NDP… WTF?

Wow. That’s about all I can say concerning the latest poll showing that the NDP has the support of 31% of those surveyed – almost a statistical tie with the Harper Conservatives; an impressive achievement by any measure and something that would have inconceivable just a month ago. Meanwhile, Liberal support has collapsed, falling to a dismal 22%. Despite having run a competent and vigorous campaign, Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal team is no match it seems for “orange tide” presently sweeping the country.

Riding the current wave of enthusiasm, Jack now wants us to “imagine” him as the next Prime Minister… an event not likely to happen immediately, but certainly one that’s increasingly plausible and may even become reality in the course of events.

As I’ve said before, Canadian voters, or at least those surveyed in polls, are clearly signalling that they: a) reject the status quo in parliament; and b) believe Jack Layton and the NDP will be a more effective voice of opposition to the Conservatives than would be the Liberals – a party that (for understandable reasons) time and again has failed to “walk the walk” in that regard. And not to be discounted, there is the personal charisma of Layton, who compares favourably in that respect by a country mile to both the Liberal and Conservative leaders.

Barring a miracle of some kind, for the Liberals this election is looking more like another calamity in the making… (Now I know what if must feel like to be a Leafs fan). For whatever reason, their latest gimmicks (the fact that I felt compelled to refer to them as such may be telling) have failed to catch on and despite performing better than expected and having succeeded in dispelling many of the myths created about him by the HarperCon lie factory over the last several years, Michael Ignatieff remains a difficult sell. Even so, out of disaster comes opportunity. There’s always another season to play and maybe we’ll even get a better draft pick next time around.

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17 Comments

Filed under 2011 Canadian Election, Conservative Party of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada, NDP, Polls

17 responses to “NDP… WTF?

  1. Greg

    It gets worse. John Duffy in the Globe said that Nanos had the Liberals at 17.5 last night.

  2. Good grief. We’re in traditional NDP territory! 🙂

  3. hitfan

    I haven’t paid to the election as of late, so I’ve been out of the loop.

    The NDP have polled into this territory before I recall in ’88 when they were within an earshot of beating Mulroney. But a strong debate performance by Turner turned the Liberal fortunes around and the Libs increased their seat count (though still losing the election). But the NDP had the greatest number of MPs they ever elected after that election.

    These polling numbers may be artificially high for the NDP and artificially low for the Liberals. There were even some outlier polls in ’00 that showed Stockwell Day within striking distance of forming government as well.

    There is still a week left and the NDP may be peaking a bit early. Time will tell.

  4. UU4077

    If you want to check out some fairly intense and reasoned analysis (if such is possible) of all polls released by the various polling companies, check out http://threehundredeight.blogspot.com/

  5. jkg

    Thanks, Hitfan for finally raising this point about the ’88 election. The National Citizen’s Coalition actually setup an Ontario arm (headed by Finkelstein) and played that NDP “surge” to their advantage by paradoxically going after the Liberals with the intent at inflating the NDP’s prospects. As history showed, that tactic worked. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Conservatives will try to do that again.

  6. I dunno. This surge is coming late in the game. The debates are behind us and, unlike the historical example you cited, there isn’t a clearly decisive issue that would weigh in favour of the Liberals. I don’t know that the popular support will translate into a commensurate number of seats for the NDP on election night, but their showing will be impressive, I’m quite certain of that.

  7. jkg

    Personally, though, I kind of would like to have the NDP as the opposition and just see how well they stick to their principles, assuming of course that they haven’t already reversed themselves before.

  8. jkg

    Well, the key thing in ’88 was that the NDP surged ended up protecting the Conservatives electoral fortunes. I think this is what it is going to happen here. If the tradeoffs are in ridings already written off by the CPC, it will be a just a shuffling of chairs, while the CPC will attempt to leverage that vote split in ridings where they have a chance. At best, the NDP surge will probably serve as a buffer or stop gap measure while the CPC gambles for their majority.

  9. Savant

    So why hasn’t the Liberal campaign been able to handle the onslaught of the NDP?

    Because the Liberals have repeatedly ignored the NDP, blindly keeping their focus on the Conservatives even though they are now in 3rd place.

    It’s no mystery that the Liberals have become a left-of-center party, so does it really surprise anyone that when you move into that area (left of center) that voters might take a look at the *OTHER* left of center party there?

    The Liberals keep sniping at the Tories, despite the fact that polls show the NDP are stealing 3 votes away for every 1 vote being stolen by the Tories. For whatever reason, the Liberals still don’t recognise that it is the NDP that are the real threat to their party. Or perhaps it is that they have geared their entire campaign around attacking the Tories, and they are unprepared to wage war on two fronts. I don’t know.

    The only consolation is that the NDP number of “I may change my mind on voting day” is sitting at ~30%, which is the highest of all the major parties. So the NDP is the soft vote, and if the Liberals were to launch an all-out assault on the NDP they may be able to clw back some of those votes.

