NDP and Conservatives in virtual tie as federal election campaign begins
As expected, Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with the Governor General today. The parliament was dissolved and writs were issued for a federal election on October 19.
As of July 28 the CBC Poll Tracker shows the Conservative Party of Canada(CPC) is virtually tied with the New Democratic Party(NDP) while the Liberals, the third major party, lag behind in spite of their youthful good-looking leader Justin Trudeau. As of July 28, the Conservatives had 31.6 percent support, NDP 32.1 and Liberals, 25.6. However, the most recent seat projections by the same site give the Conservatives 132 seats, the NDP 122, and the Liberals just 81. The Quebec separatist Bloc Quebecois would win two seats and the Green Party one. Given the Canadian political system of first-past-the-post, a party could obtain the highest popular vote without winning the most seats. Seat projections can change considerably over a relatively short period to time. On July 7 the seat predictions were 119 for the Conservatives, 127 for the NDP, and 89 for the Liberals with the other minor parties being the same. Predictions for who will win in each separate riding can be found here.
The Conservatives have been regaining some lost ground lately to come even with the NDP but the Liberals appear to be stuck in the doldrums. The Poll Tracker has a graph showing support for the parties over time. The Liberals have been dropping for some time while the NDP surged but now is back even with the Conservatives. The Conservative fortunes were no doubt helped when last week the Harper government issued checks to families as part of Universal Child Care Benefit increases.
Together the NDP and the Liberals would have a large majority of seats. It would make strategic sense for the two to agree to a coalition government to replace the Harper government. A recent poll by Forum Research shows that over two-thirds of Liberal and NDP supporters are in favour of the two parties forming a coalition if the Conservatives should win a minority government on October 19. Seventy-five percent of NDP supporters are in favour of a coalition and even 68 percent of Liberals, even though the leader Justin Trudeau has consistently ruled out such a move.The NDP has said that it is open to the idea. Forum Research president, Lorne Bozinoff said:
“The two opposition parties have spent the last week dancing around the coalition question, but it appears their supporters, especially the New Democrats, have no such qualms. They’re ready to get hitched as soon as a minority Conservative government is elected –– if that happens."