I am trying to see of there are clear trends here or not. There have been eight polls by four companies since Thomas Mulcair took over as NDP leader. In three of them the NDP is leading, in four the Conservative and in one the two are tied.
Doing what I think is not appropriate with polling numbers, here are the eight polls since Mulcair won averaged and the median and then looking at the nine polls just before he won the leadership
After Mulcair CPC NDP Lib Bloc Green
Median 34 33 19/20 6/7 4.2/5
Average 33.6 33.6 20.3 6.1 5.3
Median 37 28 23 8 7
Average 35 28.1 22.3 7.1 6.1
Median -3 +5 -3/-4 -1/-2 -2/-2.8
Average -1.4 +5.5 -2.0 -1.0 -0.8
What I find interesting is that the shift in the numbers that only the NDP has gained and from across the board. There is no one party that has suffered dramatically more than others. Even though the Liberals have lost more in absolute numbers, the Greens and Bloc have lost a larger portion of their support.
The public mood seems to have shifted to about 67.2% of the people supporting one of the two major parties versus 63.1% before Mulcair became leader.
An election is still a long time away, but these numbers together with the most likely strategic voting that would happen in an election, would seem to say to me that the most likely outcome is a Conservative minority with a much stronger NDP caucus.
My estimate of support for the parties if this were an election campaign now
Party % seats new seats
CPC 37% 145 167
NDP 36% 124 140
Liberals 17% 22 24
Bloc 6% 6 6
Green 4% 1 1
Govt Majority -10 -3
This is very much blue skying and looking at how past elections have gone in various First Part the Post elections in Westminster Parliament elections federally, provincially and elsewhere in the world.
The fewer parties that are serious threats to win seats, the harder it is for a minority government situation to happen. From 1957 to 1972 Canada had minorities in five of seven elections. It also had four parties that won a reasonable number of seats. With the death of Railment de Credistes in the 1970s, Canada had four majorities in five elections when there were only three major parties. If we had had a single party to the right of the Liberals from 1993 to 2004, there would have been minority governments in most of those elections.
With the collapse of the Bloc, there are only three major parties in Canada. To have a minority government either the Conservatives and NDP have to be very close in the polls or the third party has to do well.
The CCF/NDP did as well as it did for so many years because it had clear several strong regional bases. The Liberals do not have that. There is a serious danger of the Liberals being squeezed in the next election and lose a lot more ground, there support will be strongly pushed to either vote NDP to stop Harper or vote Conservative to stop the socialists.