If Justin Trudeau has anyone to thank for a second term, it won’t be Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives, it will be the NDP. A new poll by Mainstreet shows that NDP support is sinking fast and that is helping the Liberals.
Now this poll is big, 9,401 adults living in Canada but it is also an IVR poll, which means you pick up the phone and answer automated questions by pushing buttons but don’t talk to people. While I have my qualms about this style of polling, the sample size should, for the most part, alleviate that.
Nationally it shows Justin Trudeau’s Liberals at 35.9% among all voters while Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives are at 33.3%. Given that Trudeau’s support is so concentrated in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, those national numbers could turn out to be a wild result with the Conservatives able to pick up more seats due to support from Ontario to the West Coast.
But then you factor in the NDP.
Jagmeet Singh and the NDP are at 9.9% among all voters. These numbers change slightly when leaners are factored in but the general proportions do not change much (with leaders and decided voters the results are LPC 40.4%, CPC 37.1% and the NDP at 11.9%.)
Those NDP numbers, if they stay that low, will be key to a Liberal victory.
Scheer and the Conservatives are very competitive with the Liberals but Singh’s NDP is in the toilet in places where they polled well in the last election under Tom Mulcair. In 2015, with Mulcair at the helm, the NDP took 19.7% of the national vote, right within their traditional territory.
At 11.9% nationally now, and that is their best case scenario under this poll, things are looking grim.
While they took 25.4% of the vote in Quebec in the last election they are at 12% there now. In Saskatchewan, a traditional NDP hotbed, the party took 25.1% of the vote in 2015 and in neighbouring Manitoba they took 13.6% but now in both provinces sit at 10.7%.
Even in British Columbia, a province where the NDP is always competitive and where they took 26% of the vote last time, the party is now at 17.3%.
The Conservatives actually lead in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and are competitive in Ontario but the NDP collapse could keep them out of government.
Part of this is due to Jagmeet Singh being a solid dud, a nothing burger but part of it is Justin Trudeau trying to take his party further to the left to erode NDP support because he knows he very well may lose the support of many in mainstream Canada.
There are two new opposition leaders facing Justin Trudeau, one is giving him a real battle while the other is throwing the fight.
If Singh doesn’t do something soon, he may as well just crown Trudeau as champion himself.