Interesting in that the Conservatives are getting very worried about the NDP collapse (and I hadn't heard about the poll with the 10% result for the NDP until now):
The Tory nightmare now is the fall of the NDP.
"That's where I'm actually worried, frankly — from a strategic perspective, that's what I'm watching," said Alexandre Meterissian, a conservative strategist with Montreal firm Hatley Strategy Advisors. "The collapse of the NDP is a big problem for the party."
Meterissian in particular is concerned about a Mainstreet Research Poll published Nov. 14 that had the Liberals with a comfortable lead and the NDP down at 10 per cent, barely ahead of the Green Party. That was an unusually bad poll for the New Democrats but Meterissian said there is a downward trend for the party and leader Jagmeet Singh, who is struggling with caucus discontent and communications problems.
Meterissian said the Conservatives need to figure out how to attract NDP voters in Quebec and northern Ontario, because otherwise those votes will all go to the Liberals.
So what you are saying is that it is a bad thing for the NDP to do well because it would put the Conservatives in power?
This may not be true actually. If the Conservatives are relying on the NDP it does not mean they are in contention. However, the collapse of the NDP could be the difference between a respectable opposition for the Conservatives and a massive Liberal majority.
We are still far enough from voting day but there is a reasonable chance that the NDP is in deep trouble. As I have warned in the past these numbers can be discounted somewhat as the NDP is more spread out than it was historically. When Audrey McLaughlin was around the party got just under 7% and held nine seats. It had just about nothing in Atlantic Canada and nothing in Quebec in terms of support. It was concentrated somewhat due to those holes. Today the party has low levels of support in Atlantic Canada, not enough to get seats but considerable wasted votes. Quebec could end up in the same position. This means that the party could lose party status with a much higher but more evenly distributed vote. With a number not running again we would be looking at a very low number of surviving strong candidates. Of greater concern is if the Conservatives poll low - some polls have them in the 20s and Bernier polls a couple points, the Liberals could get a massive majority. It is possible that the NDP should also be concerned about a low Conservative vote as well. In this perfect storm the NDP could see a result easily in the single digits.
This would mean that the damage done will be that the next leader may be ignored as insignificant and the NDP could face a generation before they get any significant attention again such that the next leader could start so low that no matter how good that person is, they may have no chance.
But this is not a return to the bad days for the NDP -- it could be much worse than that.
There is also a real possibility that the Greens could hit 10% and get more seats than the NDP with the NDP around 15% due to distribution. In this case, under the current environmental context, it is possible that the Greens could rise over the next few elections choking off the NDP.
Long time New Democrats might see such a scenario as a disaster but effectively if it created an effective real merger between the left and the environmentalist, pushing the Greens to the left, that new version of the Greens could end up being strong enough to contend for power.
With the Greens and the NDP this close together, it is very possible that when Elizabeth May retires that the next Green leader could come from a left-environmental position of both social and environmental sustainability and eclipse the NDP on the way up.
While this is not certain, it is possible that we are seeing the end of the NDP federally as a significant force for the foreseeable.
It is not even certain that this would be a bad thing. A strong NDP would mean that the next generation change in the Greens would result in that party remaining a more rightward, environmental party. A weak NDP would open up the possibility that the Greens could move left and be a more holistic sustainability party.
Alternately, I would be happy to see a new party called the Sustainability Party to come from a formal merger between the NDP and Greens based on the understanding that real sustainability must be both environmental and social. Both types of sustainability rely on the other.
In the present context, if either the Greens or the NDP falter and the other is successful, you would not need a formal merger to get an effective merger, although a former merger would speed up the process.
I believe such a party could win and more importantly make the changes we need.
Alternatley this might be the darkest days of the Singh leadership and he could perform better than expected in the next election. The difference between the two scenarios may be extremely narrow and be decided by very little.