Sunday, April 08, 2007

Subtle movement

There's been no lack of talk about the latest SES poll in general and the Quebec results in particular. But one interesting part of those results seems to have escaped notice so far: the Libs' Quebec decline combined with a boost for the NDP has closed the gap between the parties to only 5 points (18% to 13%). And it's worth examining the implications if those numbers are an accurate reflection of Quebec public opinion - which seems fairly likely, particularly given that other polls have also shown the gap narrowing or even being eliminated entirely.

First, the NDP's gain makes it more likely that (as suggested by Nik Nanos) the Libs' drop was based on recent negative press based on the sponsorship scandal and the Cons' attack ads, rather than approval for the Cons based on the federal budget. After all, if the movement was based on the budget, one would expect the NDP to lose ground as well, while the Bloc would presumably stand to gain for its support of the budget. Instead, the movement seems to be toward "anyone but the Libs".

Which leads nicely into the second point worth noting, as the NDP's rise suggests that it's already seen by a significant number of voters as a realistic option for those who don't want to put their federalist votes behind Harper. Contrary to the claim that there's no other federalist alternative besides the Cons and the Libs, the NDP is already in a position to compete with the Libs. And any continued growth for the NDP, combined with the party's recent wave of star candidate possibilities, should put the NDP in a strong position to turn its support into Quebec seats.

Update: Jeff has more.

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