Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dewar closes in on front-runners

In this week's NDP leadership endorsement rankings update, Paul Dewar makes a big leap forward with important endorsements out of Ontario and Manitoba. Thomas Mulcair also lands a few endorsements from both ends of the country.
But it was Dewar who made the biggest news this past week, thanks to the endorsement of Charlie Angus, four-term MP for Timmins-James Bay. Angus is one of the more well-known MPs in the NDP caucus and has been representing his riding since 2004. His endorsement awards Dewar ten points, but more importantly increases his caucus support to two MPs, both of them important figures in the party. Angus also helps Dewar in the all-important province of Ontario, joining former MP Tony Martin, current MPP Rosario Marchese, a couple labour unions and former Ontario NDP leader Mike Cassidy as supporters from within the Ontario wing of the party.

Mike Cassidy was the other important endorsement that Dewar picked up this week. Cassidy led the Ontario NDP from 1979 to 1982 and was MPP and then MP for Ottawa Centre from 1971 to 1988. This endorsements gives Dewar an extra 12 points, and is a good representation of the support Dewar should be able to call upon in some quarters of Ontario.

But Dewar did not stop there, he also announced the endorsement of three Manitoba MLAs: Andrew Swan, Deanne Crothers, and Matt Wiebe. This brings his total of endorsements from the Manitoba NDP to 13, more than a third of the province's NDP legislators. These three endorsements give him an extra 1.5 points.

In total, that bumps Paul Dewar up 23.5 points to 75.8 endorsement points, or 14.2% of all available endorsement points. That is a 3.8 percentage point gain since last week. He is now nipping at the heels of Peggy Nash.

(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.)

Thomas Mulcair's most important endorsement from this past week comes from Don Davies, two-term MP from Vancouver-Kingsway. Mulcair already has the support of a few MLAs from British Columbia, but this is the first caucus support Mulcair has received from the province, home to a large proportion of the NDP's members. Davies's endorsement gives Mulcair an extra five points.

Mulcair also announced the endorsement of two northern Ontario figures, former MPP Elie Martel and former MP for Thunder Bay-Nipigon Ernie Epp. As former provincial legislators are not counted in the system, Mulcair gains two points from Epp's endorsement only. Nevertheless, the two of them give Mulcair more support in the northern part of the province, adding to the endorsement of MP John Rafferty.

Lastly, after getting the support of Herb Dickieson, former leader of the PEI NDP, Mulcair this week received only the second endorsement to come out of Atlantic Canada since Robert Chisholm, Nova Scotia MP and former head of the party in that province, dropped out of the race. Mulcair received the support of the PEI Federation of Labour, an organization the size of which I have been unable to discover. I've assumed that it is of similar size to that of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, proportionately speaking, so I've awarded Mulcair an extra 0.6 points on the assumption that the union represents some 10,000 Islanders.

In all, that gives Mulcair an extra 7.6 points in the endorsement rankings. Normally that would not be a bad week's work, but compared to Dewar's score it is relatively small. It does keep him treading water, however, as he has managed to gain 0.1 percentage points. He now has 125.9 points, or 23.6% of all available endorsement points.

That is important, as with a lack of endorsements coming out of any other camp the other candidates have all taken a step backwards in their share of endorsement points. Brian Topp is down 2.2 points to 36% and Nash is down 1.2 points to 18.8%. Niki Ashton (-0.2%), Nathan Cullen (-0.2%), and Roméo Saganash (-0.1%) have all dropped a little as well.

Paul Dewar is certainly on a roll, picking up major endorsements in the last few weeks. But both Brian Topp and Thomas Mulcair have tried to hold their own with endorsements of their own. Peggy Nash, at least in the endorsement race, appears to be falling behind.

Caucus support tells a somewhat different story, however. Mulcair has the largest crop of MPs behind him with 35, not including himself, giving him 39 election wins' worth of support. Topp comes up second with 11 MPs supporting him totaling 25 terms. Then it drops off by a huge extent.

