Orange is the new Third

Three polls are setting a new campaign narrative that Orange is the new Third in the federal race.  The NDP, say Nanos, IPSOS, and Leger, are slipping back in the race.

My recent post on polling by Innovative Research Group discussed the “Liberal-NDP primary” taking place with a high number of supporters of each party open to changing their mind.  The Liberals are pulling ahead in this primary at a critical stage of the campaign.

Nanos – 7 consecutive days of downward tracking for the NDP opening an 8 pt gap with Liberals.

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IPSOS – From first to third in a week

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Leger – down 3 nationally and a 4-way race in Quebec with NDP down to 28%.  NDP trailing among both francophones (to the Bloc) and among non-francophones (to the Liberals).

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The NDP may take comfort that the Angus Reid Institute has the NDP and Liberals tied, but both looking up at 7 point deficit with the Conservatives.  And in that case, the NDP shed ten points from August to September while the Liberals are up 3 points and the Conservatives up 4 points.

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What now?

The NDP and Liberals are running ads attacking each other.  The NDP are trying to stay alive; the Liberals are trying to finish off the NDP .  The Conservatives are reclaiming voters from both.  But if the primary is settled, and the Liberals pull away, there will be a two-way race down the homestretch.  Justin can win if the NDP collapses and Orange voters in Metro Vancouver , Ontario and Quebec move over to the Liberals.

What happened?

The NDP have been flat-footed.  They fell into the trap of running a front-runner campaign believing that the Liberals were finished.  Instead, Justin’s audacious move to outflank the NDP on deficits shook up the race.  The Syria migrant issue did not hurt the Conservatives as some might have thought.  Instead, the niqab has turned politics on its head in Quebec putting great pressure on Thomas Mulcair.

Perhaps the ultimate story of this campaign will be the “not ready” advertising.  Deemed as brutally effective in July and August, the ads also set a frame of low expectations which Justin has readily exceeded.  Now, in the home stretch, Canadians will look at Justin and determine if he is in fact ready.  The Conservative ballot question, which the NDP bought into, may rebound back on both of them.  Many pundits mocked the Liberals for taking the ballot question head-on, but it may end up working.

There are still 17 days left in this campaign, but only 7 days before Thanksgiving weekend when families talk politics over turkey.  Like ‘moving day at the Masters’, this is the time that the final pairing will be decided, and it is shaping up to be an epic battle.



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