I don’t want to belabour this one Mainstreet poll showing NDP fortunes sinking, even though if it continues it will help Justin Trudeau win the next election. But in looking up the NDP historical record, I noticed a pattern, they get more votes with old white men at the helm.
I know what you are thinking, that can’t be true, right wingers are the only bigots, if you ignore the Liberal history of racism, and the NDP are nice progressives that support all the right causes.
Well, while I am loathe to say bigotry alone could account for Jagmeet Singh’s drop in popularity compared to Tommy Boy Mulcair, every time the party has a woman or now a man who is also a visible minority as leader, support drops. Could it be NDP voters are not the kumbaya progressives their political masters think?
Mulcair was shown the door after the 2015 election where the party took 19.7% of the national popular vote. While that was a big drop from the 30.63% the party took in 2011, it was right inline with historical norms and as good or better than Saint Ed of Broadbent got in three out of his four kicks at the election can.
Broadbent’s take of the national vote ranged from a low of 17.88% in 1979 to a high of 20.83% in 1988.
Saint Jack of Layton fared little better. Jack had four elections and was in the mid-teens until his big breakthrough, that happened because of Mulcair’s ground game in Quebec. In the 2011 election the NDP won more than 30% of the vote for the first and only time.
But what about when this more progressive of progressive parties has a leader that isn’t an old white man? You know that progressives love to complain and deride old white men and yet the record shows the NDP does better when they are leading the people’s party.
In 1989 the NDP elected Audrey McLaughlin as leader and she took the party from 20% of the vote to 6.88% in the next election. After throwing Audrey overboard the Dippers installed Alexa McDonough in 1995 and two years later she almost doubled the NDP vote, taking them to 11% in the 1997 election.
The luck wouldn’t last and in 2000, McDonough and the NDP dropped back down to 8.5% and she was gone as leader.
Now we’ve got young, handsome, fashion-conscious Jagmeet in his custom suits and voters are not flocking to him or his party. Singh was supposed to be the antidote to Trudeau, in fact Singh is a big reason that Trudeau packed his tickle trunk and went to India on his disastrous photo-op/vacation.
So far, it hasn’t worked.
Earlier I’d dismissed the idea that NDP voters wouldn’t vote for Singh based on his colour or religion and said while a factor, him not being in the House and not being able to answer simple questions might also be major factors.
Having looked at the historical record though, it could just be that NDP voters like old white men and flee anyone else.