Friday, April 08, 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.


Tof KW said...

NDP, Green, and yes Bloc voters too, all have a big decision to make this election.

Do you want Harper to continue as PM, or not.

Voting NDP, Green or Bloc is a vote for more Harper.

Voting Liberal is the only way to change that.

Your call Dippers, Greens and PĂ©quistes.

Steve V said...

Nanos shows Bloc vote stable, not spectacular, EKOS shows a downward trend, as have some others.

Kirk said...

I was going to point out that "the NDP came 2nd to the Cons..." etc. while thinking of the Prairies then I checked the numbers, no seats in SK., 3 in Manitoba and only 1 is vulnerable to the Cons (Elmwood-Transcona). There's also the AB seat where they edged out the Cons.

So, only a possible 2 seat gain for the Cons on the Prairies due to a NDP slump.

They came a close second in Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar (SK) but no where else on the Prairies did they come within 10% on the winning candidate.

No real signs of the Liberals being able to gain on the Prairies do to a NDP slump but then they only got 9.2% of the vote in Winnipeg-North in the 2008 election which they then won in the by-election.

Steve V said...

I know the Cons think they can use gun registry to pick off NDP seats, but the gaps in some of these seats suggests otherwise. There are very few pickups available for the Cons if NDP collapse. This is why the Cons prefer a strong NDP vote, because the vote splitting really hurts the Libs in Ontario in particular.

Kirk said...

Looking at last elections results, I see 3 seats in BC where the Liberals could gain from an NDP slump and reduced vote splitting and 2 seats where the Libs are so noncompetitive the Cons would gain.

Might help the Libs keep a few close seats in BC though.

So overall in the West an NDP slump could mean a 4 seat gain for the Cons and a 3 seat gain for the Libs with some vulnerable BC seats remaining in Liberal hands that might have otherwise gone Conservative.

I'll let others examine the other half of the country and I'll ignore that it's all just polling numbers.

Kirk said...

OK, immediately changing my mind I looked at the NDP seats in Northern ON.

In only one did the Cons place second to the NDP (Sault Ste. Marie) in all the others the Liberals came second though some were a 3-way race where if the Libs and NDP both bleed votes to the Cons they could get some pick ups.

So unless the Cons are expecting big "gun registry" votes in Welland then I agree with you Steve that there's not much for the Cons in that issue in Ontario.

Of course the Cons don't need a lot of seats to tip into a majority.

I think the biggest issue with the NDP is that they have moved enough towards the mythical center that they are really just not worth the vote that might move them from the 4th place party in Parliament to 3rd place party. The Liberals and even the Cons could absorb (or at least undercut) large parts of the NDP agenda without even being seen to have shifted to the "left".

Steve V said...

There are many seats the Cons win in Ontario because of a strong NDP vote.

There are also a couple seats in Manitoba in play for the Libs, if NDP slips.

I'll say it again, there is a REASON the Conservatives prefer a strong NDP vote, which speaks volumes about just who benefits and who doesn't.

Steve V said...


That's what I meant about gun registry, some of these seats, they are so far back, distant third, they have no realistic hope.

I think another way to look as well, go see the Con seats in Ontario, where a strong third NDP has split the vote. It's a factor.

I hear you on the majority angle, he doesn't need much. I would add, the Atlantic Canada numbers also suggest they might be doing much, much better in NFLD, a key consideration.

Steve V said...

I'd also like to throw the potential for a Green erosion into the mix. Just my gut as well, doesn't feel like they are getting much traction this time out, 2008 might be a high water mark.

Dame said...

This what makes us hopeful and the final count of votes TOTALLY UNPRDICTABLE ... all the known polls can look as foolish predictions .and I really hope it will happen.
finally the sleepy people may see the light smarten up and vote accordingly..
what the freeking hell May really thinks????/ unbelivable stupid ./

Steve V said...


Well that's the thing, when the votes start being counted, we could see some real surprises. Actually, almost every election, everyone seems surprised :) I see a real fluidity here...

Tof KW said...

Dame, I think May is just hoping she can win her own seat at this point. No delusions on her part about doing better than this. Delivering the 1st true win for the Greens would be big and could guarantee she stays on as party leader a few more years.

A loss and she's gone with the next leadership review. May just hung on and survived the last review, so a loss to Lunn now would pretty much cement the end for her time holding the reigns.

Kirk said...


I see the following seats where the Libs placed a close second to the Cons and could benefit from picking up NDP votes:


Nova Scotia 1

NB 2 (but one's a stretch)

Quebec skipped because so much has changed their if you believe the polls.

ON 12 (but 7 are really big stretches) so let's say 5 with 3 seats won by the NDP where the Libs placed 2nd but two of these are big stretches for the Libs.

MB 0

SK 0

AB 0

BC 3 (as already mentioned)

Of course it all depends how big of a shift you want to project and how much you think past predicts future.

Ignatieff needs to impress with the debate and Harper needs to look like he'll lead another minority Parliament then the question becomes who do you want to lead a minority Parliament... Harper who has put us through so much crap since 2004 (forget starting at 2006) or Ignatieff who will work with others and even with Layton whom so many have a good opinion.

bubba said...

the demographics are looking real good for the conservatives. the numbers we talked about several threads back are looking close. CPC 41 LIB 33 NDP15 bloc 8 green 3. A slim con majority or 2-3 seats shy. and a strong opposition. All parties can reset evaluate leadership and do it again in 3-4 years. biggest plus would be a shrink in bloc #s

Kirk said...