Peggy Nash has six MPs behind her with a total of eight terms in office, while Paul Dewar has only two MPs supporting him, totaling six terms in office. But Niki Ashton (three MPs, three terms) and Roméo Saganash (two MPs, two terms) are in the same league in terms of caucus support. That tells us that, at least at this stage of the race, within the NDP caucus it is Thomas Mulcair and Brian Topp who are the real front-runners. On this score, Nash and Dewar have a long way to go.

However, it doesn't always go according to the whims of the caucus. Jack Layton and Adrian Dix did not win the leadership of their respective parties with more caucus support than their rivals. On the other hand, Greg Selinger and Andrea Horwath did.

There's a lot of campaigning still to go, and the Dewar camp has already hinted that they have some endorsements coming out of Quebec soon. And with the debates now starting to roll, things should begin to shake loose.


  1. Peggy Nash was recently endorsed by Peter Kormos, former MPP for Welland. They have an event on Thursday together. Kormos recently retired, but was a prominent MPP and is incredibly popular. This will probably tilt Niagara voters to Nash.

  2. I like Paul Dewar. He is a moderate New Democrat that could appeal to non-traditional supporters in English Canada. However, his weak French would be a big concern in Quebec.

    Dewar could claim he is learning French and living with a French tutor, I doubt he would have the time and energy to learn the language and be the leader of the official opposition. Dewar would have been a good choice for the NDP prior to the breakthrough in Quebec.

    I think the final ballot would be a two-way between Mulcair and Nash. Mulcair would represent the moderate wing of the party, while Nash would represent the labour/social democrat side. Both candidates have the experience to bring both factions of the party, along with bringing the Quebec/RoC faction together. Topp cannot do it. Dewar cannot do it.

  3. Ive said for months that Nash should be considered the favourite in this race (the three polling ahead of her have significant deficiencies), but if Dewar's French is progressing at the rate he claims he is then Nash should have a real fight on her hands.

    I still maintain that Topp and Mulcair have no chance, and they never did.

  4. Dewar was in Montreal for a French debate on Sunday in Laurier-St-Marie. On several occasions his remarks were so incomprehensible that the audience stayed silent rather than politely applauding because they didn't know what he said.

    With Dewar as leader we lose every seat in Quebec. He's a great candidate in many regards but his French is a train wreck and we simply can't afford that.

  5. please remember thru this that we who have joined the NDP, want a great team spirit and no mud pies tossed about

  6. Do you have a link to a video of this incident in LSM with Dewar?

  7. I don't even know if Nash would be considered a social democrat, probably more socialist.

    Eric, do you have the Forum Research poll (or polls) that had voting intentions as well as numbers on the Liberal leadership? I have seen news stories but they don't give much of a breakdown of any of the results.

  8. Forum has Conservatives at 35%.

    They claim that proves they have gone down since the last election where they recieved 39.6% of the vote.

    However, in their last poll the day before the election Forum pegged CPC support at 36%.

    Keeping in mind the adjustment for error the change of -1% is well within the MOE.

    Variance between polling and actual election outcomes have given us a narrative of the CPC falling and Liberals rebounding.

    None of it is true.

    Never mind, same thing happened right after the 2008 election and the 2011 result stunned everyone.

    I guess people are putting the blinders back on and preparing themselves to be stunned again next go around !

  9. Remind me Anonymous 7:52, what happened with the polls in 2006?

    I'll buy your criticism that the Conservatives are down by less than the 4% this poll suggests (I'd bet more like 1-2%) since the election though. On the Liberals being stagnant point I think you're out to lunch. The final poll of the campaign from Forum had the Liberals at 19%, and the latest Forum poll has them at 25%. That's outside the MOE, as is the drop in NDP support.

    Can anyone find the full poll results for that though? All I see is a press release that doesn't give the full breakdown.

  10. In 2004 and 2006 the finals polls over-estimated Tory support and underestimated Liberal support - so go figure.

  11. If we compare the Forum poll to their previous poll Forum poll from a month ago, it seems like everyone is up - the Tories went up two points from 33% to 35%, the NDP went up one point from 27% to 28% and the Liberals went up 4 points from 21% to 25% - the losses appear to be from BQ, Green and "other". I think these results have to be a disappointment to the Liberals - even after days of SATURATION media coverage of their convention and even after day after day after day of SATURATION media love-ins and hagiographical stories about Bob Rae - the Liberals are still at 25% and still in third place and now have no where to go but down.

