Earlier this week, Prince Arthur Herald columnist Brendan Steven outlined the possibility of New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton becoming Canada’s leader of the official opposition. Since the Ipsos Reid poll that Mr. Steven referenced was released, there has been much speculation about the true status of the NDP in the eyes of the Canadian voters. Many wrote off the data suggesting that Layton was ahead of Ignatieff as being a rogue poll. However, new Angus Reid numbers suggest this trend just might be a political reality.
New poll numbers are again looking great for Jack Layton and the NDP. In the latest Angus Reid poll, the NDP is just 5 percent back of the Tories at 30 percent, while Stephen Harper sits at 35 percent support.
The poll was done for the Toronto Star and La Presse.
The Liberals are at the back of the pack with 22 percent, the Bloc at 7 percent, and the Greens at 5.
Those numbers are across the country. However, in Ontario, the Tories have 37 percent support, with the Liberals at 30 and the NDP at 27 percent.
While this particular poll has the Conservatives under their coveted — and now commonplace — 40% threshold, the one thing it’s very clear on is that Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals are hemorrhaging support faster than they would spend taxpayers’ money (okay, maybe not that fast.)
Now, it’s no secret in Canadian politics that the New Democrats do better in opinion polls because people are more idealistic on the phone, and more pragmatic at the ballot box. So, if we can deduce from these numbers that Liberal supporters are so disenfranchised with their party — and most likely, their leader — that they are no longer identifying themselves as Liberal supporters, one of three things is possible:
- They vote Conservative in order to stop Ignatieff from becoming Prime Minister;
- They vote NDP to put Jack Layton in a better power position; or,
- They stay home.
Truthfully, as a supporter of the Conservative Party, any one of those options is appealing. When the Conservatives win this election, Ignatieff will have been the third consecutive Liberal Party leader that Stephen Harper has decimated in the polls. If you throw into the mix the NDP for the first time in history becoming Official Opposition, the Liberal Party will be forced into a pit previously unfathomable to their party.
It may be so that very few people actually want an NDP government, but it is quite clear that the better the New Democrats do on May 2nd, the better a position Stephen Harper is in for moving the country forward.
As an aside, I was speaking with a staunch conservative in a downtown Toronto riding who actually revealed that he will be voting NDP this election simply to block the Liberals from holding onto the seat. This is the sort of strategic voting used to generally destroy the Conservative Party, but may actually serve the Conservatives quite well this time around.