According to a survey conducted by the polling firm Environics, the New Democratic Party is tied with the Conservatives for first place in voter support.
Both parties currently have the support of 30 percent of Canadians (John Ibbitson, “NDP ties Tories in popular support,” Globe and Mail, 21 March 2012):
The last time Environics had the New Democrats in first – in that instance, all on their own – was under Ed Broadbent during the free trade debate in 1987.
The tie has more to do with falling Tory fortunes than growth in support for the NDP. The percentage of the popular vote received by the NDP in the May 2nd, 2011 general election was about the same as their level of support in the current poll, roughly 30 percent, while the Conservatives received about 40 percent of the votes in the election, 10 points more than their current level of support.
Why the big drop in support for the Conservatives? The polling company suggests that poor management of recent issues is behind the decline:
The Conservatives are clearly paying a price for the robo-calls affair, plans to increase the qualifying age for Old Age Security, legislation that would give the government information on individual Internet accounts, and increased uncertainty over the costs of new fighter jets.
These issues “haven’t been managed particularly well,” said Darren Karasiuk, vice-president of corporate and public affairs at Environics.
“And they haven’t been managed well in spite of the lack of solid and stable leadership from the NDP or Liberals. So there’s a disappointment among Canadians – particularly soft Tories – that the promised benefits of a majority haven’t materialized.”
Photo by dave.cournoyer