Thursday, April 21, 2011
The NDP Has Gone Viral in Quebec
I woke up this morning to see confirmation in two polls that with regard to voting intentions in the upcoming federal elections Quebecers have gone viral in their support of the NDP.
You need to know that the Quebec population is very closely knit. I'm not exaggerating when I say that there is only three degrees of separation. Changes in attitudes can occur quite rapidly.
What's happening right now reminds me of the June Quebec by-elections in 2002 when the ADQ won three out of four seats up for grabs and got 45% of the populate vote. Unfortunately for the ADQ viral epidemics reach their peak and eventually fall off quickly. One year later, the party received only 18% of the vote.
Consequently, as we know all to well timing is everything and it looks like the NDP has hit the perfect storm.
On Thursday morning, Quebecers woke up to the news of the polls. By Thursday afternoon the great provincial wide trek to visit the extended family during the Easter long weekend began. Across the province, hundreds of thousands of families are getting together and without question there will be considerable talk about the federal election. Quite often an influential family member will come and say who he or she is voting for, and this gesture tells other family members who are less inclined to invest the energy to make up their own mind on how they should vote.
Consequently, there can be a domino effect and with only a week to go during the campaign there might not be enough time to get the genie back into the bottle.
The important question to ask is how much further will the ascension continue before it tops out. At 35%, the NDP could win about 10 seats, but at 40-45% they could end up with the majority of seats in Quebec, 40-50.
This would change the power dynamics in Canada completely since it would probably put the NDP as the opposition, with the possibility that they could lead a coalition government with the Liberals. For this to occur, people in B.C. and in the greater Toronto region would need to take notice and to vote strategically. This way those who are motivated to vote against the eventuality of a Harper majority would vote strategically for the NDP instead of for the Liberals, a complete reversal of historic strategic voting trends.
Suddenly, what was a Seinfeld general election, a story about nothing, might become a historic event.