Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mulcair, Dewar win new endorsements

This week's NDP leadership endorsement rankings update sees Thomas Mulcair and Paul Dewar making gains. But both contenders remain in the second and fourth positions, respectively.

Understandably, the leadership race has been somewhat quiet over the holidays. Brian Topp, however, has recently said he is moving to the second portion of his campaign. The first was meant for endorsements, so that means we may see no more major endorsements for Topp unless he knocks it out of the park in future debates. On the other hand, Dewar has said he will have endorsements to announce in the new year, which should give him some momentum.

But, for now, Thomas Mulcair has made the biggest gain this week with the endorsements of two sitting MPs from Quebec: Ève Péclet, from La Pointe-de-l'Île, and Paulina Ayala, from Honoré-Mercier.

This gives Mulcair a five point boost to 119.3, or 25.5% of the total share of available endorsement points. That is a 0.7 percentage point gain for Mulcair since last week. Perhaps more importantly, this now gives Mulcair the support of the majority of the NDP's Quebec caucus.

Mulcair is now 68.7 points, or 14.6 percentage points, behind Topp. He needs a few high profile endorsements to close the gap. A few MPs with a lot of experience in the House of Commons, particularly from Ontario, remain uncommitted, as do Greg Selinger, Premier of Manitoba, Darrell Dexter, Premier of Nova Scotia (at least since the withdrawal of Robert Chisholm), and provincial leaders Andrea Horwath and Adrian Dix. A smattering of MLAs, MHAs, MPPs, current and former leaders remain on the table as well.

Paul Dewar also made a gain this week, picking up the endorsement of the Ottawa and District Labour Council, a body representing 50,000 members. This gives him an extra three points, but as I mistakenly gave him the points of a former MLA (who did, indeed, endorse him but I am not assigning points from former provincial legislators), Dewar has a net gain of 2.5 points this week.

Last week, it was brought to my attention that the points I assigned Dewar from the Manitoba Federation of Labour were being double-counted, as it is an umbrella organization already partly represented by the endorsements given by other bodies. I've decided to let that stand - unions overlap quite a bit and I don't want to overly complicate things. If it means double-counting certain union members, so be it. That two unions commanding the allegiance of one person have stepped into the debate means, I imagine, that this union member is doubly motivated to cast a ballot.

So, this puts Dewar up 2.5 points to 25.9, or 5.5% of the total. That is a 0.4 percentage point gain since last week, putting him still well behind Peggy Nash. But there is now some light between him and Niki Ashton. If Dewar's promised endorsements start piling up in the new year, we will probably see him close in on Nash and force the three frontrunners down in their point share quite a bit.

The new endorsements for Mulcair and Dewar have already pushed Topp down 0.7%, Nash 0.3%, and Ashton 0.1%.

(Click here to learn more about the endorsement system and here for how the points are awarded. And, as always, you can right-click the list of endorsers and open in a new tab or window to magnify it.)

There has been a lot of talk recently about Brian Topp being a weaker candidate than many have thought. The fact remains that Topp's list of endorsers is impressive, including the likes of  Ed Broadbent, Roy Romanow, and some of the NDP's most experienced MPs. Only one of the debates has already taken place so there is still a lot of impressing (or disappointing) for Topp and the other candidates to do. Though the race is now more than half-way through, it really has only just begun.