Is the NDP good for the economy? New poll suggests nearly half of Canadians say yes

WATCH: The speculation is building that Stephen Harper could drop the writ as early as next month, kicking off a long campaign. However, the truth is, all the leaders are already campaigning. NDP leader Tom Mulcair was in resource-rich Northern Ontario Monday. Is he the man to lead Canada’s economy? Vassy Kapelos reports.

A new national poll suggests more Canadians think Tom Mulcair would have a positive effect on Canada’s economy despite the Conservatives assurances that their party is the best steward of the economy.

A Nanos Research poll conducted for The Globe and Mail and released Monday asked 1,000 Canadians how the election of Mulcair, Stephen Harper, or Justin Trudeau would affect the country’s economy. Nearly half (47 per cent) said, if elected, Mulcair would have a “positive” or “somewhat positive” impact on the economy, and 41 per cent put their support behind Trudeau.

Only 31.7 per cent of respondents gave Harper a positive vote.

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Results were mixed though as 24.1 per cent said a Harper-led Conservative majority would have the “most positive impact on the Canadian economy.”

Mulcair was close behind with 20.6 per cent. A Trudeau-led majority was favoured by 13.5 per cent of respondents.

The poll question allowed people to answer whether they thought a minority or majority government would have the most positive impact, and a Conservative majority got the most votes. But taken together, slightly more people (34 per cent of respondents) think an NDP government (whether majority or minority) would be better for the economy than a Conservative government (32 per cent).

READ MORE: Why we probably won’t see a Liberal-NDP coalition after the next election

Though it’s only one poll, and the campaign hasn’t even started yet, it might serve as a warning sign to Mulcair’s opponents that they can’t wait much longer before taking him to task.

“If you’re a conservative and/or a liberal, is the NDP at this point aren’t a flash in the pan and they are getting some buy-in somewhere,” Tim Powers, vice chairman of Summa Strategies and a former Conservative strategist said in an interview Monday.

“And if you want to unsettle them you can’t wait too much longer to do that.”

But Pierre Poilievre, the MP for Nepean-Carleton and the Minister of Employment and Social Development, didn’t answer questions on whether the Conservatives are worried about Canadians’ supposed confidence in Mulcair’s economic abilities.

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He did however cast Mulcair’s, as well as Trudeau’s, policies as a “risky experiment.”

“I think all Canadians will be worried when they see that both the Liberals and the NDP offer only risky experiments for the economy that will balloon debt and drive up taxes and kill jobs,” he said.

Poilievre went on to tout Harper’s record as Prime Minister “to balance the budget, to lower taxes for families and small businesses and to create 1.2 million jobs since the great global recession.”

READ MORE: PBO says Bank of Canada forecast pushes federal government to $1 billion deficit

The NDP has been leading most polls since the Alberta election and seat projections by the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP) in June and July show the NDP forming the next government.

Nelson Wiseman, a politics professor at the University of Toronto, added that the NDP is likely riding high off the Alberta election which seems to have shifted the perception some people had of the formerly socialist party. Now, he said, people see it as a legitimate challenger to Harper.

Powers suggested Mulcair might be benefitting from things other than his actual record on the economy – being seen as the best person to dethrone Harper.

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“He’s not made any mistakes and he’s gently introduced policies that aren’t super controversial and that haven’t yet been taken to task really by his Conservative opponents. They’ve been criticized but the math class hasn’t been wrung yet from the Conservative war room,” Powers said.

“I would think that as long as Mr. Mulcair continues to do well, I think the math class will be accelerated and all will see it.”

-With files from Vassy Kapelos

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