    When 92% of Tory voters say they are ‘certain’ to vote Conservative, perhaps it is time to change your game and go for the sure thing. The NDP are the real threat here, it’s about time the Liberals woke up to that fact.

  10. Dave

    Only thing is, the NDP is not splitting enough votes in Ontario for the Tories, and are threatening Tory seats in the West and certain parts of the Maritimes and Ont. That’s why the Tories started attacking Layton in its ads, and why leaders tours keep hitting Sask.

  11. It will be fascinating to analyze the results in retrospect to figure out “what the hell just happened there?”

  12. hitfan

    I’ll be very surprised if the NDP winds up with more seats than the Liberals. The thing is, is that the Liberal voters might be saying to the pollsters that they’d like to vote NDP (where their sympathies lie, instead of with the milquetoast centrist Libs) but when it comes to marking a vote on the ballot, they’ll take a look at the local NDP candidate and see some University student running and they’ll vote for the safe Liberal anyway.

    Look at what happened to the ADQ in 2007, they had a huge surge and beat the PQ for the official opposition spot while almost beating the incumbent Liberals in Quebec. What happened afterwards was an ADQ caucus composed mainly of weak candidates with giant skeletons in their closet. They were quickly reduced in their seat count in the following election.

    A similar thing happened in Ontario when the NDP actually formed government. Rae tried to move the party to the center, but they had so many constituency groups to appease and the whole “white males need not apply” newspaper ad for a government job (in a time of recession, no less) basically turned blue collar voters towards the Mike Harris camp. Ontario voters have been forever turned off the NDP since then, and that skepticism will definitely carry over in this election.

    So I still predict that the Liberals will beat the NDP in the seat count. BUT–the wild card here is Quebec. Perhaps natural Bloc voters are growing tired of voting for a party that doesn’t bring home the bacon, and those Bloc voters outside of Quebec City will decide to take a chance with a perceived unknown quantity to them–the NDP.

  13. hitfan

    As for Mulroney using the ’88 NDP surge to their advantage, the Conservatives got 43% of the vote that year–such numbers make it mathematically impossible to lose an election in a three party system.

  14. tofkw

    Ekos, Forum and now Nanos today with their daily tracking poll is showing the CPC with LOWER support numbers than they had after the 2008 election. Also Nanos is confirming the trend that the NDP is gaining on the CPC and is within 5% – almost a statistical tie. Nanos is also showing that it’s not just the Libs losing votes, the CPC is now directly bleeding support to the NDP. Also, as if the above isn’t bizarre enough for you, Layton is now ahead of Harper on the Leadership index.

    Any CPC supporters here who are welcoming the NDP surge thinking this is giving you a majority …think again. If you are not getting frightened by these trends, you should be.

  15. trainman

    tofkw,

    The only people who should be frightened by these trends are the Liberals–their party is hurting big time! The NDP surge will never surpass the CPC. Worst case, the CPC will retain a minority government, Stephen Harper and the CPC will once again dominate parliament and out maneuver the NDP opposition, voters will realized that they were sucked in by smiling Jack and his cane and monocle routine, and we’ll all head to the polls in 18 months where Canadians will finally come to their senses and elect a Stephen Harper majority gov’t.

  16. tofkw

    trainman,

    Agreed the Liberals are in serous trouble here, but they seem to acknowledge it – at least from the Liblogs I visit. It’s the Conservative commentators that think all is hunky-dory that are living in denial – including you apparently. The Harper war room has turned all guns blazing towards the NDP now, that tells me the bravado is all bullshit. This is fluid and highly unpredictable now, and they know it.

    I gave my thoughts on why the CPC had gone down from 40% to 35% over the past week over on Steve V’s blog if anyone cares to look. But with the Libs down 7%, it’s clear the orange wave is bleeding CPC voters to the NDP as well. We may yet see the CPC down to 30% by May 2nd – that’s the absolute core vote for Harper, can’t drop more. The remaining 5% consists of the soft votes parked under Harper, not die-hard Conservatives.

    And yes they could go mainly to the NDP. I lived this already in the 1990 Ontario NDP win – there is another dynamic at play here. These CPC-to-NDP swing voters are the ones who voted for Mike Harris AND Jean Chretien.

    I will admit that I still think most likely that Harper is winning, but it sure as hell isn’t a majority, not unless the CPC numbers get back to at least 2008 election levels. And with that I can’t see him surviving as PM past the throne speech. There will be a coalition, but it will not include – nor require – the Bloc. And Iggy will not be PM.

    Yes trainman, you should be concerned.

  17. tofkw

    we’ll all head to the polls in 18 months where Canadians will finally come to their senses and elect a Stephen Harper majority gov’t.

    Just remembered this part. Now you are in fantasyland here. If Harper loses the confidence voted after the throne speech, that’s it. He’s done. You seriously think there will not be calls for a leadership review? Holy fuck!!! When do the Harperbots start putting what’s best for their party ahead of what’s best for Harper?

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