Race closes up.
I'd like to say the race is closing up already, but that would suggest it'll stay close, or even tighten further. Way too early for that.
What does matter, in today's Nanos Research numbers, sponsored by CTV/G&M, is that the Grits suddenly are viable. They now trail the Tories by just 6.4%, compared with a yawning 11% deficit in Nanos' previous survey.
Kinsella is giddy, having predicted a race-tightening sooner than later, and his four reasons for that are worth noting.
But - big but - in this poll the Tories continue to grow their support, up from 37.6 to 39.1 over the past three consecutive Nanos surveys. Recall that direction is what matters.
The Grits also are up in those three most recent Nanos surveys, from 26.2% to 32.7%. But the Tories have just inched into majority territory, by Nanos count. Even if they plateau at their current 39.1%, the Grits will have to grow a lot more to match or eclipse them. They can get some of that additional support from the NDP, but that well isn't deep. What Iggy needs to do is cut into Bloc and Tory support in Quebec, and Tory seats in Southern Ontario.
But the Grits' numbers in Quebec, as we've noted, are just dreadful. Grits are the walking dead in Quebec. There might be negative migration from the deeply unpopular Grit premier Jean Charest.
Indeed, that might also be a factor in Ontario, where Liberal Premier McGuinty's been in poor popular regard for a year.
The NDP takes a big hit in this poll, down 4 points. But keep in mind that Layton has far fewer seats to defend, and ample resources with which to do so. Which makes the strategic Grit raid on NDP seats that much tougher.
Which brings us ThreeHundredEight.com's current projection (below), a cure for euphoria in the Grit camp. As of today, 308.com has the Tories picking up 7 seats, to 150; the Grits losing 4 seats, to 73; the Bloc gaining an impressive 5 seats, to 52; and the NDP dropping three seats, to 33.
Yet that's sobering for the Tories, too, since the total of projected opposition seats is now 158, to just 150 Tory seats. Remember too that if Bloc gains come at Liberal expense (that would mostly be on the island of Montreal), and Grit pick-ups elsewhere come at NDP expense, the total opposition count remains roughly the same - that is, higher than the Tory count.
Which keeps coalition on the table. Absent a Tory surge or Grit super-surge, another Harper minority or an Iggy-led coalition are still the likeliest outcomes.