They have an ideological base. It is pragmatic liberalism that tries to unite neoliberal economic fundamentals with the belief they are willing to make "investments" in things that hit their target demographics (child care, health care, etc.). In large parts of the country this makes them either a conservative choice relative to their primarily social-democratic opposition, and in others it is a fairly conservative choice with a little bit of a liberal premium. The Conservatives have essentially the same platform except they focus on shifting that "liberal premium" towards privatization. The NDP runs largely on expanding the "liberal premium" and unversalizing it. They all support the same basic capitalist system.
I think they will drop with either the selection of Rae or Iggy. Right now you have the more centrist liberals (Martinites) backing Iggy and the more leftist liberals (Chretienites) backing Rae. So everyone has a "leader" to cheer for. Once either of these guys win you will either see bleeding to the NDP or bleeding to the Conservatives. Like the Conservatives they seem to have a pretty solid base of about 27%.
I think the big reason is that, right now anyways, its apparent that the leader won't be influencing policy too much. They've got committees working on focus and rebranding themselves, deciding new policy directions ... etc. I think voters are anticipating (incorrectly) a return to centre-left from left, and support will go to Undecided when this doesn't happen.
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