This graph has been making the rounds on social media to show growing support for the federal Liberals in by-elections across Canada, including Trinity-Spadina, where I was happy to do a bit of volunteering for Adam Vaughan.
Speaking of Trinity-Spadina, I've quoted NDP candidate Joe Cressy above from this article where the NDP tries to spin the rather negative by-election results it's had under Mulcair.
Cressy's full quote is:
“The next federal election will not be won or lost on the basis of a couple of seats in Canada where it’s the Liberals and the NDP squaring off. Rather, it’s going to won or lost based on seats where you’re taking on Tories,” Cressy said.
“The focus has to be and should be on taking out Harper, not focusing on the Liberals.”
So, with that in mind, why don't we actually look at the vote changes from the 2011 elections in by-elections in Conservative held seats since the last election?
Liberal vote shoots up 15%, to make the Calgary Centre by-election the best Liberal result in Calgary since 1997, as the Tory vote goes way down and the NDP vote declines by 11%, as they get less than 4% of the vote.
Congrats NDP, you managed to increase your vote by 5% (still finishing 24% behind) during a by-election held when the federal Liberals were leaderless and the provincial Liberals were in the middle of a leadership race leaving the local campaign short of volunteers. Worth noting the provincial Liberals would go on to win the seat in the Ontario election, with the NDP back in third.
So those two by-elections were held when Mulcair was leader, but the Liberals were still without a permanent leader. Let's see what happens when Trudeau becomes leader:
The NDP vote dips slightly, but the Trudeau Liberals shoot up almost 10% and actually take a seat back from the Harper Conservatives.
In the ultra safe Conservative Provencher seat, the Liberal vote goes up by 23%, as the NDP vote crashes 10%, finishing with a deposit-losing 8.2% of the vote.
Grit vote sky-rockets as a Justin Trudeau-led Liberal Party goes from 4th place and 5% to coming within a few hundred votes of winning the riding. NDP vote absolutely craters to 7% for another lost deposit - despite the NDP holding one of the Brandon seats provincially for decades.
Another ultra-safe Conservative seat to be sure, but the Liberal vote share goes from less than 4% to 17%, while the NDP barely finishes ahead of the Christian Heritage Party for 4th place - Mulcair's NDP candidate only 3 votes ahead of the CHP with 4.2% of the vote.
Con : -25%
Not quite the nail-biter as Brandon-Souris, but Liberal candidate Kyle Harrietha pulls in a solid 35% of the vote on a 25% increase, the best Liberal result in the riding since 1968. NDP at least manages to hang onto it's deposit this time (a rarity with Mulcair as leader in Tory held ridings as we've seen) but the NDP does decline.
So what does that leave us then, when looking at the seats where the Liberals and NDP are going up against the Tories?