Monday, June 21, 2010

Whither the NDP?

The NDP nearly had a breakthrough in francophone New Brunswick in the 1999 election. The double momentum of Yvon Godin's 1997 federal election victory (and to a lesser extent Angela Vautour's in Beauséjour-Petitcodiac), and the decline of the Liberal Party in that election created a tremendous opportunity for them.

Will that opportunity be replicated in 2010 by the party's first Francophone leader running in a riding on the peninsula combined with a Liberal government that, like in 1999, is facing some serious trouble?

Here are the ridings in which the NDP did well in 1999 that fall in or near the boundaries of those two federal ridings:

Nepisiguit 28%
Tantramar 19%
Rogersville-Kouchibouguac 18%
Nigadoo-Chaleur 16%
Centre-PĂ©ninsule 14%
Moncton North 14%
Kent South 12%
Riverview 12%
Miramichi Centre 11%

Add to that list two more ridings: Tracadie-Sheila (where party leader Duguay is running) and Miramichi Bay-Neguac (where Duguay ran and got got 26% in 2006).

These are the ridings that the NDP has its best shot of winning. Particularly the Francophone ridings in the northeast and possibly also Moncton North, a traditionally Liberal riding with a strong PC campaign and no Liberal incumbent.

The NDP seems to be going all in on electing their leader, which is probably a fair strategy. The PCs have made two major announcements in Tracadie-Sheila, leading one to believe they are nervous. Equally good hopes could be Nepisiguit, a heavily unionized riding and home base of Yvon Godin, and Rogersville-Kouchibouguac and Moncton North which are open seats. The NDP would be wise to focus on these four.

A weakened Liberal Party and a PC Party with a leader that lacks appeal in Francophone New Brunswick up against a Francophone NDP leader from the peninsula is an ideal scenario for the NDP.

I would give them 50-50 or slightly better odds at the NDP picking up at least one seat. That said, I gave them a seat in my 2006 prediction so I may want to water my wine a bit on those odds.

Certainly something to watch. I'll follow this post up with a post on the prospects for the Greens and the People's Alliance.


Matt Doherty said...

I would give them better than 50-50 odds. They are under new management and seem to be revitalized. There are many new people deciding that they are tired of the old school politics of the Liberals and Tories. We have engaged people on the economy, overspending, efficient government and how running a province on credit cards is not sustainable. As we get closer to e-day, there are more examples of how the NDP is the viable alternative to the same old, same old.

David Raymond Amos said...

Oh my I wonder if Matt recalls our conversation not too ong ago EH?

daniel said...

The NDP certainly has a believable shot at winning a seat, but one wonders why Duguay chose to run in Tracadie-Sheila this time when he had such a strong showing in Miramichi Bay in the last election - especially when one considers the dreadful state of the incumbent there (disgraced ex-cabmin Carmel Robichaud).

Also, if some sort of "time for a change" sentiment were to sweep the province and net the NDP a seat or two, one would think that this same sentiment would contribute more to a Tory ascendency than to a Liberal comeback; in this scenario, a Tracadie-Sheila voter might find the idea of re-electing one of only two Tories on the whole North Shore (and thus being virtually assured a representative in cabinet and tons of pork for the area) to be far more appealing than electing the sole member of New Brunswick' third party.

Conversely, voters in Miramichi Bay will *never* have a representative in cabinet again as long as Carmel Robichaud is their MLA - in this case, there's comparatively more appeal in dumping a tainted has-been, a pariah in her own party (which is, itself, on the downswing) in favour of gaining some of the notoriety of having a party leader representing them, third party or not.

nbpolitico said...

It does seem that Roger Duguay made a bizarre choice for riding. He was mum for a long time on where he would run and picked this riding not long after David Alward became leader. I'm guess it was on the assumption that the Alward Tories would lose ground in Francophone New Brunswick so he picked the weaker of the two Tory incumbents.

I would agree that Miramichi Bay-Neguac would have been the smarter pick.