Enter Jack Layton
OK, so the buzzards are really circling after the Bloc's Big Setback in Monday's election. Now even the NDP says they can muscle in on a piece of the action!
Layton told about 100 NDP supporters on Saturday that the rise of the ADQ was spurred by a rejection of the province's two "old" parties.
Erm - well, yes, Mr. Layton, but they rejected them for the ADQ - which, in case you haven't noticed (and apparently you haven't), is approximately nothing like the NDP.
To be fair, though, I guess there's nothing that really tells us how many ADQ votes were simple protest votes. Some of those that were simple protest votes may indeed have been from hard-core left-wingers tired of voting PQ. But I guess the more likely hope for Jack Layton and the NDP is that the votes for the Liberals and the PQ were actually inflated this time around by left-wing voters who would have jumped ship to the NDP had it been around. In other words, Layton is hoping that the disillusionment with the Liberals and the PQ/Bloc is actually higher than measured and extends left as well as right.
He may be right about that. But I would find that position more convincing if there were evidence that voter turnout were lower than usual - and it wasn't.
Each of the three major parties won nearly one-third of the popular vote, easily the closest three-way split in Quebec electoral history. Voter turnout among those eligible was 71.28%, a marginal difference from the previous general election in 2003.
So all of those jumping ship did so for an explicitly right-of-center party. There's no evidence that leftists staying home in protest contributed in any way to the poor showings of the two "old" parties. In conclusion, I don't think there's much cause for Layton's optimism, and he will be wasting party resources trying to build up a base in Quebec.
But hey, let him waste! I don't think advertising probably plays much of a role in recruiting NDP voters anyway. You pretty much have to already be a believer in this particular religion to vote for that crap! No one is under the impression that the NDP is "harmless," or that they "don't really mean it." Besides, if I'm wrong and Layton's right and there are votes for the NDP to be had in Quebec, they're certainly not going to hurt the ADQ's base! Naw - at best he'll just end up siphoning even more votes from the Liberals and the Bloc - not to mention exposing the fact that one or both parties turns out to be even weaker than they already seem. That can only be a good thing for Stephen Harper.