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NDP support growing in Victoria

With the federal election just over a month away, support for the NDP is growing on Vancouver Island.

With the federal election just over a month away, support for the NDP is growing on Vancouver Island and they could come out on top in Victoria, according to a University of Victoria professor.

A recent national survey conducted by Nanos Research showed NDP support at 32.7 per cent (up 2.3 percentage points from the previous week), with the Liberals close behind at 30.8 per cent (up 0.6 percentage points), followed by the Conservatives at 26.2 per cent (down 2.3 points).

Locally, Jamie Lawson, associate professor in the department of political science, said NDP support is also growing in the Victoria riding.

“Given where the race is now and the strong view on the part of supporters of any of the opposition parties, that they’ll support almost any party if it’s able to engineer a defeat of the Stephen Harper conservatives,” he said.

Based on recent polls, Lawson said Murray Rankin will take the Victoria seat over conservative candidate John Rizzuti, Green Party’s Jo-Anne Roberts and liberal candidate Cheryl Thomas.

There are a number of issues, including climate change and the oil spill in Vancouver that are fresh in voters’ minds that could effect how they vote, Lawson said.

“The dry, hot summer is reminding people of climate change and people in Victoria who are on the left of the political spectrum are highly attuned to that,” he said.

“If you’re fixed on the idea that you need to get rid of Harper, I think weirdly, you’re far less concerned about which party does the job, because all of the parties who aren’t the conservatives differ in sort of the same way.”

Lawson said it’s also important to recognize that Victoria has a high rate of retirees from across Canada, which could effect the vote.

“For those who have retired from Alberta and spent a lot of time in the oil and gas industry, they may be here enjoying the weather, but some of those folks probably think that the oil sector is the best thing Canada’s got going for them . . . that’s a qualifying element.”

The federal election will take place on Oct. 19.