So apparently, according to Eric at 308.com, the NDP are being crushed to somewhat tiny pieces everywhere in Canada except Quebec, where they're riding relatively high for their party. According to his aggregate projections, the NDP, if there was an election held today, would win something like 15.5% of the vote, and 21 seats - a total reversion back to their 2004 results.
Let's pop open that champagne! Who wants a merger now, eh? Eh!? Aside from that stupid Cat...
If this is reality - and I'm not saying it is, because even though I find Eric's methodology to be the best, there are conflicting projections out there - then it shows that the Liberals have scored one of our bigger goals in the run-up to the next election, that being the ability to squeeze votes out of the fourth party. The saying that "we're the only true alternative to Harper" seems to be working to some degree on Dipper voters, and now we have some proof of it. I always did suspect that this election would see the NDP become victims of strategic voting once again, but our pre-writ polls are reflecting the trend earlier than I thought. That could mean a few things, but I think strategic voting is the most plausible explanation, unless everyone wants to get into NDP policies, or lack thereof.
The problem is, of course, that it isn't getting us very far. For all the squeezed Dipper vote we have, and I think we could probably jump up to taking between 25-30% of their vote away (roughly 5% in total pop. vote terms), it leaves us short of what we need to take in order to topple Harper. This is because roughly 35% of the electorate seems happy to stick with Harper, and little vote trading between the Conservatives and the Liberals means those voters will continue to give Harper his 130+ seats, while we're mired around 90 seats. That right there is a problem.
It's also a problem for coalition advocates, because as the NDP starts dropping and we rise with their moved votes, any coalition starts to become impossible (at least, without the Bloc). Obviously its not hard to point out that 96 + 21 = less than what Harper's got. A coalition would rely on more votes being traded between Liberals and Conservatives than actually are. Which is why I'm surprised not to see coalition advocates saying how we shouldn't be taking votes away from the NDP.
So, we're kind of stuck, it seems. I'm glad that Dippers are starting to see the light - that the Liberals are the only ones who can really give effective opposition to the Harper regime - but we definitely need more. Specifically, we need to get that 35% down some. Things like Pucapab are exactly what we need to be doing, but even more so in English Canada ('tis where all those voters for us are). Hopefully we push it into overdrive as that budget deadline starts to loom.