Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Pollcast: The future of the NDP and Tom Mulcair

Tom Mulcair will be fighting for his political life at this weekend's NDP convention in Edmonton. But the decisions the New Democrats have to make about the future of the party go beyond just who they want as leader.

How do the New Democrats position themselves against a Liberal Party trying to crowd them out on the left? Does the path to electoral success lie to the centre or to the left of the political spectrum for the NDP?

Is U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders or UK Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn a model for the NDP to emulate, or cautionary tales?

And what impact could electoral reform have on the NDP?

Joining me to discuss the future of the NDP on the latest episode of the Pollcast is Ian Capstick, founding partner of Mediastyle and an NDP insider.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Manitoba Liberal support slides, PCs gain in new poll

A new poll suggests that support for the Manitoba Liberals is fragile and dropping, but it is the Progressive Conservatives, and not the New Democrats, who stand to benefit most.

The Mainstreet/Postmedia survey, published Thursday morning, shows the PCs holding the lead with 50 per cent support among decided and leaning voters, compared to 24 per cent for the New Democrats, 17 per cent for the Liberals, and 9 per cent for the Greens.

You can read the rest of this article on the new Mainstreet poll here.

Brad Wall's victory cements his place at centre of conservative movement

The reverberations from the Saskatchewan provincial election won't be felt so much in how the results have changed things, but rather in what they have confirmed.

Brad Wall's third consecutive majority victory — in which he nearly matched the record-setting 64 per cent of the vote he captured in 2011 — keeps the Saskatchewan premier at the forefront of the conservative movement in Canada.

And Cam Broten's performance as leader of the New Democrats, who were themselves dealt their worst popular vote showing in the party's storied history in the province, may be the first disappointment in what could be a very discouraging month for the NDP.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Brad Wall wins another majority in Saskatchewan's electoral déjà-vu

Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party was re-elected to a majority government last night, taking over 60 per cent of the vote and sending the NDP leader to defeat in his own constituency.

Apparently, Groundhog Day in Saskatchewan has moved to April.

The results of Monday's provincial election in Saskatchewan were very much like the results of the election that came before it. Strikingly so, in fact.

You can read my parsing of the results here.

Brad Wall poised for another majority victory in Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan provincial election campaign ends just as it began, with the incumbent Saskatchewan Party under Brad Wall enjoying a commanding lead in the polls.

The CBC Saskatchewan Poll Tracker, including all polls published to Saturday, gives the Saskatchewan Party the support of 59.9 per cent of voters, with the New Democrats trailing at 30.7 per cent. The Liberals and Greens are projected to have 4.3 per cent support each.

That is only marginally different from where the numbers stood when the legislature was dissolved on March 8. At the time, the Poll Tracker pegged the Saskatchewan Party to be ahead with 53.5 to 34.5 per cent support.

You can read the rest of this article, my final pre-vote analysis of the Saskatchewan provincial election, here.

(The Poll Tracker will be updated with any new polls published on Sunday. Check here for the latest updates.)


  1. 9 seats for the NDP 52 for the Saskatchewan Party. Broten loses his seat by a slim margin.

    1. Darn I was so very close. I knew Broten was in trouble and sure enough...After watching his concession speech last night, it was very noble and courteous, I was surprised he didn't resign so perhaps he believes the marginal improvements he brought are sufficient to keep him in office? Still, without a seat and only a small caucus he may be forced to step down if he can't find a way into the House.

  2. I wish Wall would run for the CPC leadership.

    1. I don't. He's too western; he wouldn't sell with central Canada.

      A cosmopolitan Quebecker with solid conservative credentials is the way to go.

    2. I highly doubt it. He has no reason to be bilingual.

      I studied French in Saskatchewan schools for 6 years as a kid. I came out the other side speaking and reading effectively zero French.

    3. I agree Ira, Wall is "too Western" besides which after he steps down as premier he'll be offered many very lucrative seats on any number of corporate boards all of which pay far better than leader of the Official Opposition or even prime minister.

      A Cosmo Quebecker sounds good although I'm not so sure many are hanging around in the wings. Besides which Quebec's population and influence relative to the rest of Canada is declining and Quebec's ability to vote en masse for the same party appears to be eroding as well. A Mulroney worked well in '84 but, I'm not sure a contemporary version would be able to pull it off especially without an unpopular PET to run against.

      A new fresh face either Lisa Raitt or Kellie Leitch could appeal to many and would be my pick at the moment. Failing that Peter MacKay is probably the Tories best hope to re-gain lost ground in the Maritimes and among Ontario blue-Liberals who shift between Tories and Grits at elections.

    4. I'm still beating the drum for Maxime Bernier.

      The CPC is never going to sweep Ontario, and I don't think any one party can sweep Québec anymore, but the CPC still needs a leader who can appeal to the winnable parts of those provinces.

      But the CPC also needs to sweep Alberta and Saskatchewan to win, so whenever leader they choose can't spawn the sort of western distrust Peter MacKay would.

      Kellie Lietch isn't a terrible choice, though I worry she was too close to Harper.

      Bernier is a safe bet for the westerners (as he predates the Harper government), but he shouldn't be too scary to swing voters (because his relationship with Harper wasn't good), and he's a francophone Québecker.

    5. I don't think Leitch has much Harper baggage, she was a cabinet minister but was never part of Harper's core team and is best known for her association with Jim Flaherty. It is too bad about Flaherty, if he was still alive I suspect many would be writing about him being the next leader.

      Ideologically Bernier would be a good fit I feel. Holding some seats in Quebec is important but, his whole affair with that Biker Chick scuttled any hope he had to be leader. The optics simply are against him.

