The Canadian election recently entered its last phase, as likely voters' intentions measured by polls now slowly but surely become reliable votes for Oct. 14.
A lot of movement in public opinion since last week's debates: The French debate seems to have solidified the Bloc's base in Quebec, making them the most likely winner in the province on Oct. 14. After a hard campaign start on the defensive, Mr. Duceppe's troops can now think of actually winning more seats than in the 2006 election. They are targeting key swing ridings in Quebec City and Lac-St-Jean, where the Tories made gains in 2006.
democraticSPACE's seat projection for Quebec (75 total) :
Bloc at 49 seats (38.8%)
Liberals at 14 seats (22.9%)
Tories at 10 seats (19.2%)
NDP at 1 seat (12.2%)
A similar movement in public opinion has followed the English debate too. Mr. Dion's Liberal Party has made big gains in recent polls. In fact, the trend now suggests that the Tories and the Liberals are locked up in dead heat in Ontario. As I have stated before, Ontario will most definitely be the battleground province that will decide the color of our next federal government. Up to very recently, everybody conceded that the choice facing voters was between a majority and a minority for Mr. Harper. But now, talks of a Dion government are being taken with much more seriousness.
democraticSPACE's seat projection for Ontario (108 total) :
Tories at 44 seats (33.4%)
Liberals at 44 seats (32.2%)
NDP at 18 seats (20.9%)
2 ridings are real toss-ups
All added up, the numbers make for a seat projection for the whole of Canada (308 total):
Tories at 130 seats (33.8%)
Liberals at 92 seats (26.2%)
Bloc at 49 seats (9.6%)
NDP at 35 seats (19.4%)
So we're still looking at a Conservative minority government, but Mr. Dion's shot at becoming PM have increased steadily over last week. Will he be able to turn the tide completely in his favor in just 5 days? Only time will tell.
What is sure though, is that the surge in support for Mr. Dion's party hurts both the Tories and the NDP in Ontario. In Quebec, higher support for the Liberals could mean that a few ridings that switched to the Bloc in the last election could come back in the Liberals' column. However, it also means that in some ridings the federalist vote will be split up between the Tories and the Liberals, therefore enabling Bloc candidates to squeeze by.
Only 5 days left, and the race is still open ...