Canadian federal election likely in 2011

The signs are there for a federal election sometime in 2011, likely after the federal budget scheduled for February or March. It's been 26 months since the last election which ended with similar results to the 2006 election and another minority Conservative Government.

For the past two years the Liberals have kept the current government going but that is likely to end soon. But it appears the Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is ready to try is wings.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been focusing his attention at key swing ridings knowing that fewer than a dozen ridings flipping to the Conservative can mean a majority government. Recent successes in by-elections have reinforced Conservative confidence.

The NDP also appear to be confident going into 2011. With Jack Layton as leader the NDP have gone from 13 seats to 19 seats to 29 seats and then to 37 seats in subsequent elections. The NDP feels that they have the ability to become the Official Opposition but that can only happen if the NDP makes significant inroads in Quebec. Something that has never really happened.

If you look at some recent polls (below) it becomes obvious that the numbers are pretty consistent. In fact they haven't changed must over the past two years if you look at the popular vote in the 2008 election. The fact that there has been little fluctuation in polling suggests that either a lot of people have parked their votes with a particular party until the election is called or there aren't very many undecided voters.

I expect the next election to to deliver another minority Conservative government. There is a great deal of love directed at Harper but there aren't strong alternatives so I don't expect much shifting in voting patterns.

Ipsos/Reid 39% 29% 12% 10% 9%
Harris-Decima 34% 28% 15% 9% 12%
EKOS 34% 29% 14% 10% 10%
Nanos 38% 31% 17% 10% 3%
AVERAGE 36% 29% 14% 10% 8%

2008 Federal Election 38% 26% 18% 10% 7%
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