The NDP has some general idea that it would like to win some seats on the Prairies somehow.
The party’s lack of seats in Saskatchewan was a point of focus for Thomas Mulcair during the party’s leadership race and the home of Tommy Douglas probably isn’t just of symbolic value to the New Democrats: gains in Ontario and British Columbia are going to be necessary, but the path to 170 seats probably has to include some gains in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Here the redistribution of ridings might help. By the latest proposals and Mitch Wexler’s math, the NDP gains one seat in Manitoba if the 2011 election results are applied to the proposed new boundaries: Winnipeg North going from a narrow loss to a seven-point win. Meanwhile, the party still wins Churchill and Winnipeg Centre and remains competitive in Elmwood-Transcona.
In Saskatchewan, the impact of redistribution could be more dramatic. In 2011, New Democrats finished within five points in three ridings. Under the new boundaries, the NDP wins two seats narrowly and is within five points in two ridings and within 10 points in one riding.
In theory, that’s five wins and another four ridings in which the party has some reason for hope—nine ridings out of a total of 28.
(Note: In the 2011 election, the NDP won 29% of the popular vote in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In the Eric Grenier’s poll of polls, they drew 33% of the vote in December and spent most of 2012 in the mid-30s. It is probably also worth considering what impact an angry Brad Wall could have over the next few years and during an election campaign.)