Canada Election 2011: NDP Getting Squeezed?

Two weeks into the campaign, I think it fair to wonder if the NDP isn’t getting squeezed out of this election? Both the main parties, for different reasons, are attempting to narrow the election down to two choices. As well, the NDP campaign to date has hardly lit a fuse, many policy announcements are rehash, nothing has really captured imagination. It’s still quite early, but the latest polls confirm a lacklustre campaign, as well as very concerning regional numbers.

Today’s Nanos shows a large national drop for the NDP, down to 14.9%. In fairness, yesterday had the NDP at 17.2%, but even there, problems were masked, the regionals telling a more concerning story. The NDP are doing relatively well in Quebec, which is acting as a national offset to real problems where they are more likely to loss or gain seats. A couple graphs tell a clear story:

Both graphics highlight a firming dynamic. The two main parties doing well concurrently, at the expense of the NDP, the two horse race taking shape. 13% down from 2008 in Atlantic Canada, even more concerning 7% down in vote rich Ontario, a far worse story for the NDP than even the nationals allude to.

EKOS out this morning as well, which pegs NDP support at a concerning 14.5% in Ontario, 20% in Atlantic Canada. As well, both EKOS and Nanos put current NDP support below 2008 in British Columbia, another crucial region. I have noticed the NDP highlighting their rise in Quebec, which is noteworthy, however it is also true that this support is soft, has no history of manifesting itself at the ballot box, and bring little in the way of actual seats, even if the numbers hold. On the other hand, the NDP is bleeding badly where they have to win, a far more important fact.

A huge consideration, if the NDP vote does collapse(early, early days), how that affects vote splitting, who that will benefit. Factor in, as well, a credible argument that the Greens could draw less support this election, these are the underlying moves that have great electoral impact. Of note, EKOS is now showing Green vote erosion, while Nanos has support well below 2008.

I don’t believe any of these observations have anything to do with Liberal partisanship, I see an objective move taking place, that no reasonable person can dispute. I also believe things can still change, Layton remains popular, the NDP have delivered catchy ads, a professional team. However, there is something lacking this time with the NDP, there is no buzz or attraction. Couple this fact with rivals both arguing a similar choice, and one wonders if the polls are starting to show the NDP getting squeezed from the equation. As we move forward, this dynamic may well prove decisive.

Click HERE to read more from Steve Val.

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