With Thomas Mulcair at the head of the NDP, itís back to square one for the Liberal Party.
A succession of national polls since the NDPís leadership convention have pegged support for the Liberals under interim leader Bob Rae at only 19 per cent, the same share of the vote the party took under Michael Ignatieff in 2011ís federal election.
Rae had managed to steal the spotlight from the floundering NDP when Nycole Turmel was running the show in Ottawa and some of its best MPs were busy trying to woo New Democrats in their bid for the top job. But now that Mulcair is Opposition leader, Rae has been relegated to the reality of his partyís third-place standing in the House of Commons.
Only 12 per cent of Canadians think Rae is the best option for prime minister, compared to 20 per cent for Mulcair and 25 per cent for Stephen Harper, according to a recent survey. The interim Liberal leader only outperforms Mulcair in Ontario, where he used to be premier, and Harper only in Quebec, where the Conservatives are struggling.
The Liberals are bleeding most in central and eastern Canada, with the party dropping to third place in Ontario and third or fourth place in Quebec. In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals are down about four points since the last election.
Rae is keeping the Liberals afloat in Ontario, where their support has slipped back to where they were in May 2011 (25 per cent) after scoring over 30 per cent during the NDP leadership campaign. Returning to their starting point in Canadaís largest province is a problem for the Grits, as they once again trail the NDP.