NDP surge pits party against Tories in key B.C. ridings
As the federal election campaign winds down, political drama is in the offing in B.C., where a surging NDP could be the only thing standing between the Conservatives and a majority government.
Conservative leader Stephen Harper travelled to Campbell River over the weekend to drum up support for incumbent Vancouver Island North candidate John Duncan.
"We're not under any illusions here. Your main competition is the NDP," Harper told a crowd of Tory boosters.
Support for the New Democrats in B.C. is up by six points from the last election, taking a bite out of Liberal and Green Party numbers, according to the latest survey from Angus Reid Public Opinion.
"Some of the bigger races that we'll see Monday night are definitely NDP versus federal Conservatives," pollster Mario Canseco told CTV News.
The NDP are solidly in second place with voters at 32-per-cent support, lagging behind the leading Conservatives with 42 per cent. The Liberals are trailing far behind at 18-per-cent support in B.C., while the Green have just six per cent.
Right now, only the NDP and Conservatives are projected to increase their ranks of MPs in B.C.
Poll-watchers are predicting that election night could come down to tight contests in Tory-held ridings like Surrey North and Vancouver Island North and NDP-held ridings like Burnaby-Douglas and New Westminster-Coquitlam.
Some pundits are attributing the spike in NDP popularity to Jack Layton's performances in the leadership debates. Now, the Conservatives, Liberals and Bloc Quebecois are all targeting the leader in advertising campaigns and speeches.
Canseco says that's a good sign the NDP could actually make major gains in this election.
"That is how you know that this is actually real, that this momentum could actually hurt them, is when the federal Conservatives are actually talking about Jack Layton and the Liberals as well," Canseco said.
Incumbent New Democrat candidate Libby Davies says that support for the party has been steadily building since she was first elected as one of just three B.C. New Democrats in 1997.
"We've been slowly, each election, gaining back support. In this election, though, it's the strongest that I've ever seen and experienced," she said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Rob Brown