I'm changing my bets. Yesterday's polls show the Liberal collapse continuing across the country. I now think the Liberals may get as few as two dozen seats.
The only area of the country where Liberal fortunes have improved is in BC. They're still in third place there, but they're recovering enough to split the vote with the NDP and hand some closely contested seats to the Conservatives.
I now think the Bloc is in worse trouble than I thought yesterday, too. I think they may get as few as 20 seats. Hopefully even less.
On the other hand, the NDP surge continues - entirely at the expense of the Liberals and the Bloc. So I now expect them to take at least 100 seats.
The Conservatives continue to hold steady or may be climbing. With the Liberal collapse, I think they've got a 50-50 chance of hitting 155 seats, which is what they need for a majority.
So here's my new prediction:
Conservatives: 155 seats (more or less)
NDP: 105 seats (more or less)
Liberals: 24 seats (or more)
Bloc 18 seats (or more)
Combined NDP & Liberal seats: about 130, versus about 155 seats for the Conservatives.
If the Conservatives manage to win their majority, the constitutional situation becomes mute. We'll have a Conservative government, full stop.
Otherwise, I fear we're into the same mess as I predicted yesterday: The other 3 parties combining to defeat the Conservatives at the first opportunity. Then the NDP and Liberals forming an informal coalition undersigned on a vote-by-vote basis by the Bloc.
I don't know if most Canadians will view such a government as legitimate. They didn't the last time the opposition parties tried it.
But here's a thought: Previously everyone's assumed the opposition would be led by the Liberals, and of course it's impossible to imagine the NDP siding with the Conservatives - party members simply wouldn't stand for it, regardless of any consideration of real politic.
But ideologically, only the left wing of the Liberal party is close to the NDP. After tonight, that left wing will cease to exist - they've all gone over to the NDP.
It may take the Liberals a while to understand their new position - and probably too long to adjust to it - but as of tonight, a Conservative - Liberal colation will make much more sense than and NDP - Liberal coalition.