Uncertainty in Canada as election approaches

There are several possible outcomes stemming from the Canadian parliamentary elections next Tuesday, the most likely being continued minority Conservative governance. Reuters has some scenarios:

A Conservative Majority government -The Conservatives need to win an additional 12 seats to get a majority that could govern without needing support from other parties. Normally a party needs support of around 40 percent of the electorate to win a majority, but if the left-of-center vote is split between other parties, they could win a majority with a smaller share of the vote than that.

Likelihood: possible, if the NDP surge splits the left-of center vote

Conservative Minority government: If the Conservatives win more seats than any other party, they will get the first chance of forming a government, but may have to make concessions to win support from at least one other party and stay in power as a minority government...Likelihood: possible, but it's unclear if it would be stable

New Democratic Party minority government - Likelihood: possible, provided support for the NDP stays strong.

Liberal minority government - Likelihood: unlikely, given current poll numbers.

NDP Majority government - Likelihood: very unlikely

The NDP is set to outpoll the liberals for the first time at the national level. If they manage to pull enough votes from the liberals in districts where the liberals are the second most popular party, a Conservative majority is possible. Otherwise, the Conservatives need to win 12 more seats - a daunting prospect given the split in the Canadian electorate.

Polls give Conservatives between 37 and 43 percent. With those numbers, it seems probable that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's shaky coalition will be re-established and things will return pretty much to the way they were before the collapse of the last government.

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