By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday September 12, 2014
NDP may not be able to stop tide turning against it
There is a tide in Ontario political affairs that does not bode well for Thomas Mulcair’s New Democrats in next year’s federal election. And they may be powerless to reverse it to their advantage.
That tide was instrumental in propelling Premier Kathleen Wynne to the safe ground of a majority government last spring. By all indications, it is again at play in Toronto’s municipal campaign.
It should come as no surprise that a Forum Research poll that suggested Mayor Rob Ford (Open Rob Ford’s policard) was still in the running for re-election — with Olivia Chow running third — was followed by a Nanos poll that showed that John Tory had consolidated his lead on his main rivals.
For scores of Toronto voters, ousting Ford from office this fall comes before loyalty to a political brand.
For obvious reasons, the anybody-but-Ford movement is in a class of its own, as is the incumbent mayor who has inspired it. But last spring’s Ontario election demonstrated that it is not necessary for a politician to make it on the international tabloid circuit to induce voters into coalescing behind the strongest available alternative.
In the provincial campaign, the platform put forward by Tory leader Tim Hudak went a long way to convince many progressive voters to stick with the Liberals rather than risk facilitating a Conservative victory by giving their vote to the third-place NDP.
Transpose those dynamics to the federal level and you will find more than a few progressive voters willing to hold their nose next year if that is what it takes to end Stephen Harper’s reign in power.
To many, the first-place Liberals come across as a safer haven than the third-place NDP, regardless of the comparative skills of their leaders or even their respective policies.
This is a problem that may ultimately be beyond Mulcair’s fixing. (Continued: Toronto Star)