Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mulcair lands big endorsements

This past week was an important one for Thomas Mulcair, as he captured more of Robert Chisholm's endorsements and received his first nod from a major labour organization.
Two debates were also held by local bodies of the NDP in Sudbury over the weekend and last night in Saskatoon. Fundraising details were also released, indicating that Brian Topp and Thomas Mulcair are well ahead of the others, while Nathan Cullen is closer to the group of frontrunners than he is to the second tier of candidates.

But on the endorsement front the week was a good one for Thomas Mulcair. He got the endorsement of four Nova Scotia MLAs, Graham Steele (Finance Minister), David Wilson, Ross Landry, and Brian Skabar. The first three had endorsed Chisholm when he was still in the race.

Mulcair also picked up the endorsement of former Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton, who had also endorsed Chisholm. Mulcair has now gobbled up four of Robert Chisholm's endorsements, more than any other candidate (Peggy Nash and Topp have one apiece).

Most important, however, is the endorsement of the United Food and Commercial Workers, the largest private sector union in Canada representing some 250,000 members. It's important because it is Mulcair's first major labour endorsement, finally putting him in the company of Topp, Nash, and Paul Dewar, all of whom have received the endorsement of large labour unions.

(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.)

The next biggest gainer this week was Paul Dewar, who received the endorsement of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, a 39,000-strong union, as well as the support of former Victoria MP John Brewin.

Niki Ashton received the nod from Michael Sather, a BC MLA, while Peggy Nash got the support of Sharon Blady, an MLA from Manitoba.

The rankings have not changed this week, but the race has gotten a lot closer. Brian Topp has dropped 1.4 percentage points to only 30.5% of all endorsement points, his lowest point of the campaign so far. Peggy Nash is down one percentage point to 23.9%, while Thomas Mulcair is up 2.4 percentage points to 22.7%. He is now only 7.8 endorsement points behind Nash.

Paul Dewar has not budged from 14% of all endorsement points, while Nathan Cullen is down 0.2 points to 4%. Ashton is unchanged at 3.7%, while Roméo Saganash is down 0.1 point to 1.1%. Martin Singh remains stuck at zero points.

Endorsements and fundraising seem to point to Topp, Nash, and Mulcair being the top three in the race, with Mulcair perhaps being better positioned than Nash. They also seem to point to Dewar being in fourth spot, but he is one of the candidates that has the most second (and subsequent) ballot potential. A candidate like Mulcair may not have as much second ballot potential, meaning he has to pile up as much support on the first ballot as possible. But Michael Ignatieff demonstrated how limited late ballot growth can be in the 2006 race.

Worth noting is that Martin Singh raised more money than either Ashton or Saganash (though virtually all of it seems to have come from the Sikh community). He will obviously get more than zero per cent of the vote and I imagine Saganash will do better as well.

The one candidate I think the endorsement rankings is underestimating the most is Nathan Cullen. He had some impressive fundraising figures when compared to the others. He was only a few thousand dollars behind Paul Dewar. He's been getting some of the best press as well, so he could very well be much closer to the four frontrunners on the first ballot than the rankings might suggest. Whether he has a chance to emerge as the winner, however, is another thing entirely.


  1. Probably doesn't change anything but Ross Landry is also the justice minister

  2. More than six weeks to go in this long and boring leadership race.

    Most of the candidates have a hard time distinguishing themselves from others.

    Topp and Nash want the party to stick to its traditional roots, but they have not given a compelling answer to how they are going to bring Canadians to their ideological tent. Topp talks about increasing income taxes. How is Topp going to convince middle of the road Canadians with such policies? How about policies that would interest both the NDP faithful and Canadians in general?

    Dewar thinks that a French tutor is all thats needed to keep most of Quebec's 59 seats. He has yet to give a reason to choose him over any of the French speaking candidates.

    Mulcair wants to move the party to the center. How would Mulcair differentiate his party and the resurgent Liberals, who he is more ideologically aligned too.

    Cullen distinguished himself with his proposal to co-operate with the Liberals and Greens. A policy like this brings forward debate and controversy. That is healthy in a leadership debate. No other NDP candidate came with a dynamic and bold policy.

  3. I don't see Mulcair moving the party to the center. It is just something that people repeat over and over until it sticks. Of course if you get more votes, you become closer to the center by sheer definition of center ( you can argue that the center shifts as well). But his record as environment minister is very good, he can't be more lefty than that.

    1. Mulcair doesn't differ from the other candidates on policies. But they are more prone to the sort of rhetoric that allows the other parties to misstate NDP policies and get away with it. So, for example, Bob Rae claimed at the Liberal convention that the NDP wants to shut down the oilsands. It's untrue but with anyone other than Mulcair as NDP leader, such mud will stick to the party.

  4. Where there once stood 8, there now stands 7. Saganash out for the count.

  5. Mulcair seems centrist but most capable to confront Harper. Imagine 4 more years of him!


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