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Conservatives gravitating towards 2008 results, research institute finds

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Apr 20/11| For Immediate Release


Barry Kay, Department of Political Science
Wilfrid Laurier University
519-884-0710 ext. 3362 or 519-886-5668 or


Andrea Perrella, Director
Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy
519-884-0710 ext. 2719 or

WATERLOO – An analysis of new polls shows the Conservative Party’s projected seat count at only two seats above the party’s 2008 election result, according to The Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP).

LISPOP’s analysis of recent polls projects a seat distribution of 145 seats for the Harper Conservatives, a loss of six seats since last week. This is a drop of 12 seats since the high-water mark of 157 seats announced by LISPOP in its March 25 projection, shortly before the start of the campaign.

Today’s projection is based on an aggregation of polls conducted by Ekos, Nanos, Environics, Abacus, Leger, Angus Reid, Harris-Decima, Leger and Forum Research, conducted from April 11 to April 18, 2011, with a blended sample of about 15,000 individuals. This is the largest aggregate sample ever used in a LISPOP projection, prior to the final week of an election campaign. The regional swing model also projects 77 seats for the Liberals, 38 seats for the NDP and 48 seats for the Bloc Québécois.

“What we have seen in recent days is that the Conservatives are slipping back to the level of seats that they had in the 2008 election,” said Barry Kay, an associate of LISPOP. “They had gained some seats over the past few months – as many as 14 seats at one point – but basically, they are still slightly ahead compared to 2008.”

Many of the “changes” are essentially reverting seats to the parties that won them in 2008.

“All of the six seats that the Conservatives lost since the April 15 projection are seats that the Conservatives did not hold,” said Kay.

While it is typical for election campaigns to tighten, there are two notable recent developments.

“The actual changes are mostly in Atlantic Canada,” said Kay. “The Liberals have lost one point, but the Conservatives have lost five points from the previous projection.” Consequently, the Conservatives lost two seats, while the Liberals are up two.

Another recent development is growing strength for the NDP.

“The NDP is on the rise, particularly in Atlantic Canada,” said Kay. “However, it's not giving the NDP any more seats in that region.”

In Ontario, two seats once projected for the Conservatives have reverted to the NDP, which has gained four points in public opinion there since the previous projection.

The seat projection is one of several features on LISPOP’s election tracker coverage of the 2011 campaign. Visitors to can view a map of all federal constituencies, colour-coded to reflect the standing of each of the main parties and general level of competitiveness, as per LISPOP’s analysis of the latest surveys.

Currently, 29 seats are designated as “too close to call,” an increase of one from the April 15 projection. Another 26 show one party “leaning”: five for the Conservatives, 14 for the Liberals, four for the NDP and three for the Bloc Québécois.

Updates are announced through LISPOP’s Twitter account: @LaurierInst.

About LISPOP: The Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy is a research centre at Wilfrid Laurier University that studies issues pertaining to the creation, use and representation of public opinion in the policy process. The institute serves as a catalyst to promote individual and collaborative research on these issues. In addition, the institute monitors the practices and claims of the public opinion and interest group industries, and serves as an educational resource to the university and the larger community on questions and issues pertaining to those claims and practices.


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