Poll suggests NDP election day support has solidified

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OTTAWA - The New Democrats appear to have consolidated their support as official Opposition to the Harper Conservatives, a new poll suggests — particularly among women and urban voters.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/06/2011 (4199 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA – The New Democrats appear to have consolidated their support as official Opposition to the Harper Conservatives, a new poll suggests — particularly among women and urban voters.

NDP Leader Jack Layton was still looking for his new House of Commons seat in the 41st Parliament on Thursday when The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey indicated his party is on a roll.

Support for the NDP among the poll’s more than 2,000 respondents stood at 34 per cent, up from the 30.6 per cent of the popular vote New Democrats recorded in the May 2 election.

New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton speaks to reporters following a caucus meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, June 2, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative party was picked by 37 per cent of respondents, down from 39.6 per cent on election day.

The third-place Liberals slipped to 15 per cent in the survey, a loss of almost four percentage points from their voting day total.

“What’s happened is the loyalties of traditional Liberal voters continue to be transferred over to the New Democrats,” said pollster Allan Gregg, the chairman of Harris-Decima.

“We’ve got the New Democrats at an all-time high virtually everywhere except British Columbia right now.”

The two-week telephone survey found the Tories held a significant advantage among men, rural voters and people in the 905 area code ringing Toronto, with Conservative support above 40 per cent in all three categories.

But NDP support among women actually surpassed that of the Conservatives — especially urban and suburban women, where the New Democrats enjoyed a six-point edge, 38 per cent to 32.

Gregg said the reaction of women respondents best illustrates the “wholesale transfer of loyalty” taking place in federal politics.

Liberals, who have traditionally polled in the mid 30s to low 40s among women, are down to 15 per cent, while the NDP is “now touching 40 among female voters.”

Gregg argues the Conservatives have always been known to have a “rock-ribbed kind of base” approaching 30 per cent of the electorate, “but they also had a fairly low ceiling.”

“In this last election they’ve cracked some of that ceiling with things like urban dwellers, females and certainly with new Canadians in a fairly significant way,” said the pollster, “but that anti-Conservative vote or sentiment is out there ….”

That centre-left sentiment appears to be moving behind the NDP, said Gregg, which suggests to him New Democrats “could become the natural opposition party.”

While some pundits have mused about a Liberal-NDP merger, Gregg quipped that “if things keep going like this, the merger will be de facto. There won’t be a Liberal party any more.”

The NDP-Liberal divide was particularly striking in Quebec, where New Democrats won 59 of their record 103 seats on May 2. Harris-Decima put Quebec support for the NDP at 46 per cent, with the routed Bloc Quebecois at 21, the Conservatives at 18 and the Liberals at just 10 per cent.

The poll, conducted May 19-30, has a margin of error on its national numbers of plus or minus 2.1 per cent, 19 times in 20, with larger margins on regional and voter subsets.

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