NDP brand surpasses Tory brand, closing in on Liberals’

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair during Question Period (Canadian Press)Unarguably, Canada's pollsters have recently taken some hits to their collective reputation.

The Alberta election, the B.C. election and last week's federal byelection in Brandon-Souris were not shining moments for the industry.

But, there seems to be a trend emerging on the federal scene that makes some anecdotal sense: the New Democrats have their groove back.

According to Nanos Research, the NDP brand is strengthening and now ranks higher than the Conservatives brand.

"Although the brand strength of the Liberals still remains comparatively the strongest (54 points), the New Democrats have numerically surpassed the Conservatives in the weekly Nanos Party Power Index tracking (NDP 51, Conservative 50)," notes the pollster's press release.

"This follows positive movement for the NDP brand over the past five weeks."

Photo courtesy of Nanos Research

Nanos develops its brand rankings based on four different questions — about voting intentions and perceptions — about the federal parties and their leadership.

"NDP brand power is noticeably strengthening among women and closing in on the Liberals," Nanos notes.

"The positive gains for the NDP have been primarily fueled by increasingly positive impressions of NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. Both his best PM scores and scores related to the perception that he has the qualities of a good leader are trending up although he still trails both Harper and Trudeau on these measures."

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The "strengthening" emanates from Mulcair's solid performance in the House of Commons, of late, while grilling the Prime Minister about the ongoing Senate expense scandal.

The NDP has also been more aggressive against Justin Trudeau and it seems to be paying off.

The next step for the NDP is to be more proactive with regard to proposing policies.

On Wednesday afternoon, for example, Mulcair unveiled his environment and energy plan. As explained by the Globe and Mail, the NDP leader addressed an Ottawa luncheon of business people.

Seeking to position his party as a government in waiting, Mulcair laid out a sweeping policy that would reverse the Harper government’s recent regulatory changes; partner with provinces and aboriginal communities on resource development, and aggressively pursue opportunities in the clean-tech sector, including the reinstatement of the popular EcoEnergy retrofit that underwrote energy efficiency investments by homeowners and businesses.

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Yet, New Democrats shouldn't be measuring the drapes at 24 Sussex Street just yet: they're still trailing both the Conservatives and the Liberals in most voter intention polls, they didn't do all that well in last week's byelections and there's still two years until the next election.

But they can take some solace in the fact that — for the first time since Mulcair became leader — the party seems to have some positive momentum.

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