A recent Nanos poll indicates that popular support for the Liberals has jumped almost 5 percentage points to 28.1 per cent, up from the 18.9 per cent they received during the May federal election. This puts the Liberals ahead of the NDP who dropped 2.7 points to 27.3 per cent, down from the 30.6 per cent of the vote they captured in the last election.
The Conservative Party remains the first choice of most voters with 35.6 per cent, but even that is a drop from the 39.6 per cent of the vote they captured in the May election, according to the National Post
The Liberals are right to be excited about the positive attention and growing popularity they are receiving under interim leader Bob Rae, although with no federal election on the horizon for another three and a half years, the excitement should be tempered by the still monumental task of rebuilding they have ahead of them.
Rae was recently named Parliamentarian of the Year by Macleans Magazine
for his intelligent debating skills, Herculean work ethic, and tireless efforts on behalf of the Liberal Party.
Rae "is a link to the past," writes Aaron Wherry in Macleans
, "a throwback, even. But he is not yesterday's man. He is the man entrusted to keeping the Liberal flame. And he is Stephen Harper's toughest test each afternoon."
The recent bump in the polls would likely have something to do with Rae's charisma, and the respect he commands in the House of Commons, a place not known for its pleasant decorum. And the Nanos results are all the more critical considering the very existence of the Liberal Party of Canada was in doubt in light of the party's collapse in May, and given that Rae is currently deciding whether to run for the permanent leadership of the Liberal Party at the 2013 convention.
What accounts for the dip in support for the New Democrats? The party likely saw some drop in popular support following the death of Jack Layton in August 2011, given that the reason many people voted for The Layton Party, as it might have been known, was no longer present.
The ever-expanding leadership contest has become an all-consuming passion of the NDP caucus, stretching the Dippers attention too thinly, it would seem. The front benches have slowly begun to clear out as NDP MP's focus more on their respective leadership campaigns than on day-to-day House business.
"Some of its best-performing members of Parliament are competing to replace [Layton]," writes the Post
, "but have largely vanished from the public eye as they have had to step down from their critics’ positions in the House of Commons during the leadership race."
As for the governing Conservatives, pollster Nik Nanos writes in the Globe and Mail
that “under normal circumstances, the Conservatives would probably benefit by a greater focus on the economy. But because they are delivering on a number of promises that they’ve made in the past, many of them controversial and ideological, it’s dampened any potential benefit … at least in the short term.”
But for the Liberals, adrift in the political ocean, they'll take any good news they can get.