      With the way Notley and Trudeau are governing I am not worried about the CPC's ability to sweep the Prairies in 2019. The whole employment insurance debacle in the Edmonton area and Southern Saskatchewan is just bizarre and shows how inexperienced this crop of Liberals really are-one wonders if they should hire a geography tutor for the Cabinet to go with Trudeau's nannies.

      A francophone Quebecker sounds good and certainly both parties have had success with the formula before but, Mulcair should be a warning-he could not keep Quebec nor for that matter could Chretien . Trudeau won roughly half the seats which is the best result for a Liberal since 1980 when his father won 74/75 seats, increasingly though elections are won in Ontario not Quebec. A francophone Quebecker sounds good but, I feel both Canada and Canadians have moved on from the two solitudes approach that characterised Canada-Quebec relations for so much of our history. If anything Canada is becoming more English not less with the arrival of new immigrants, almost none of whom decide to learn French or emigrate to Quebec.

    6. Does anyone even remember Bernier's indiscretion? And, frankly, Hillary's email server makes Bernier look like a paragon of virtue by comparison.

      I'm still supporting Bernier for the job.

      I worry that Leitch will be rememebered, in Toronto, at least, primarily as being the candidate who parachuted in after the Helena Guergis debacle. And she's an outspoken opponent of abortion, which isn't going to fly with a lot of voters.

      A really outspoken libertarian who can establish that social issues are not that important to the party is what I think the CPC needs.

      If there's another such possible candidate other than Maxime Bernier, I'd certainly entertain the notion. But social conservatives or the openly religious are not the way to go.

      And I'm not worried about losing the west over that, either, because western Canada has the highest incidence of self-declared atheists in the country (Alberta ranks third, behind BC and Yukon).

    7. Social conservatives will ensure the parties ruin Ira. Faced with the progressives from all over the country and south of the border it's a clear given the no social progress equals disaster.

    8. Not if the party can marginalize them.

      What some parties try to do (Wild Rose, for example) is just keep the SoCons quiet, but that gives rise to guilt by association.

      The only way forward for these parties is to visibly cut ties with the SoCons, but do so in a way that doesn't alienate other conservatives.

    9. And that's where you make your classic mistake !! Because they are increasing in number as the extreme conservatives are reducing in number.

    10. It pains me to agree with Ira again, but I do - Bernier would be a great choice for the party, as the primary distinction between the Conservatives and Liberals will be on the economy and role of government, not the spurious social issues that we got past decades ago. Bernier would really make that distinction.

      The *only* area where I could see social issues becoming a problem for Bernier is over religious accommodation, mostly around headscarves and snitch lines and so on, which backfired on Harper but plays well in Bernier's neck of the woods.

    11. Many people remember the biker chick the media were all over her a Rideau Hall. Policy wise Bernier may be the perfect fit but, his indiscretion and leaving top secret documents in an non-secure locale will seriously damage Bernier's chances if not negate them entirely.

  3. Boring campaign to put it mildly. Hopefully the Greens get more votes than the Liberals to add something interesting at the end. Also hoping the NDP gets enough seats to be a useful opposition as no matter who you like or not, all parties in power need someone to keep an eye on them.

  4. Is this indicative of the NDP collapse for other than Sask???

    1. Not really, it's the Liberals whose vote is collapsing in Manitoba, that at least helps the MB NDP's chances to retain Official Opposition and at least some sort of silver lining after this all is over. If anything, the MB PCs' spike in voting intentions may well be spillover from the "inevitable" Saskatchewan Party victory next door, not to mention softer MB Liberal supporters who are disenchanted with their party's inept campaign.

    2. Yes Peter. The vote in Saskatchewan culminating in the worst popular vote totals for the NDP in the Party's history are indicative of a much larger narrative of NDP decline throughout Canada. Is it terminal? I don't know. As long as numpty's are running the Party it sure is not promising for the long-term future of the NDP. The NDP's "English Canada problem" as I like to term it runs deep, starting with their constitutional policies and running all the way through to the top echelons of staff and workers in the leader's office.

      One has to go back to 1938 and the CCF to find an election where the CCF/NDP gained a smaller vote share in Saskatchewan. Added to this the leader of the Saskatchewan NDP could not win his seat on Tuesday in the birthplace of his Party and one easily understands why this is not some minor triage but an existential fight for survival.

  5. Why does the poll tracker have the greens at 5% when the two polls being averaged have them at 8 and 9%?

    1. There is an adjustment for the slate of candidates the party is running - they are only at about a 53% slate, so I adjust them downwards.

  6. Saw Mulcair with Peter Mansbridge last night-it is over for Mulcair. I predict he'll win 57% support on Sunday.

    1. I really, really hope you are right Cap

  7. Ira,

    In order to fairly judge Maxime Bernier, you have to look at his record in cabinet. That speaks volumes. He, along with MacKay, had trouble at Foreign Affairs but MacKay rebounded at National Defence.

  8. New Forum poll out today in the Star
    Liberals 51%
    Conservatives 28%
    NDP 12%

    I'm sure Eric will get more but that really shows where the parties are !

    1. Another bad poll and omen for Mulcair going into tomorrow's vote. People keep saying there is "no one in the wings" and "who can do a better job than" (Mulcair)? However, with these numbers confirmed by the monthly polling average-who can do worse? The numbers for the NDP and their leader post-election 2015 have been generally equivalent to what Audrey McLaughlin achieved during the 1993 election. A historically poor showing and result. A new leader should improve the numbers because frankly with Mulcair the NDP are at a low ebb.


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