I feel like I should be pinching myself. The NDP are ahead of the Liberals in many polls and just 6 points down from the Tories nationally. The party is ahead of the Bloc Québecois overall in Quebec and in many ridings they never thought they’d take, and is polling just short of Gilles Duceppe in his own riding one south of my own. I haven’t met the candidate there but I’m sure she was expecting to be back at her day job tomorrow. What the hell is going on? All this NDP support in Quebec in particular has me happy, if confused why it’s changed so quickly, and I look forward to seeing what Layton will do if he becomes head of the official opposition, as the polls are saying.
Since we all need a pet theory, my guess is that it’s due to bad polling. As I’ve ranted about here before, and as others have said better than myself, attempts to predict elections in Canada have a bad track record because polling is hard. So after Layton’s fine performance in the debates, perhaps one of those 10% margin of error polls showed Layton ahead, which inspired people to think that this guy they liked could actually win, and thus was worth voting for without throwing their vote away. And the whole thing could have snowballed from there. Or maybe people are fed up of the Bloc and of the Liberals, or maybe Layton’s been getting in some particularly good quips this time around, but as far as I can tell everyone seems to be performing just like in the last campaign.
Hmm. Actually, come to think of it, people growing bored of business as usual is perhaps a better theory.
Finally, a heartwarming story to encourage you to vote: it’s not good to take these things for granted, as Jon Joe of Saanich, BC could tell you. Born in Victoria, BC, in 1922, Joe was barred from voting until 1948, when people of Asian descent were first given the right to vote in BC (at the time, provinces got to decide who was permitted to vote in federal elections). He hasn’t missed an election since, from federal campaigns to local school board elections. Like him, I’m not planning to miss this one, and I hope you’re not either.