NDP’S NEW STATUS AS SECOND RUNNER HOLDING - April 26, 2011
[Ottawa – April 26, 2011] – For the fifth day in a row, we see a pretty stable voter landscape which would have been unimaginable at the outset of the campaign. The Conservative Party is at 33.9 points, which is down from the outset of the campaign and well short of a majority. Only six points back are the burgeoning NDP supporters at 27.9 while the Liberal Party is stuck at sub-Dion levels at 24.0. The Green Party has lost supporters much earlier than in 2008 (mostly to the NDP) and stand at 6.8. The Bloc Quebecois is at 6.0 points nationally, mired in the mid 20’s in Quebec and on the verge of an electoral implosion. When we adjust our focus to those who are “absolutely certain to vote”, we see the Conservatives having a small but significant boost, with the Green Party eroding further.
In looking at this dramatically different voter landscape, the survey gives some important insights as to how this has occurred and what it might mean as we head into the final days of the campaign. The Conservatives have been fairly stable throughout the campaign and continue to do very well in the West, with males, and with older voters. The Conservative voter is far more enthusiastic and committed than other voters and this should provide a slight premium for the Conservatives on Election Day. It is, however, notable that as the campaign has evolved, we now find firmer resolve and commitment among those supporting various alternatives to the Conservatives.
At the outset of the campaign, commitment and enthusiasm were linked to those who were most comfortable with the direction of the Conservative government. The lower commitment associated with those who were unhappy with direction of the government was linked to what some had called voter suppression. This suppression of interest and likelihood of voting seems to have dissipated over the campaign and we find, particularly among the recently swollen NDP ranks, a newfound enthusiasm and commitment to actually vote. This may be an important new dynamic to this campaign and, apart from the less committed Green Party, we see most other supporters fairly resolved now.
The NDP has captured new voters from across the political spectrum in a remarkably eclectic fashion. Looking at how 2008 voters have migrated, we see the Conservatives almost entirely intact whereas the NDP is now an amalgam of defected Conservative, Liberal, and Green supporters. In particular, the NDP surge has been driven by a wholesale transfer of Bloc Quebecois supporters in Quebec. If the NDP is the clear winner to date in Campaign 41 (and they have literally doubled their support which may be unprecedented) the hapless Bloc Quebecois are the flip side of this success. Their hegemony of Quebec federal politics has collapsed and they are now plumbing historical depths having sunk below 25 points. Their support is also concentrated among younger voters who may be less likely to vote. The NDP is doing best with women (who they now lead nationally and with voters under the age of 45). They are doing well in virtually all regions of the country and now have a constituency which most resembles the centre of Canada demographically and geographically.
Despite this remarkable growth, the NDP is still the party which commands the highest score on second choice and their ceiling defined by first and second choice is now over 54 points, well ahead of the Conservatives and Liberals who are at 41 and 40 respectively. The new question of the campaign is whether the NDP ascendance is real or a blip and the answer now is clearly the former. Indeed, the NDP may well have further room to grow.
The Liberals have basically languished around the same levels over the campaign, perhaps with a gentle slide downward. They have surrendered their prospects of winning and now look destined to lose opposition status. Their best prospects by far lie in Ontario where they are only 5 points off the lead. The goals for the Liberals may now be to try and recapture second place and, with the newfound strength of the NDP, challenge a diminished Conservative authority in the next Parliament. There is, however, little in recent trends or underlying fundamentals to suggest that the Liberals will be successful in their efforts and ominously for them, the NDP is not only growing in Ontario, but showing a sharp spike up in second choice, which suggests Ontario voters may be considering jumping on the orange bandwagon.
Click here for the full report: full_report_april_26_2011