Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The NDP Trickle-Down Effect

As of today, eight of the ten provinces in Canada, including three of the five provinces to hold elections this year, and including two provinces who could hold elections this year - have had some polling done since the May 2nd federal election.

Why does this matter, you say? Aside from general curiosity surrounding the possible trajectories these provinces could take, there's the fact of the huge, earth-shattering results that occurred on May 2nd, which vaulted the formerly perennial (but still Opposition) third-party New Democrats ahead of the Liberals for the first time, though lost out to the Conservative majority which also followed in the wake.

The question is - has there been a trickle down effect? The answer: yes, there definitely has been.

The biggest effect of the trickle-down from the rise in popular support for the federal NDP can be seen in Atlantic Canada - which, ironically, saw the Liberals hold more ground than other provinces on May 2nd. Nevertheless, here is what the polls were saying before the May election:

New Brunswick (March 7, 2011):

PC: 58%
LIB: 27%
NDP: 8%
GRN: 6%

Prince Edward Island (March 8, 2011):

LIB: 62%
PC: 28%
NDP: 11%
GRN: 2%

Newfoundland and Labrador (March 7, 2011):

PC: 73%
LIB: 18%
NDP: 8%
GRN*: 1%

Nova Scotia  (March 8, 2011):

LIB: 35%
NDP: 34%
PC: 26%
GRN: 4%

Hunky-dory, no? As can be seen, three of the four provinces were utter locks for the PCs (NB, NL) and Liberals (PEI), while the incumbent NDP were facing a tough challenge from the Nova Scotia Liberals. Furthermore, all second-place parties were second place by comfortable margins; the lowest was in NS, where the PCs lagged behind the NDP by 8%. In the other three provinces, the NDP were small fry compared to the Official Opposition party, be it Liberal or PC.

Then we come to the most recently released polls, again from Corporate Research Associates - changes in the brackets:

New Brunswick:

PC: 56% (-2%)
LIB: 20% (-7%)
NDP: 20% (+12%)
GRN: 1% (-5%)

Prince Edward Island:

LIB: 51% (-11%)
PC: 35% (+7%)
NDP: 13% (+2%)
GRN: 2% (=)

Newfoundland and Labrador:

PC: 57% (-18%)
LIB: 22% (+4%)
NDP: 20% (+12%)
OTH: 1% (=)

Nova Scotia (June 7, 2011):

NDP: 42% (+8%)
PC: 31% (+5%)
LIB: 22% (-13%)
GRN: 4% (=)

To make a point of it, among all four provinces, the average rise in NDP support was 8.5%, more than just your standard blip on the radar screen.

Next, head to Ontario where the situation in the last two Nanos and Ipsos polls before the May election averaged out to this:

PC: 41%
LIB: 35%
NDP: 16.5%
GRN: 6.5%

The two Nanos and Ipsos polls after the election come to this:

PC: 40.5% (-0.5%)
LIB: 34% (-1%)
NDP: 19.5% (+3%)
GRN: 5.5% (-1%)

Not the crazy swings you see in Atlantic Canada, to be sure, but a 3% increase is nothing to scoff at, especially for the usually downtrodden Ontario NDP.

Moving out further west, to Alberta, where our most recent poll comes into play. But first, here's what polls were saying before May 2nd:

PC: 34.5%
WRA: 28.5%
LIB: 21.4%
NDP: 11.5%
OTH: 4.1%

And our most recent poll says:

PC: 33.5% (-1%)
WRA: 28.6% (+0.1%)
LIB: 15.1% (-6.3%)
NDP: 14.7% (+3.2%)
OTH: 8.1% (+4%)

While the Dippers don't make the largest gains (that's 'others' aka the Alberta Party), they do tick up just over 3% - again, nothing to scoff at.

The larger quagmire, of course, is in Quebec, where there is no provincial NDP affiliate, but they do have orange-ish cousins in Quebec Solidaire. But despite the huge NDP gains on May 2nd, the QS haven't moved a heck of a lot, if at all, staying mired around 10% of the vote.

However, there is a cavaet; Quebec pollsters show that Francois Legault's Mystery Party (coming soon! and yes, I know it has a name) would wipe the floor with the traditional PQ and PLQ, winning 33% of the vote (from nothing), compared to the Pequiste's 21% and the Liberal's 20%, with the ADQ at 11% and QS at 9%. That right there could, possibly, be called "trickle-down," though I prefer to think of Quebecker's malaise with their current political spectrum as the cause rather than the result of the NDP surge.

Nevertheless, I think this all points to the popular idea now trickling down that the NDP are something useful to bet on outside of Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan (the latter two without new polls as of yet), while the Liberals may be in trouble. But we'll see how far down the effect goes. But it's there, make no mistake about that.


  1. This is something I suspected would happen when I wrote an alternate history NDP-displaces-Libs story.

  2. I don't mean to spoil the ending, but in case anyone was wondering, the end of the story was the Liberals rising again and pushing both the NDP and Conservatives into an endless struggle for second place :P

  3. Hey BO,

    Look at the commissioner of the recent Alberta poll.

    It's the Wildrose. Of course it's going to show the NDP 'gaining strength' and the Liberals losing it.

  4. I know that it was commissioned by the Wildrose, but there is an obvious trend in other provinces that, in the most recent polling done by a company in Alberta, is showing - therefore, I'd feel relatively safe about the results, even if it was touched by Smith. Besides, it's in the WRA's interests to have polling benefiting themselves, not the NDP or the Liberals, and definitely not the Alberta PCs. This poll is similar to older ones, which despite its source makes me feel its legit.