Just over seven months before the October election, Justin Trudeen's Liberals took Conservatives of Andrew Sheer into polls. Their chances of winning the re-election are not better than coins.
But a month ago, the Liberals were in a strong position to secure a second term in office.
Things can change quickly in public opinion, especially when controversy, as is the case with SNC-Lavalin, is fueled in the election year. Between now and October 21, when Canadians should go to the polls, the intention to vote is likely to change again. And again.
Canada's PC PC survey will monitor ups and downs of public opinion right up to election day. The polling agent is an aggregation of all publicly available polls that weigh each poll by date, sample size and recorder record. (Full methodology here.)
Over 150 national polls were announced in the run-up to the federal election in 2015. The survey runner covers these different surveys in a single set of numbers that can be monitored over time, providing a consensus on all data.
That consensus is currently giving the conservatives leadership – their first lead in polls after the prime minister's disastrous trip to India a year ago.
Conservatives have a modest profit at the expense of the Liberals, as have the New Democrats under Jagmeet Singh. But Sheer's conservatives have not yet received significant rewards from the Liberal Party's battles. Their leadership is primarily due to the collapse of Liberal's support, rather than reinforcing the conservatives.
For the NDP, the increase in polling stations continues to leave the party in an uncertain situation; indeed, is now recovering from what was a new floor in his support.
But national numbers just say part of the story.
Liberals lead to Quebec and the Atlantic, the conservatives elsewhere
The polling squad takes all regional data in national polling stations – and polls conducted in just one part of the country – to assess where each party has its own strengths and weaknesses.
The Liberals took a hit across the country. They still lead to Quebec and Atlantic Canada – although their margins over conservatives have declined in both regions. They lost their edge in both Ontario and British Columbia.
Quebec and conservatives have made progress in Quebec, while the New Democrats remain in danger of losing all the seats they won in that province in 2015.
The survey projection model of the survey allows to draw reasonable conclusions as to which current levels of support in the polls will produce in places. These estimates have been made by moving previous election results in each of Canada's 338 riders with changes in regional voting intentions.
With a narrow lead at the national level, conservatives are in the best position to win the most seats. But the advantage of the conservative headquarters over the Liberals seems narrow due to the regional degradation of that support; both sides are on the territory of a minority government. The new Democrats (who could lose almost half their seats) and to a lesser extent the bloc could maintain the balance of power in such a minority legislature.
In fact, the Polling Team is currently considering the minority government of one or the other tape as the most likely outcome. Asked which party to win the most seats in the elections held today, the polling squad sees a virtual launcher among conservatives and liberals. It all depends on how voices are distributed at the driving level – and how accurate the results of the polls.
Expecting the unexpected
One of the benefits of polling aggregation is that it reduces the chances of misleading conclusions from individual research that are subject to more potential sources of error. In previous provincial and federal elections, the aggregate of polls conducted by most polls.
The normal error in sampling makes it inevitable that some polls will be closer to the mark than others, even if they are done correctly and extracted from representative samples. But it is impossible to know with certainty which of these polls will previously hit the bullish eye – and which will prove to be surprising.
The polling squad tries to emphasize this degree of uncertainty. Electoral aggregates and seat projections are expressed with a "range of confidence" to show that a large number of outcomes are possible based on available information. The likelihood of winning each party is calculated in order to show which outcomes are more common than others.
Of course, the fact that a certain outcome is unlikely does not mean that it will not happen. The poll on Ontario gave progressive conservatives to Doug Ford 94% of the chance to win the most seats in the June provincial elections, as has been shown.
But in New Brunswick, the Polling Runner gave the liberals a clear lead in popular PC voting, but only 14 percent chance that computers will emerge with the most seats. Computers broke September's 22-seat elections – another of the Liberals. Unexpected can happen.
Surveys are an inevitable part of modern election campaigns. There are many of them and can be contradictory. The poller is designed to help reduce noise and make some sense of the numbers to understand where Canadians stand and why political parties do what they do.
It is a kind of information that parties use to prepare their electoral strategies. The Canadian Poll Canvas Poll tries to fix even the playing field in what could be a turbulent election year.