Jack Layton's Death: Canadians See NDP As Unchanged Since Former Leader's Passing

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OTTAWA - It seems the house that Jack built still looks about the same to most Canadians.

Fifty-nine per cent of respondents to a Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey say the NDP of today is similar to when Jack Layton led it.

Eight per cent said the party is very similar to when Layton led it, while 51 per cent said it was somewhat similar.

Twenty-two per cent of respondents said the NDP is not the same now.

The telephone poll of just over 1,000 Canadians was conducted Aug. 2-5 and is considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times in 20.

Layton died of cancer a year ago today, only three months after leading the NDP to official Opposition status for the first time in its 50-year history.

The anniversary will be marked today at Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square. The late NDP leader's final letter to Canadians calling for love, hope and optimism will be read out and musicians including Ron Sexsmith, Raffi and Lorraine Segato of the 1980s pop band Parachute Club will perform.

Events are also planned in more than a dozen other cities, including in Quebec, where the NDP found its greatest electoral success last year.

A surge in NDP fortunes in Quebec helped the party win 103 seats in the House of Commons — and the poll suggests Layton's death hasn't changed how most people view the party in that province.

The survey indicates more than half of Quebecers polled feel the party is still similar to how it was under Layton.

The poll suggests that across the country, the feeling is also most pronounced among men and party faithful.

Even though the survey indicates most people still see the party the same way, new NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is the first to admit he's no Layton.

"I've said since the beginning, I'm not going to try to replace Jack," Mulcair recently told The Canadian Press.

"I'm going to try to succeed him by being my own person."

Mulcair attributes the smooth transition to the post-Layton era to lessons learned from his late predecessor and a continued wave of goodwill toward him.

Here's what HuffPost readers have been saying about the Layton legacy. Join the debate in the comments below, on Facebook, or send @HuffPostCanada a tweet with the hashtag #laytonlegacy.

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