It’s closing time! In the final few days, campaigns focus their most important messages on their most critical targets, making the closing arguments of a long election.
We can learn a lot by watching where the leaders go, and what they say, in these final days. A careful read reveals the seats they hope to pick up and the voters they hope to persuade.
For the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh, the remaining hours will be crucial in launching a preemptive strike against the Liberals’ predictable-as-the-sunrise last-minute appeal for New Democrats to vote strategically and help them to stop the Conservatives.
With voter turnout uncertain, every vote becomes even more valuable, and with the rise of the People’s Party in many regions across Canada, vote splits could make the difference in dozens of ridings. Motivating NDP supporters to get out and vote NDP on Monday will be as crucial as ever.
So, what are we likely to see from Singh and the NDP in the last days of the campaign?
Target: 18–34-Year-Old Voters
According to Counsel’s latest poll (September 9-11), the NDP maintains a strong level of support among young women (18-34) nationwide at 33 per cent, besting the Liberals at 28 per cent and Conservatives at 19 per cent. The NDP are, however, showing a marked uptick in support among men across Canada in both the 18-34 demographic (+2 per cent since our August poll) and the 35-54 demographic (+3 per cent since August).
Our poll also indicates the NDP have significant opportunity to attract more votes from fathers, with 29 per cent of them being voters who do not currently intend to vote for the NDP, but are now showing an openness to switching their vote to the NDP.
Target: New Seats
Our research indicates that the NDP are poised to pick up seats across the country; Edmonton- Greisbach, Essex, and Halifax are just three examples of solid contenders for orange pick-ups.
But when it comes to the regions where there are the most seats to gain, our polling points to British Columbia and Toronto.
In BC, the NDP are ahead (31 per cent) of the Conservatives (30 per cent) and the Liberals (24 per cent). Outside of the Lower Mainland, the NDP (33 per cent) are neck and neck with the Conservatives (35 per cent). In Toronto, the NDP universe (those open to voting NDP) sits at 55 per cent, among the highest in the country.
Target: Most Salient Issues
To keep the NDP core and NDP swing voters connected to their message, the New Democrats will want to focus on affordability and jobs. Climate change and reconciliation followed as issues also important among NDP supporters in their listed top five most important issues.
Target: Closing Argument
We asked one last question in our poll: if the NDP were to hold a balance after this election, which party should it support to form a government? We found that 73 per cent of core NDP voters, 64 per cent of soft voters and 62 per cent of NDP swing voters chose the Liberal Party. With that in mind, and a Liberal minority a possible outcome in this election, Jagmeet Singh’s closing argument to voters may well be: “Send Trudeau a message – not a blank cheque – by voting NDP.”
Insights by Brad Lavigne, Partner, Western Practice Lead, and David Bieber, Senior Associate.
Brad has over 25 years of communications, government relations, and political experience. He served as the New Democratic Party’s National Campaign Director in the 2011 general election that resulted in the party’s best election result in its 50-year history, becoming Canada’s Official Opposition for the first time. Brad served as Principal Secretary and Director of Communications for the Hon. Jack Layton and as National Director and Director of Communications for the NDP.
David Bieber has over 20 years of communications, government relations, and political experience. He has worked with civic, provincial and federal political leaders, labour unions in B.C. and political parties in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. David worked for the BC New Democratic Party for twelve years, serving six of them as Director of Communications. He played a key role in the historic 2005 comeback for the Party.