Analyzing the 'orange crash': What's behind the drop in support for the NDP?
Marlene Leung, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, October 8, 2015 9:58AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 8, 2015 2:03PM EDT
The sudden drop in support at the polls for the NDP has more to do with the dynamics between the Conservatives and the Liberals than it does with the New Democratic Party itself, says one political science professor.
Nelson Wiseman, from the University of Toronto, said this election has ultimately come down to a question of change, and it appears that it's become a two-party race.
Over the past few weeks, support for the NDP has dropped in the polls. On Sept. 24 the NDP had 30.8 per cent support nationally, according to Nanos Research. Just two weeks later, the party has 24.2 per cent support nationally.
"It's dramatic," Wiseman said of the nearly seven-point drop. "It indicates that the NDP are going to lose their position as the official Opposition.
"It's really not in the race to be the government now. We've got a two-way race."
The NDP started to lose support shortly after a debate in Quebec, where the issue of a proposed ban on niqabs during citizenship ceremonies surfaced. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau have both stated their parties are against placing a ban on the facial coverings at citizenship ceremonies.
However, Wiseman said the plunge in support for the NDP has more to do with the other two main federal parties than it does with any particular stance the New Democrats have taken.
"The NDP has really been irrelevant to its own fortunes," he said, adding that this election has really boiled down to a question of change.
Wiseman says Conservative ads suggesting Trudeau isn't ready to lead the country at first seemed to resonate with voters. As a result, he said, they began looking for another alternative, with the NDP being the only other party "left standing."
"This election is about whether people want change or not, so they started to bet on Mulcair," he said.
However, several things happened on the campaign trail that appeared to help shore up Liberal support, including a strong performance by Trudeau at the leaders' debates.
"Mulcair said he'd mop the floor with Trudeau in the debates, that didn't exactly happen," Wiseman said.
As a result, as the Liberals began to rise in the polls, many voters appeared to begin shifting their support back to the Liberals, he added.
Wiseman said as the Oct. 19 election date nears, the NDP will be fighting to hold on to their seats in Quebec, where they continue to have a base of support.