Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mulcair, Nash, Topp, and Chisholm gain endorsements

A number of endorsements were handed out over the last week, ranging from British Columbia all the way to Newfoundland and Labrador. As the leadership candidates took part in a debate organized by the BC New Democrats this week, many of the endorsements that were landed in the past few days came from that province. But a few other big fish were landed.

As ever, you can right-click on the chart to the left listing all of the endorsements to date and open in a new window to magnify it.

Thomas Mulcair was this week's big winner, with a jump of 10 endorsement points. Mulcair is now up to 114 points or 23.6%, a gain of 0.8 percentage points since last Wednesday. He still trails Brian Topp by 74 endorsement points or 15.3%, but these are the first new endorsements he has gained in some time.

Mulcair's biggest gain came from the endorsement of Ed Schreyer. He is a former MP, former NDP Premier of Manitoba, and former Governor-General. Mulcair also picked up the endorsements of former BC MP Lyle Kristiansen and current BC MLA Claire Trevana.

The next biggest gainer was Peggy Nash, up 6.4 endorsement points to 95.4, or 19.8% of all currently available endorsement points. That is a gain of 0.3 percentage points. However, while Nash was steadily gaining on Mulcair, the gap has widened between them by 3.6 endorsement points.

Nash's most important endorsement this week came from the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, which counts some 65,000 people as members. In addition, Nash also got the support of Quebec MP Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet.

Brian Topp gained 5.5 points and now stands at 188, or 38.9%. That is a drop for Topp of 1.1 percentage points, as others have made larger gains. He earned the support of Quebec MP Isabelle Morin (who is also the chair of the NDP's youth caucus), as well as that of BC MLAs Kathy Corrigan, Raj Chouhan, and Lana Popham.

Finally, Robert Chisholm got the endorsement of former Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton. This bumped Chisholm up five points to 27.4, or 5.7% of the total. That is a 0.8 percentage point gain for Chisholm, who despite his problems in the French debate has managed to pick-up the support of two former or current provincial leaders.

(Click here to learn more about the endorsement system and here for how the points are awarded.)

None of the other contenders gained any important endorsements, and there have been no changes in position from last Wednesday.

To follow all of the updates to the endorsement rankings, you can click on the tag at the bottom of this post or on the link in the "Special Coverages" section in the right-hand column. You can also check out the posts on the now completed Bloc leadership race.

Let's break the NDP endorsement rankings down by region:

British Columbia: Topp 57.5, Cullen 14.0, Nash 10.0, Mulcair 3.0, Dewar 2.0, Ashton 1.0
Prairies: Ashton 10.0, Mulcair 9.0, Topp 7.0, Dewar 5.5
Ontario: Topp 93.5, Nash 31.5, Mulcair 17.5, Dewar 10.5, Chisholm 5.0
Quebec: Mulcair 82.0, Topp 15.0, Saganash 7.5, Ashton 7.5, Nash 5.0
Atlantic Canada: Nash 48.9, Chisholm 22.4, Topp 15.0, Mulcair 2.5

This gives us an idea of the strength of each campaign in each part of the country. Topp is clearly in front in British Columbia and Ontario, but is also present in the Prairies, in Quebec, and in Atlantic Canada. Mulcair, like Topp, has some support in every part of the country but is less of a factor on the two coasts.

Nash is doing well in Ontario and in Atlantic Canada, where she leads thanks to the support of Alexa McDonough and Lorraine Michael. Chisholm's strength is also based in Atlantic Canada.

And then we see the regional bases of the next tier of contenders. Ashton is strongest in her home region of the Prairies, while Dewar is also present there and in Ontario. Cullen is the main opponent to Topp in British Columbia while Saganash pulls some support from the Quebec membership.

Endorsements are, of course, only one part of the picture. But I think they do give an idea of what may be happening on the ground. I imagine, however, that Paul Dewar is doing far better among the party's members than he is doing among the party's elite.

I also imagine that a good deal of endorsements are still coming. There are still many MPs who have not sided with one candidate or another (and they may continue do so right up to the vote), and we have not heard from some of the current party leaders (British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and PEI) and many former leaders. The Ontario NDP has also been very quiet, with only two MPPs making endorsements. There are still a lot of points on the table.