But I digress. 308.com recently did a small investigation into the history of the New Democrat's vote in Quebec since its inception in 1962 under Tommy Douglas, all the way through to 2008. Right away, you can spot an easy trend coming out of the results:
There are three obvious spikes: 1965 under Douglas, who reached 12% and no seats; 1988 under Broadbent at 14.4%, which didn't result in a seat then, but soon after in a by-election, the Dippers had their first seat, Chambly, held by Phil Edmonston; and of course, 2008 under Jack Layton, who won the riding of Outremont in a by-election a year earlier, and held it this time.
So the question is, what will the next results be for the NDP in Quebec? The closest historical comparison is with Douglas' rise from '62 to '65, when they went from 4% to 12% - exactly like Layton. They then suffered a drop back down to 7%, when Trudeau came in, and the NDP lost votes. The same is possible in the next election, granted that the Liberals get their act together. I call this the "trend" theory.
Or will the polls prove true, and the NDP will hold their 12% and possible attain more? Most recent polls have the NDP fairly competitive in the province, anywhere from 11% to 15% - not bad results at all. With these results, it's most likely that project models, including 308's, would forecast the riding of Gatineau, which nearly went for the NDP in 2008, as their newest seat. I call that the "political base" theory.
Or, will the next election prove that the NDP, while certainly gaining in support, has only done so because of a drop in other more acceptable alternatives - aka, Liberals and Bloc, and to some extent, the Conservatives, who are all at fairly low amounts in Quebec, especially the former two. This could be proven by the fact that, back in 1988, the NDP were very competitive in many ridings, as noted by 308.com:
But compare their top ridings in 1988 to their top ridings in 2008. The NDP's top five back in 1988 were Témiscamingue with 38% (but they had 10% in Abitibi-Témiscamingue in 2008), Chambly in Montérégie with 32% (now 14%), St-Maurice in Mauricie with 30% (now 8%), Abitibi with 26% (now 8%), and Jonquière with 21% (now 5%).Yet, while in 1988, the NDP had almost 4 ridings with nearly 30% support, in 2008, they only had two - Outremont and Gatineau, which you can explain through Mulcair and Boivin's presence. The next two top ridings in 2008 - Hull--Aylmer and Westmount--Ville-Marie - can also be explained by the presence of two heavyweights, Pierre Ducasse and Anne Lagace-Dawson. Not exactly supportive of solid NDP support, right? I call this the "fluke" theory.
I think all three are perfectly valid ideas, because clearly, NDP support in Quebec on the rise it is now has to be explained by something. Can the NDP cement itself as a proper federalist alternative, or will it follow Québec Solidaire's sovereigntist route in some way? What do you think?