in Ontario. The Liberals seem to have lost ground lately in BC, where it could cost them some crucial seats.

The Conservative Party of Canada currently stands at an average support of 34.0%. According to current numbers, the Conservatives could win as many as 40 more seats than in 2015. Those net gains could potentially come from New Brunswick, Ontario, and all of the western provinces.

For most of 2018, the New Democratic Party polled, at best, in the low 20s and in the high teens, but in the past few months, its score has fallen closer to 15% or below. This week, the NDP's average stands at 13.0%. On February 25th, all eyes will turn towards the Vancouver district of Burnaby South where NDP Jagmeet Singh hopes to get elected to the House of Commons. Should he failed to do so, it could have national consequences.

Here are the popular vote projections with 95% confidence intervals:

Seat Projection

The Liberal Party of Canada, which won 184 seats in 2015, wins a average of 174 seats over one hundred thousand simulations performed by the 338 model. The threshold for a majority is 170 seats, so a Liberal majority - or even a Liberal win for that matter - would be far from certain should those numbers hold until the fall.

The Conservative Party of Canada climbs again this week in the seat projection, this time with an average seat count of 143. As it stands right now, the CPC would be the only party in position to make net gains compared to the 2015 general election (with, to a much lesser extent, the Green Party of Canada).

Consider the following graphs. It depicts the probability densities of seat projections for all major parties with a comparison with their 2015 seat totals.

For the LPC and CPC, the probability functions overlap significantly, meaning that although the Liberals still hold a slight edge, a Conservative (minority) win would still be a plausible scenario:

Here is the NDP seat probability density. Obviously, it falls way short of its 44 seat total of 2015:

For the Bloc québécois, I would urge to use caution with these numbers. As mentioned above, the BQ has a new leader since mid-January, and it would be a reasonable assumption that his arrival has not yet made the needle move for the pro-independence party.

The Green Party of Canada is projection to make modest gains, especially in Vancouver Island in BC:

Projection of outcome

With these numbers, the Liberals win the most seats in about three quarters of all simulations. This graphs shows the probability density of the seat difference between the LPC and the CPC.

Regional Distribution

All 338 district projections are now available on 338Canada.com. To find your home district, use this list:

The complete map of this projection is available on this page.

New polls are expected later this week. Stay tuned.

Philippe J. Fournier is the creator of Qc125 and 338Canada. He teaches physics and astronomy at Cégep de Saint-Laurent in Montreal. For information or media request, please write to info@Qc125.com.

Philippe J. Fournier est le créateur de Qc125 et 338Canada. Il est professeur de physique et d'astronomie au Cégep de Saint-Laurent à Montréal. Pour toute information ou pour une demande d'entrevue médiatique, écrivez à info@Qc125.com.