Ekos' latest voting intentions are, again, still a little wacky, but they're in line with the trend all other pollsters, except it seems Angus Reid, are showing: tightening of the race between the Conservatives and the Liberals, and big drops for the NDP down to the low teens.
Just to tick off the topline results quickly: Cons - 33.1%, Libs - 29.95, NDP - 13.5%, Greens - 10.9%, Bloc 10.1% (detailed results here)
Also note that, despite some ideas to the contrary, the Greens aren't budging too far from their usual polling amount, though that being said, if they get anywhere close to 10.9% in an election, I'll eat my hat.
However, there's another portion of Ekos' poll bundle that is wildly more interesting, simply because Ekos seems to be the only one that does it. I'm talking about the preferred government polling, which asks people which government they'd rather see after the next election. Ekos gave some pretty interesting results.
First thing is first: more people want to see an election, not this fall, but much later on, though more people want to see an election this fall in the second week of Ekos' polling than the first. In general, those that want to see an election this fall is made up of Lib, NDP, Bloc and Green supporters, though youth voters want to see an election this fall by the largest amount - 52%. Take that as you will. Either way, though, there is definitely more of a preference to go later than sooner. Most LPC supporters want to see an election later - 60% to 40%.
Secondly, the polling for support of a Coalition government of Liberals and New Democrats lead by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is fairly high, but not high enough. 41% of those asked would prefer a Coalition government led by Mr. Ignatieff, while 39% preferred a Conservative government led by Mr. Harper. Very close, and bound to be very controversial. However, there's also a question of how this went over in the minds of voters; were they thinking about after the next election (something not posed in the question), or were they thinking about right this second? That makes the difference between good support or revolt.
Thirdly (is that an actual word?), though by another a slim margin, more people prefer some form of Liberal government to some form of Conservative government, 38% to 36%. Good news for us. However, more people prefer a Conservative majority to a Liberal majority, and vice versa on the question of minority governments, but that can be put down to frustrated Conservatives.
Going into the detailed tables on these question, we see three key things that, if these numbers hold, will help us in the next election:
1. A lot more NDP and Greens support some form of Liberal government to a Conservative government, an obvious fact. And while it's not necessarily great (about 34% each), it's enough to draw support away, because there is obvious recognition of the fact that they're not going to win.
2. More people in all three Eastern Canada regions prefer some sort of Liberal government to a Conservative government, including Ontario (40% to 38%), Quebec (40% to 23%), and the Atlantic provinces (41% to 33%). I hate to play regionalist, but it means we have some support to work off of in the more seat-rich areas of the country. The Ontario numbers, however, are slightly worrying; unless we increase the Ontario numbers, we can't go far.
3. Support for a coalition, if it comes down to it, is higher than Conservative support in all regions except Alberta (60% prefer Conservatives in power) and the Prairies (50% prefer the Cons there). In BC, 45% prefer a Coalition, to 37% that want the Cons; in Quebec, it's 43% to 26%; and Atlantic Canada is 48% to 33% in favour of a Coalition. Ontario is a slightly different story; 42.5% prefer a Conservative government, and 42.1% prefer a Coalition. Definitely in the margin of error, and reflects the battleground that is Ontario.
How does it help us? Easy. Those that support a Coalition are more inclined to vote for the said parties of the Coalition (Liberals and the NDP) than the Conservatives, which simply means that us Liberals have to take the lions share of that vote plus some on the idea that, the stronger the Liberals are and the closer we can get to a strong minority, the better the NDP can actually help run a Coalition, especially if both of our parties have enough seats for a majority.
So, there it is. I think if we played this sort of information right, we could definitely make hay out of Conservative blathering about the Liberals, Coalitions, and etc. It depends on how well you view the Ekos numbers, of course; I'm skeptical still, but because Ekos is the only one that does this sort of thing, I have no other frames of reference. It does seem to reflect reality, though: the Coalition idea was never that hated, just how it was propagated by Dion, and that little Bloc cavaet. If the Liberals form a Coalition with the NDP without expressed support from the Bloc, I think you'd get more support than not. Either way, it's a close battle.