A poll just dropped from Angus Reid that I’m sure will get the blogsphere buzzing today. There’s the usual horse-race numbers that are bad for the Liberals and their leader, nothing new there. That’s a drama for another day. No, what’s interesting is they also polled how a potential Liberal/NDP merger would fare.
Led by Michael Ignatieff, it found the electoral result with a merger would be pretty much the status-quo, hampered, says the pollster, by Ignatieff’s personal unpopularity:
However, led by Bob Rae it’s a different result, with a dead-heat and a shot at government, depending on the regional break-downs:
Apparently, says the pollster, Bob’s popularity in Ontario would be a difference-maker:
The prospect of a centre-left merger—similar to the one that allowed the Conservative Party to challenge and ultimately break the Liberal hegemony—is not greeted with the same enthusiasm by voters when the leader is revealed.
Ignatieff would not provide the new party with a shot at victory. Rae's popularity in Ontario, and to a lesser extent in British Columbia, would turn the next election into a tight contest.
I was slightly amused as I read this, and not just because of their comments about Rae’s popularity in Ontario, which certainly turns the popular meme on its head. No, I was amused because I was reminded of another Angus Reid poll of hypothetical leaders, this one during the last aborted Liberal leadership race.
From December of 2008, with Ignatieff as leader here were Angus Reid’s numbers (changes from the then current numbers in brackets):
Conservatives: 38% (-4)
Liberals: 33% (+11)
NDP: 13% (-5)
Bloc: 10% (-)
Green: 6% (-1)
And Angus Reid from December 2008 with Rae as leader:
Conservatives: 41% (-1)
Liberals: 26% (+4)
NDP: 15% (-3)
Bloc: 10% (-1)
Green: 6% (-1)
The point being, a hypothetical poll and a $1 will buy you a can of Fresca. And the X factor, of course, is the multi-million dollar demonization campaign the Conservatives unleashed on Ignatieff, and you can be sure one is sitting in a drawer on Bob.
Finally, back to the merger numbers, according to Angus Reid the LiberalDippers would fare best under Jack Layton (that sound you hear is a collective shriek of delight from the Blogging Dippers:
But Layton would immensely help the new party with good numbers in Ontario and a remarkable showing in Quebec, pushing the Bloc to second place for the first time in years.Of course, I should caution those numbers don't factor in the thousands of Liberals who would be unable to vote, due to their heads having exploded.
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