Just to beat this point to death...

There are only 2 NDP seats in ON where the Cons came a close second. Sault St. Marie and Welland. Libs were too far back in the Sault to benefit from a NDP slump but Welland was a 3-way race and while the Cons were 0.6% back of the NDP the Libs were only 5% back.

Liberals need to win votes generally but then wasn't there supposed to be a 2 election strategy anyways?

Tof KW said...

bubba, you're looking at data from 2 weeks ago. All the major pollsters (H-D, Nanos, EKOS, Leger) are now showing CPC leads of only 7-10 points, and a real horserace in Ontario. Those Ontario numbers should frighten the CPC, because the NDP is slipping and Libs are now in a statistical tie with the CPC. That means more LPC pickups in ONT due to reduced vote-splitting.

Everyone is now reporting the CPC majority is very unlikely unless Harper picks up his stagnant campaign performance.

Steve V said...

"Liberals need to win votes generally but then wasn't there supposed to be a 2 election strategy anyways?"

That was my realistic strategy. I still contend about 10-15% we can win a minority.

Tof KW said...

I'll second Steve's chances. My own bold prediction at the start of this election (at another blog) when the CPC was polling at 43% was around:

LPC -90
NDP -30
BQ -50
Other -3

I'm pretty close now, but the pollsters say the NDP is being squeezed & BQ is soft, and it looks like if the vote were held today (according to Knowlton-Hill projector):

LPC -93
NDP -26
BQ -46
Other -1

If Iggy does well in the debates, and when (not if) Harper is hammered with "Liar, Liar" by Gilles (re: coalition 2008 vs. 2004) watch for the LPC's numbers to begin to eat into the CPC's soft votes in the Maritimes, QC and ONT.

Grits actually have a slim shot here to dislodge Harper if things keep going the way they are.

Omar said...

Without a majority Harper is done. That's why he isn't shy about saying the word now. It's majority or bust for him. Another minority for his contemptuous government cannot (and should not) be supported by any of the opposition parties. Without his coveted majority Harper is as good as dislodged.

Omar said...

Oh, and I think them getting 144 seats is dreaming in technicolour. I am even going to happily predict they don't even make the 135 seat mark. Liberal minority! Huzzah!

Jerry Prager said...

In the end it will come down to Harper yes or no, where ever you live, so if a riding is NDP or Con, that's where the vote will go, and the majoritarian "tyranny" of liberal/democrat voters will be visited on Harper, one way or another. And the young will tip the balance.

Kirbycairo said...

It seems to me that the apparent weakening of the NDP vote is surely partly a result of many NDP voters who, despite not being impressed by the policy differences between the LPC and the CPC, are deeply concerned by the radically anti-democratic and anti-constitutional tendencies of this present government. I for one don't think the Liberal Party is nearly as different from the CPC on many policy issues as I would like to see. However, Harper's attack on the Constitution and the House of Commons has frightening implications for the future of this country. And for all of Ignatieff's faults, I don't think he is seeking, or would seek, to attempt to undermine the basic democracy of the nation. It is in this light that I think many NDP voters are simply weighing the prospects for the future and thinking a vote for the LPC could actually save the nation.

Steve V said...


I think it fair to say the differences are much more pronounced than in the last year, which is making it easier for certain voters to at least flirt with voting Liberal. Whether that shift has also alienated some voters might also be true, because the Cons numbers are still strong, so do we have a situation where Libs dip into NDP at same time Cons dip into Libs.

Jerry Prager said...

Liberals reach down and help people up, Conservatives pass stuff up to their masters. So if Libs are losing voters to Cons, they were never liberals in the first place, just kinder gentler corporatist, and frack the lot of them.

ottlib said...

The Conservatives can only win if the NDP syphons off support from the Liberals. That is how it has been since the days of the CCF.

Inevitably that support moves back to the Liberals when those voters grow tired of the Conservatives and decide to get rid of them.

I am not certain if that sentiment is strong enough this time around but seeing the NDP going down while the Liberals go up is a necessary step to winning the election.

Let us hope that this trend continues and stregthens over the next few weeks and that we begin to see some movement from the Conservatives to the Liberals during the same period.

bubba said...

t of kw sais "bubba, you're looking at data from 2 weeks ago. All the major pollsters (H-D, Nanos, EKOS, Leger) are now showing CPC leads of only 7-10 points," What is 41 33 were be a cheer leader but open your eyes.

Steve V said...

This morning's Nanos shows an alarming drop for the NDP, again Ont and AC:

Never seen this before.

Omar said...

NDP supporters may be flighty, but they're not stupid. The Liberals may not be the best of options for them, but any progressive worth their salt knows Harper has got to go. It would be nice if Bloc supporters came to the same conclusion. If it weren't for the personal popularity of Gilles Duceppe, I think there's a possibility they would.

Omar said...

I'm moving that comment ;-)

Steve V said...

Yes, sorry, basically another post, same topic. I was going to ignore polls today, but the theme is even more pronounced now...