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.


  1. Mulcair can't become NDP leader, he just can't.

    His temperament is not becoming of a leader of the opposition, and his peacock display of Quebec chauvinism during the unfortunate Maclean's cover story debacle told me all I needed to know about the Honourable Member for Outremont.

  2. "Mulcair can't become NDP leader, he just can't."

    Translation: The Tory war room is worried about Mulcair.

  3. I'm pulling for Mulcair, he is the best we have as NDPers. I like his goal of targeting non traditional NDP voters, that's exactly what we need.

  4. I'm surprised Saganash isn't pulling in more endorsements. He's very green, but I would have thought he'd be a very attractive candidate.

  5. @DL:

    Are you making ASSumptions? I wouldn't.

    I'm saying that it would not be in the NDP's interest to have this man as the face of the party.

  6. I think the NDP would do well under Mulcair, though I wonder how long it will take the NDP to realize that he's really a just a Liberal in disguise. I don't think very many NDPers would be happy to see their party transform into Grit2.0.

    Eric - Have you taken a look at how things would shape up if you weighted province's endorsement points by the number of NDP members in each province? It'd be interesting to look at weighting them based on the projected NDP membership in each Province (given that we now have some idea how their membership signups are going).

    The reason I bring this up is because while the endorsements capture a big chunk of the dynamics of this race, I feel membership drives will be a pretty big factor too (especially for Mulcair).

  7. I've thought about it, but it isn't so cut-and-dry. Where does Broadbent fall? He was the federal leader but he was also from Ontario. What about an MP like Godin? He's from New Brunswick but he is well known among francophones elsewhere. Roy Romanow is from Saskatchewan but he's a national figure.

    Membership is, I think, a very important but very different factor. This system is all about endorsements and tracking them - weighing it by region and the like makes the system into something different.

  8. I think that it is an error to count the candidate themselves as an endorser. At the moment, 9.2% of the endorsement points are from the candidates themselves. It gives the candidates on the bottom a boost that I think does not reflect reality. In the case of Nathan Cullen, 10 of his 14 points are from himself.

    If you factor out that, the current rankings would be:
    Topp 188.0 - 42.7%
    Mulcair 106.5 - 24.2%
    Nash 90.4 - 20.5%
    Chisholm 22.4 - 5.1%
    Ashton 13.5 - 3.1%
    Dewar 10.5 - 2.4%
    Saganash 5.0 - 1.1%
    Cullen 4.0 - 0.9%

    Next, I think there needs to be some sort of fading of the value of past experience. Is a 6 term MP worth 50% more than a 4 term MP? IN the case of BC, I would argue that many of the MLAs have a large impact on the candidate's campaign than the MPs. In BC the brightest and best run for the NDP provincially.

    Finally, the value of Alexa McDonough and Ed Broadbent seem to be high in comparison to others. McDonough has as much value as all the candidates running. That does not sound right. Ed Broadbent gets 80 points even though he lost all the elections he ran in while meanwhile Ed Shreyer and Roy Romanow are worth 7 and 5 points each, even though they managed to win elections.

    Broadbent and McDonough are much too high, Shreyer and Romanow are too low. On no planet would the endorsement of Carole James be worth more than that of Roy Romanow.

  9. I strongly disagree. The one thing a candidate like Cullen has going for him is his experience. And the reason Mulcair is a contender and Singh is not is because of their relative experience and profile. I think that the candidate's own "endorsement" is a major factor.

    As to your second set of points, the endorsement points system has been tested so they aren't entirely plucked out of nowhere. It might give some counter-intuitive results, but it is what it is.

  10. And, I should point out, as with my seat projection model the goal is always uniformity. Sure, I could give Romanow more points and McDonough less, but based on what? And how do you determine that?

  11. That is ultimately the question, how do you weight them? More weight should be given to having become premier and less to being federal leader. Leaders should get points based on how many times they were elected to lead a government, how many times they were official opposition etc. McDonough was a failure as a federal leader whereas Romanow was a success.

    More weight should be given to the MLAs. In three of the provinces, BC, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, the MLAs have a lot more weight than the MPs (though there are still no Sask MPs).

    The NDP has no history of being a major party federally and therefore the federal wing of the party in provinces like BC are really the much weaker of the two. It is that provincial strength that you do not seem to be capturing.

    I get you point on Cullen v Singh and that is is his experience as MP that got him into the door. But I think you see that in the number of endorsements they manage to get. It also highlights how much weight you put on terms as am MP and make all of them equal. I think you need to rethink this as it puts a huge amount of weight on NDP MPs that in most cases really do not have the gravitas to influence the membership.

    In BC the endorsement of Brian Topp by John Horgan is worth a lot more than endorsement of Thomas Mulcair by any of the first term MPs

  12. Good points re: the membership weighting.

    On Bernard's points, I personally feel that long-term MPs and people who have held multiple positions are being over-counted a bit. Intuitively one would expect at least some sort of diminishing returns here. If someone was to go from a back-bench MLA in a third party in a smallish province to MP and the federal leader over the course of their career, I don't think the time as an MLA half a century ago would make much of a difference for the value of the endorsement.

