The NDP is likely going to end up with more seats then they had going into this election, and while being a small victory for them, is not the breakthrough they had hoped. At most, they will gain a few swing seats and get up to their traditional ceiling of 20% of the vote. Not a bad result, but considering the hype Layton built up for himself, and the potential consequences of another Conservative government, not so great. Conservative Ministers like John Baird, Jim Flaherty, Peter MacKay, and Tony Clement all stand good chances of being re-elected with well under 50% of the vote. Elizabeth May said it best:
"Life would be simpler if I acted like Layton and didn't care if Stephen Harper formed government again. Life would be simpler if I were a complete hypocrite like Jack Layton and pretended I cared about the climate when all of his strategy makes his own personal success more important than survival of the climate and decent climate policy."
The NDP is against the Conservatives, the Liberals want to replace the Conservatives. The NDP fought, in fairness, a good campaign, and will be rewarded with some seat gains, but they ultimately will be returned as the 4th party of Parliament, talking about the right issues, but unable to get much done on them. The Liberals want to move Canada forward, Jack Layton wants 5 more seats.