Saturday September 05, 2015

Battleground Watch: Montreal

The downtown Montreal skyline.

The downtown Montreal skyline. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Listen 3:45

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has called Toronto "Canada's most important city" a number of times during this federal election campaign but another city — Montreal — might be even more important if he hopes to vault his party from official opposition to government on Oct. 19th. 

The Island of Montreal is a electoral prize for any party, but the NDP, in particular, are hoping that an Orange Wave Part II will wash over ridings that eluded them in the last election.

In 2011, the NDP won 59 of Quebec's 75 seats (electoral redistribution has added three new seats to the province's tally this time around) and recent polls suggest that the NDP could win almost every seat in the province. But the CBC's poll analyst, Éric Grenier, offers a word of caution. 

"When we look at the way Liberals are polling in Quebec — they're up relatively significantly from where they were in the last election. They are in a better position to win some seats," Grenier said in an interview with Chris Hall of CBC Radio's The House

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's announcement this week that, if elected, he would reverse the Conservative plan to charge tolls to drivers using Montreal's new Champlain Bridge, is as an attempt to build on that support.  

Another unknown for the NDP is how well the Bloc Québécois fare this time around. "The Bloc don't seem to be doing well on the island [of Montreal]," Grenier said. "Gilles Duceppe is behind by a significant margin ... people aren't welcoming him back. He may be in tough."  

"But if the Bloc can make some gains — maybe after the French-language debate — then that certainly confuses things for the New Democrats. If they do lose some votes over to the Bloc that could cause some problems [for the NDP]," and hand the Liberals some extra seats in Montreal. 

In fact, a recent poll from Mainstreet Research put the Bloc Québécois behind the Conservative Party on the island of Montreal. And an internal NDP party poll — which should be viewed with caution, Grenier said — put Gilles Duceppe way back from the competition with incumbent Hélène Laverdière in a strong position to keep her seat.

Haven't got enough numbers? Éric Grenier joins The House over the summer for a deep dive into the polls and the data surrounding various battleground ridings across Canada.

Follow parties' gains and losses here with the CBC's Poll Tracker.

Previously:

This week's episodes of the CBC Pollcast features Bill Curry from the Globe and Mail and Josh Wingrove from Bloomberg, discussing the importance of the economy in the campaign.You can download the podcasts here.