    The same applies to MPs. Certainly a two-term MP is more valuable than an 1-termer, but I doubt a 4-term MP's voice is actually that much more valuable than a 3 term MP and so on. John Nunziata was elected 3 times a Liberal and I'm pretty sure his voice never counted for dick all in the party...

    Waxing math-nerd-engineer here for a second, but perhaps where there are multiple positions or terms, the values could be added in quadrature? That'd still confer an extra advantage for having served longer / in more positions, but not so overwhelming of one. I wonder if using such an approach would yield better results for past races?

  13. Some good points, certainly, but my system is based on past races and relies upon uniformity. A lot of the points raised rely on examples of individuals - but what is it about these individuals that can be quantified that makes them more valuable? That is, in many cases, impossible to capture with a uniform system.

  14. Eric, I used the individuals to point out how I thought it was not working. I think you system is underestimating the provincial level and over estimating the federal

    There is an important distinction within the NDP that you are not capturing, the fact that in three provinces the NDP has a long history of either being government of challenging to be government. Someone that has been a premier certainly has a lot more weight in my opinion than a leader of a party that consistently lost the federal elections.

    What I suggest as changes:
    1) A decreasing value for multiple terms
    1) Federal leader weighting lower - 10 points for the first election and then 7.5 and then 5 points.
    2) Provincial premier weighting higher - what value, I am not certain
    3) MLAs - count them by elections.
    4) Cabinet Ministers - they count for more. An ex cabinet minister like Joy MacPhail carries more weight than most sitting MPs
    5) Leadership candidates in provinces where the NDP is expected to win government at some point. IN the case of BC, something like 15,000 or 20,000 of the members were signed up by the three main campaigns last year. It means John Horgan comes with 4000-5000 probable votes.
    6) Past service should be weighted based on long ago and for how long. A one term MP in the 1970s is not going to have much weight. Right now you weight that person the same as a several term cabinet minister in Manitoba.

    Finally, I think your tiering of the provinces is under weighting Manitoba and Saskatchewan

  15. Have you tested those numbers on past races? Because they would likely mess up how the system has worked in past races. I did not choose the values randomly.

    There is far too much focus on the ability of individuals to literally deliver support. The system is more abstract than that.

    Broadbent and Romanow, for example, are both supporting Topp. So what difference does it make what their relative worth is?

    Is Horgan worth more than the average BC MLA? Undoubtedly, but is his support the reason why Topp has the support of so many other BC MLAs and MPs? You can just remove points from them and give them to Horgan, if that makes it easier mentally.

    Is McDonough over-valued? Maybe, but might she also represent the fact that Nash is the major female candidate and will probably be getting more support from women?

    Mulcair's Quebec MPs might be unable to deliver real support, but they represent Mulcair's probable dominance of the Quebec vote, and how that might influence voters from outside of the province who are mindful of the need to hold on to Quebec.

    There is more to it than just comparing the values - endorsements often come in regional bunches, meaning that the more influential individuals are influencing those around them. What each individual gets is less important than the net effect.

  16. Is it just me or does the NDP leadership race have many similarities to the Republican primaries down south? I see similarities in terms of the quality of candidates and their ability of electoral success.

    With our nine NDP candidates, I can only see Mulcair and Nash solidifying the NDP's position as the dominant center-left party. All other candidates would concede seats to the Liberals and Bloc.

    Dewar, Cullen or Chisholm may have been suitable leaders if the NDP was still a fourth party that did not need to rely on Quebec. These guys are at maximum junior cabinet material.

    Topp does not have the persona to be a party leader. Ashton, at 29, is too young to become party leader. Saganash does not have experience outside of Quebec and aboriginal communities. Singh is a one issue candidate.

  17. Well, adding multiple positions in quadrature would be consistent across the board. I'm not married to that particular form of down weighting - it's just the most consistent one that I could think off the top of my head. For example you'd have (4*20^2)^0.5=40 points for Broadbent, or (6*2.5^2)^0.5=6.1 for Davies, or (2^2+1^2)^0.5=2.3 for Dawn Black.

    Alternately I advocate the dart board method ;).

  18. Eric,

    Out of curiousity, now that the new seats bill looks like it will receive royal assent before the end of the year, will you be changing the name of the Blog to At least I hope you've reserved the name.

  19. I will not be changing the name.

  20. Someone already owns and .ca too :(

  21. That's fine, I'm not changing the name! The site's been in operation since 2008 and the new seats won't be in place until, what, 2013 or 2014? By then, will have been around for 5 or 6 years.

  22. "Is it just me or does the NDP leadership race have many similarities to the Republican primaries down south?"

    Its just you. The only similarity between the NDP and the GOP is in the number of candidates. Otherwise I see no similarity at all. Who is the NDP equivalent of Herman Cain? Who is Mitt Romney? The GOP contest has all these loony Tea Party types like Bachmann and Santorum etc...the NDP in contrast has a very moderate slate of people running - no one from the "Socialist Caucus" in the contest and the one "fringe" candidate Martin Singh does nothing but talk about small business.

  23. I'm just bugging you there Eric :) Your site is great.

  24. Having just seen a series of endorsements by former ambassadors and international affairs types for Dewar, how does your model take into account people with profiles that the NDP membership might appreciate but that are not elected members? Given that labour endorsements are being given weight, surely some of these other groups should be as well...

    Tim E.

  25. The system does not take them into account.


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