Thursday, November 8, 2007

NDP crushed in Saskatchewan heartland, will media pundits now gang up on Jack Layton too?

Hmmmm...Just wanted to point out something. The Liberals lose in one Montreal by-election in September and all hell breaks loose, the media start printing any and all utterances of discontent from Liberal party workers on the nation's front pages and declare that Stephane Dion's leadership is hanging by a thread.

Meanwhile, the NDP under Jack Layton fails to elect a single MP in the party's cradle of Saskatchewan in two elections, where the old CCF was born, and nobody seems to notice. The NDP won five seats in Saskatchewan both in 1993 and 1997, dropping to two MPs in 2000. But when city slicker Jack took over, the NDP dropped to zero in 2004 and again zero in 2006. Prospects for electing federal Dippers in that province in the next election remain bleak. Yes the NDP was more popular in Saskatchewan under Alexa McDonough than under Layton.

Now the NDP has been crushed in the provincial election in Saskatchewan, losing by almost 15 percentage points to the centre-right Saskatchewan Party.

Should we expect new commentary now on how Jack Layton continues to have zero traction in such an important NDP province, how Layton was no help to his provincial counterparts and how this loss by the Saskatchewan NDP is a further blow to Layton's leadership and prospects there? If one NDP worker in Saskatoon now says Layton isn't popular on the Prairies, will it make the front page of the Globe & Mail? Looking through today's post-election news coverage, it doesn't seem so thus far. Strange that.

7 comments:

Wheatsheaf said...

Why do Liberal bloggers bash NDPers but complain that the NDP are not bashing the Conservatives enough?

As to your thesis, in 2004 the two NDP MPs were defeated because of the same-sex marriage vote. I hope you are not suggesting that the NDP should have voted against same-sex marriage to save two seats. As to 2006, the were no NDP incumbents and Saskatchewanians really wanted the Liberals out.

Matt Guerin said...

Wheatsheaf, my experience has been that 99% of straight voters (except for the extreme religious right) do not vote based on same sex issues, be it SSM or spousal benefits or what have you, regardless of how they feel about those issues. They vote on pocket book issues, issues of direct concern to them. Many NDPers in Northern Ontario also voted for SSM and got re-elected. Many voted for spousal benefits in 1994 and all got re-elected in Ontario in 1995. It's ridiculous to say that the NDP's stance on SSM cost them in Saskatchewan, but not in Northern Ontario where they gained seats, etc. Jack just doesn't have much appeal in Sask, let's face it.

Wheatsheaf said...

It is not ridiculous at all. There are no urban seats in Saskatchewan, and the Conservatives have always been a strong competitor. There were enough voters who strongly supported the stance that the Conservatives took on same-sex marriage that they were willing to shift their vote to them. Same-sex marriage was the dominant issue in 2004 and it was an issue that had strong resonants among voters in the West. Despite the history of voting NDP provincially, Saskatchewan is not a bastion of social progressiveness.

janfromthebruce said...

After a good long run at government - 16 full years - and leaving the province in great shape economically, the NDP can be proud and has nothing to head in shame about.
The NDP was not crushed, and many seats were extremely close contests. Meanwhile, the liberals, once again, came out with 0. Too bad, they ensured the SASK party to win.

Sean S. said...

umm, you can't equate provincial NDP voters to Federal NDP voters...it doesn't work that way here.

Matt Guerin said...

Sorry, I still don't buy that federal Saskatchewan voters were only thinking about SSM in 2004. It was an issue true, but it wasn't the dominant issue in that campaign. Again, I stand by my statement that 99% of straight voters don't let same sex issues determine how they vote in an election. It still seems to me that urban slick Jack Layton simply has little appeal in that part of the country overall. They turned to the Conservatives as a result. The Liberals have more traction there, electing 2 MPs in 2006.

Sure the Saskatchewan NDP has special local appeal, far greater than its federal counterpart. My point is NDP fortunes are on the way down in Saskatchewan - having been wiped out federally and now defeated provincially. I'm sure provincially they'll come back soon, but federally I doubt that Layton will ever elect anyone.

Matt Guerin said...

p.s. The Liberals go from 35% to 29% in Outremont and everybody declares the party was crushed, humiliated and is now dead in Quebec, and that Stephane Dion an absolute failure.

The NDP goes from 45% to 36% in Saskatchewan and loses government (while the party is wiped out in 2 federal elections in a row) and everyone says the NDP can hold their heads up high and have a great future in that province.

I guess the Dippers in Ottawa are better media spinners than the Dion Grits, at least for now...