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New poll shows the challenge for the new Liberal leader

The National Post released an Ipsos-Reid poll yesterday, and it shows that a lot of the anti-Harper vote has and continues to coalesce around the NDP:

According to the poll, which asked Canadians who they would vote for if an election occurred today, the NDP under Thomas Mulcair would receive 38% of the popular vote, up three points since last month. (That’s also well up from the 2011 election, when the NDP finished second with 31% of the vote.) The governing Tories would receive 35% of the vote, down two points since last month (and also down from the 40% they attained to win a majority government last year.) Support for the Liberal party, now heading into an unpredictable leadership race that won’t include its current leader Bob Rae, is also shaky. The party would get 18% of the vote, down one point from its showing in the 2011 election.

Some main points from that poll is that the NDP has taken the lead in Ontario, has a solid lead in Quebec, leads the Liberals in Atlantic Canada, and is neck and neck with the CPC in both BC and Manitoba/Saskatchewan. The pollster offered the following assessment:

Ipsos Reid president Darrell Bricker said in an interview Friday that the findings are part of a significant trend which shows Canadians are becoming more polarized around key issues such as the economy, the role of government, and taxes. He said left-wing, “progressive” voters are now coalescing around the political voice that offers the strongest opposition to Harper’s government. “That’s what’s happening now for the NDP,” said Bricker. “We’re seeing that there is an opposition emerging. People who are against Harper figure that they have the best chance of defeating them, and that’s where they are going.”

The bolding from the last part of the quote is mine. This poll continues to offer evidence that Mulcair’s statements on the tarsands being pushed with abandon to the detriment of the manufacturing sector in Canada has not hurt him anywhere except in Alberta. It appears a lot of Canadians agree with him (and I daresay a lot of Liberals do too). I’d hope the LPC and the new Liberal leader realizes that and doesn’t try to attack him on that front, either from the economics side of it, or with the even more dubious “national unity is threatened because he’s attacking Alberta” claim.

It also highlights the challenges that the new Liberal leader will face; that new leader needs to give progressive voters a good reason to vote for the Liberals if they want to beat Harper – rather then the NDP. Mulcair’s performance as Official Opposition leader has been very good so far – very credible to Canadians as multiple polls in the last couple of months have suggested. It will have to be more then just “here’s a new face, you can vote for us now”, and it will also have to be some other strategy then hoping both the CPC and NDP will crash and burn by the time the next election rolls around.

The Liberal Party will not be picking their new leader until April 2013. I think when it is looked back, this lengthy delay in when to pick the new leader will be deemed a mistake. Whatever the reason was – fear of the new Liberal leader being defined by attack ads from the CPC, or giving more time for potential candidates to organize, etc – it’s apparent the NDP decision to immediately pick a leader and not be scared of what the CPC might say about them was the way to handle this.

1 comment to New poll shows the challenge for the new Liberal leader

  • Jordan

    When a party has no permanent leader and does nothing to set itself apart from the official opposition it’s no wonder they can’t make gains.

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