Stephen Harper's Conservatives must win 23 more seats in Ontario to achieve their coveted majority, a task that senior party insiders now admit is almost impossible, the Star has learned.
High-ranking sources confide that even with the collapse of Michael Ignatieff's Liberals — and NDP Leader Jack Layton's surge, which helps split the vote in many Ontario ridings — it will be very difficult to make such immense gains in Canada's most populous province.
At the dissolution of Parliament, the minority Tories held 51 of Ontario's 106 federal seats.
Party sources say the possible loss of several British Columbia ridings to the New Democrats — and others in Quebec, where Layton is surfing an orange wave — has forced them to revise their projections.
As of Thursday, they said they needed to win at least 74 seats in Ontario to achieve a majority.
“It all comes down to Ontario and we're just not there,” a source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the party's internal polling is closely guarded.
The article references the Harris Decima poll I mentioned yesterday, the regional template required for toppling Harper. Well today Nanos comes out with his poll and it shows similar trends. Given the sentiment in the linked story, it would appear the Conservative internals are also in agreement. Nanos now has the national gap down to just five points, Conservatives 36%, NDP 31%, Liberals 22%.
But, it's the regionals that paint a "fall short" picture for the Conservatives. Atlantic Canada shapes up as repeat of 2008, the Bloc continues to fade in Quebec, the NDP with their best tally in B.C. all election and a sharp dropoff for the Conservatives in Ontario, lowest total of this campaign. As well, NDP support continuing to rise in Ontario, while Liberal support might just be firming up. Throw it all together and it's the required opposition recipe. There is absolutely no sense that the NDP are retreating, if anything the Quebec "wave" is further spilling to the rest of the country, albeit in much more modest fashion. If you want Harper gone, this is the type of polling you need to see. Based on disposition, it would appear Harper sees the same numbers as well...