Jack Layton and the NDP are starting to see dividends from their strategy of taking on Harper over issues that impact ordinary people's lives like high gas prices and cell phone charges, and consistently being the country’s number one Harper fighter.
Today’s Toronto Star contains two examples.
The first is an Angus Reid poll commissioned by the Star which shows Conservative support tumbling three points in the last month, while NDP support has soared to the historic level of 20 percent – matching the 1988 election result which saw the party net 43 seats under Ed Broadbent.
Some of the regional breaks are also remarkable, including a strong showing of 19 in Ontario, 17 in Quebec, and in Manitoba and Saskatchewan where Layton leads with an incredible 46 percent of the vote. Even factoring the margin of error for the small prairie sample, the NDP still leads the Conservatives in the heart of the country.
But because polls are just polls, the other piece of good news for New Democrats is this story showing that Layton's pragmatic and principled opposition is being seen as the real force to beat Harper’s agenda -- resulting in tangible benefits in terms of increased NDP memberships, fundraising and momentum.
Political scientist Paul Nesbitt-Larking said Liberal decisions to abstain on high-profile issues has given the NDP room to present themselves "as the true opposition."