Talk about a big orange tent. NDP supporters come from across the political spectrum as Jack Layton is successfully recruiting voters from all of the parties, including the Conservatives, according to a new EKOS Research poll.
"Unlike other parties, most of the current support for the NDP doesn't come from an NDP voter in 2008. ... The majority of it is new vote," EKOS pollster Frank Graves said.
About 15 per cent of the NDP's new support is from Conservatives and Liberals; there's disaffected Green Party voters in there, too. And the NDP Quebec voter is the old Bloc voter from 2008.
He calls the NDP support in Quebec and the huge lead it has there "the real deal."
Initially, Mr. Graves said, the NDP surge - it has doubled its support from 14 per cent at the beginning of the campaign to 27.9 per cent - was "propelled" by the transfer of votes in Quebec from the Bloc.
Then there was the premature collapse of the Green Party vote - "They've left early and gone to the NDP," he said.
Now, a sizable portion has come from both Conservatives and Liberals - "It's something I don't think people would expect," Mr. Graves said, pointing specifically to the switch among Tories.
"When you think about it, Jack Layton is kind of appealing to the same guy - the kind of, I hate to use the hackneyed phrase, but that Tim Hortons kind of average, working Canadian."
It's a voter Mr. Harper has been after for a long time, Mr. Graves said.
"But all of a sudden, you've got a guy come along who's doing the same pitch - but instead of a grim guy this is a really friendly, chipper guy."
He said Canadians may be looking for that kind of change.
Nationally, the EKOS poll has Stephen Harper's Conservatives leading with 33.9-per-cent support. But the NDP are now clearly in second place - 27.9 per cent compared to 24 per cent for the Liberals. The Greens are 6.8 per cent, according to the poll of 2,532 people conducted between April 23 and April 25. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Mr. Graves, however, has detected something afoot in Ontario, which has been locked in a "seesaw battle between the Conservatives and the Liberals," Mr. Graves said.
Now, he said, the two parties are hearing the "footsteps of the big orange wave (not to mix metaphors)."
The New Democrats are ahead, he said, of where they were in 2008, and "Ontario voters are flirting with the idea of jumping on the big orange bandwagon."
In Ontario, the Tories have 37.1-per-cent support compared to 31.6 per cent for the Liberals and 22.8 per cent for the NDP.
Notably, Stephen Harper is spending at least half of his last week campaigning in Ontario ridings; the Liberals are also focused on the province.
EKOS has the NDP, meanwhile, doing best among women - a key to success, pollsters said at the beginning of the campaign - and with voters under age 45.
Thirty-one per cent of women in the EKOS poll said they support the NDP, compared to 29.7 per cent for the Tories and 25.2 per cent for the Liberals. Among voters age 25 to 44, the NDP have 32 per cent support compared to 30 per cent for the Conservatives and 23.3-per-cent support for the Liberals.
Voters under the age of 25 are also most likely to the support the NDP - 28. 3 per cent compared to 20.9 per cent and 20.2 per cent for the Tories and Liberals, respectively.
This latest EKOS poll follows one released Monday - that was conducted between April 22 and April 24, over the Easter long weekend. The results are almost the same.