Nationally, Jack Layton’s position is the most popular, supported by almost 3-in-4 Canadians. Nationally, 72% supported Mr. Layton’s position that the NDP will support the government for as long as it takes for EI legislation to become law and the new money distributed, including 18% who strongly supported this position. This position has broad appeal nationwide with no less than 66% in any region indicating they support his position on the matter. Among New Democrats, 81% are supportive of this position, while 13% are opposed. The position of the NDP leader is also supported by 70% of Liberals and 78% of Conservatives.In fact, the commentary actually seems to understate the gap in support for the leaders' positions. Layton's stance isn't just more popular with his own party than Ignatieff's, it's actually favoured by Liberal supporters compared to what Ignatieff has on offer - and by a fairly noteworthy gap (70%-54%).
Gilles Duceppe’s position is well-supported in Quebec and among BQ supporters. In Quebec, 70% of respondents support Mr. Duceppe’s position, while 20% are opposed. Among his own supporters, his support jumps further with 86% of BQ voters supporting his position, and 14% opposing it.
Nationally, 31% of respondents either strongly support (11%) or support (20%) Mr. Ignatieff’s position that he no longer has confidence in the government and would no longer support it. 57% are opposed to this position, including 24% who are strongly opposed to it. Mr. Ignatieff’s position is most popular in Quebec, where 40% support it, and least popular on the Prairies, where 64% are opposed. Unsurprisingly, his position is more popular among Liberals than other voting groups, with 54% of Liberals supporting his position and 39% opposing it. However, this split is by far the lowest support any Opposition leader received among their own supporters.
And equally remarkably, Layton's stance that the NDP will avoid toppling the Cons in order to pass EI reforms is more popular in Quebec (77% support) than Gilles Duceppe's position that he "he may or may not support the government solely on the basis of whether the legislation to be voted on helped Quebec or not" (70% support).
Again, there's still a significant question as to how the NDP can best build on its current position. And it of course shouldn't be forgotten that Michael Ignatieff managed to secure some momentary public support as well when he was the one acting on the basis of avoiding an election. But for now it looks undeniable that the NDP's move get improved EI legislation passed has been a huge win in terms of public opinion - and the NDP surely prefers the question of how best to build on its successes to the Libs' position of actively debating whether it's time to panic.