Several new polls have come out including a Leger poll, an Ekos poll and an Ipsos poll that show the Liberals at 18% in Québec. This is much better than the 11 % reported in an earlier CROP poll. The Tories are at 22 % the NDP at 16 and the Bloc at 38 %. in one poll and in another the Tories are at 16, the New Democrats at 20 the Bloc at 41 and the Liberals 18. So with a good campaign in Québec the Liberals should be able to build on this base and hold on to their Montreal base, perhaps capturing an additional seat or two in Québec. On the other hand, at the national level the latest forum research poll has the Conservatives at 41 %, the Liberals at 24 % and the NDP at 19 %. Because of the methodological problems in disparate polls the best way of minimizing interpretative error is to average them and understand their built in error factors.TCNorris in his excellent blogspot blog comments on an insightful ABC news report http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenumbers/2011/03/study-raises-new-questions-for-opt-in-online-data.html that calls into question the validity of internet polls that rely on an opt in pollable on line audience.They conclude that there are too many problems with this technique sto trust it as an accurate guage of public opinion. Canadian media need to point this out in their reporting of the polls, some of which use this methodology. So we need more polls and more transparent analysis before we leap to any conclusions.
But if the Tories scored over 41 % and the Liberals and the NDP each below 25 % and the bloc held on to its 38-40 % share in Québec on election day this might well approach a razor thin Conservative majority. So there is plenty of work to do on the Liberal and NDP parts to increase their share of the vote. But as TCNorris points out in order for the Conservatives to win a majority they need to do even better than they did outside of Québec in the last election. Their vote last time outside of Québec was 43 .3% . The Liberals scored 27.1 %, the NDP 20.3 %, the Greens 7.9 % and others 1.3 % So the Conservatives have a fair and tough distance to travel to get a majority if their Québec vote is around 20 % or below.
Michael Ignatieff appears to be having a good campaign although he is quoted in the Toronto Star criticizing the Tories for having run a small deficit prior to the recession as if this were bad policy. If I were him I would avoid excessive fiscal conservatism even if it seems electorally popular since what he and Ralph Goodale appear to be complaining about is a very small pre recession deficit as a percentage of the GDP that involved sensible investments in the economy and /or were fiscal impulse responses to a slowing growth rate.