Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Facts not in evidence

I suppose it shouldn't come as much surprise that some Libs are now suggesting they'd prefer torching every existing progressive political structure in Canada to working with the NDP in its current form. But let's ask whether there's any truth to the premise behind the proposal to start from scratch - i.e. that we'd be better off starting with a new brand rather than building on any of them that currently exist.

Of course, the Libs succeeded for a long time in convincing voters that they shouldn't even consider the NDP as an option. But once that premise evaporated, so too did any indication that the NDP lacked the ability to assemble a true majority coalition.

After all, in the most recent polling that's included a second-choice question, the NDP's total first- plus second-choice support was in the range of 50-55% - signalling that a majority of Canadians are already willing to state their interest in voting for the party.

What's more, the NDP's jump in the May election led plenty of Lib voters to rethink their own choices once it became clear that the NDP was the leading alternative. And public impressions of the NDP have only improved relative to its competitors since then.

So where exactly is there even a shred of evidence that the NDP's current brand is somehow holding it back from challenging the Cons? And is it really worth shredding all the work that's been done to build the NDP into a truly national party just because a few Libs can't bear to support it?

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