The House

Battleground watch - The Electoral Map

It's all about the map. The electoral map. CBC polls analyst Éric Grenier takes us across the country and outlines the potential paths to victory.
“If one part of the country is shut out from that experience they’re certainly getting a much different read of the election than say other Canadians," says Éric Grenier, the founder of, a website dedicated to political polling in Canada and the CBC poll analyst for the federal election.

The national horse race numbers don't matter.

What matters heading into Monday's election are how the races are shaping up in each of the 338 ridings.

We take a look at the electoral map, region by region, with CBC's polls analyst Éric Grenier:

Atlantic Canada

EG: That's the area where the Liberals are in the strongest position to pick up a lot of the seats. Both the New Democrats and the Conservatives are on the defence here. Atlantic Canada is the first building block for the Liberals — if they come out of there with 25 seats, they're going to be in a good spot.


EG: Numbers aren't telling us very much. We're seeing all parties competitive in different parts of the province. There's going to be a lot of close races, and a lot of races that could be decided by a very few amount of votes. You could see a number of MPs elected with under 30 per cent of the vote. It wouldn't be surprising to see the NDP taking anywhere between 30 to 50 seats here.


EG: Ontario has been moving towards the Liberals in this last stage of the campaign. We're now seeing them more often over 40 per cent with a big lead over the Conservatives. That means they're going to be pushing the Conservatives out of the suburban areas in the GTA. It will be up to the Conservatives to prevent that from happening — to hold those gains they made in the GTA. For the New Democrats, they need to hold onto those seats in urban Toronto and maybe pick up a few from the Conservatives in southwestern Ontario. They look pretty good in northern Ontario, but there's a couple close races in Kenora and Sault Ste. Marie that could be very interesting.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan

EG: For each of these provinces, it's whether the Liberals or New Democrats can pick up some urban seats. For the Conservatives, they're going to be holding the rural areas for the most part. The northern areas of both provinces could be NDP wins. In Winnipeg, it's how many seats can the Liberals win from the Conservatives, and in Regina and Saskatoon, it's whether the NDP can take advantage of those redistribute ridings to win some seats from the Conservatives.


EG: Alberta's really going to be interesting to watch to see if those seats who voted Conservative again and again and again will now be up for grabs in Edmonton and Calgary. The NDP aren't in as good a position to pick up seats as they were earlier. For the Liberals, there's a few ridings in Edmonton and Calgary where they have a shot.

British Columbia

EG: The interior looks like a race between the Conservatives and the New Democrats. The NDP could try and take those ridings where Conservative incumbents aren't running. In Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby, there are lots of races between all three parties. The Liberals will be looking for their pick-ups in Vancouver. On Vancouver Island, there's a couple races where the Conservatives are in trouble to hold their seats there. South of the island, will the Greens be able to win a second seat? Everybody's watching that. It's the only area of the country where the Greens are polling strong enough that they could be a factor in vote splitting for the NDP.

Do you see a path to victory through the numbers for any party?

EG: The Conservatives would need a lot of good luck in terms of their swing seats. They would need to really outperform their polls and get the turn out. For the Liberals, it's going to be hard to get to that 170 seat mark. If they make a breakthrough in Francophone Quebec, that would be a strong sign that they're on their way to that. But they need at least 25 seats in Quebec for that.

It was a long campaign — how do you think it played out in the polls?

EG: It's still been one of the closest races in recent history. At different parts of the campaign, there was one party in first, one party in third, and each of the parties would have liked the campaign to have stopped at a certain point. The New Democrats would have been good with a normal length campaign, stopping in early September. The Conservatives would have been much better off if the campaign had stopped at the end of September, and the Liberals are happy this turned out to be such a long campaign. It's worked for them in that they've had growth throughout the campaign.

Listen to Éric Grenier's full interview with Chris Hall in the player above. 

Haven't got enough numbers? Éric Grenier joins The House over the campaign 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.