  12. Mulcair will tear the party apart. Mass exodus of members and a caucus revolt. We can't afford that.

    1. TO Samantha. That's a rather hysterical analysis for a New Democrat, unless you're not, and really afraid what it would do to the the Con/Libs. Mulcair has the support of about 1/3 of the caucus (yes, mostly from Quebec)but a vast number are still undeclared. Mulcair is probably the one the Con/Libs least want and fear most.

    2. I'm a New Democrat, and I have been for two decades. I've worked with Mulcair and I know what he's like, and how he is disliked by the vast majority of the pre-2011 caucus.

      He puts on a good front stage act, and has only slipped a few times. But backstage is also important, and he won't be the glue that keeps the party together.

    3. Samantha:

      With respect, anybody could affirm that "they worked w/ Mulcair and know what he is like". For all we know, you could be a Conservative or Liberal making this up b/c you are scared of Mulcair.

      We do know, however, that Topp has made very disparaging comments about Mulcair, cirtually implying that he is not a true New Democrat b/c he served in the Charest gov't. (never mind that it's the only federalist party in QC and Mulcair resigned on a question of principle) That kind of attitude spells trouble for party unity.

      As for the other "front-runners": Paul Dewar's French is an embarrassment and Mike Cassidy is making a huge mistake in taking QC voters for granted. Peggy Nash's French is a bit laborious and could also put the party in jeopardy in QC.

  13. Ryan i'll certainly refresh your memory on the issue of past elections and polling variance relative to the CPC.

    '04 - CPC over-estimated
    '06 - CPC slightly over-estimated
    '08 - CPC under-estimated
    '11 - CPC very under-estimated.

    As you see a very clear one directional pattern emerging over four cycles.

    Logic and reason demands that if you are going to doubt this pattern and suggest it will change you need to:

    A) determine what factor/s caused it
    B) explain how/why they will have changed by the next election

    I've already posited that it might have something to do with the CPC's ever increasing fundraising dominance.

    From what I know about the financials that hasn't changed at all.

  14. If the NDP wants to maintain a significant number of seats in Quebec it MUST choose a fluently bilingual leader. Of the candidates only Topp, Mulcair and Saganash make the cut. Dewar's French is embaressing for an Ottawa boy from a political family. Nash is just too plodding and wouldn't cut it in debates. The others are running for vanity or to enhance their place in the party. Sagnash is an impressive man but as a brand new MP and new to the NDP he is not ready to be leader. Topp is a real progressive with a profound knowledge of the country and the policy process. He would be a unifying leader. Mulcair is on the centre - right of the party and he has alienated huge numbers of NDP militants in Quebec. If he is elected he will not unify the party but tear it apart.

  15. Topp can't inspire, Anonymous.

  16. I went to the debate in Montreal Jan. 15 among other things to check out Paul's French. Verdict - he is making very significant progress and held his own for two and a half hours without saying a word in English.

    When I decided to endorse Paul I reflected at some length whether Tom Mulcair shouldn't be favoured if we wanted to sustain the huge NDP bridgehead in Quebec. In the end I concluded that a) it is a very strong group of new MPs and b) the Libs, Conservatives and Bloc were so soundly defeated in Quebec that the NDP position there is secure.

    Paul has deep roots and a deep understanding of the party across Canada, something that Tom has not yet achieved. And he has excelled in the difficult position of foreign affairs critic for the party. Paul still needs time for growth, but as leader he will have that time. Brian Topp has too much to learn to be able to lead the party successfully in the next election. Ditto Tom Mulcair, who so far in Parliament has shown only limited interest in the NDP and its issues outside of Quebec.

    Mike Cassidy, former MP and MPP, Ottawa Centre

    1. Your reasoning that Dewar has that time for growth can also apply to Topp and Mulcair! As well, I wouldn't cavalierly put Quebec in the safe column.


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