The opinion that Jack Layton, the New Democrats’ leader, might become prime minister come Monday’s election has been mentioned in the exaggeration-prone media a couple of times already. While it is demonstrable that Layton and the NDP are experiencing a surge in popularity according to national polls, some indication is appearing that the surge may be peaking and in some areas of the country it may even be in retreat.
Nanos’ numbers for Thursday (which include survey data from yesterday and two previous days going back to last week since there was no phoning on Easter Monday) show that while in Quebec, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada NDP support is still growing, the trend has stopped in Western Canada. NDP lost support in the prairies and in BC.
In addition, The NDP’s increase in Atlantic Canada is smaller than the gain the Liberals made there in the same reported day, but the Tories took the heaviest loss there. In this region, the vote split might benefit the Liberals most. This with the caveat that the margin of error for the Atlantic’s number is too high to place much trust in them.
The gains in today’s reported numbers for Quebec seem to be coming largely at the expense of Liberals and less so now from the Bloc, while Tory support was unchanged. Tories may yet hang on to their seats in Quebec, even if the NDP sweeps a great deal of the rest.
The place to watch with care is vote-rich Ontario, where the NDs still seem to be growing largely at the expense of Conservative support, and where the Liberals seem to have picked up a little bounce in support. New patterns are not easy to make predictions from. Yet, as of Wednesday, the NDP surge in Ontario might advantage the Conservatives.
In short, not everything is going in the same direction across the country. Friday’s reported numbers will give us a fuller view of this weeks’ developments, once the dragging sample from last week is dropped.
With three days to go, all eyes will remain on the surging NDP. Advance polls also suggest a significant jump in voter turnout. What started as a very boring election may reshape Canadian voting patterns for years to come.
Nanos’ numbers for April 28 are here.