Thursday, January 24, 2013

With Takhar, does Kennedy stand a chance?

A report in the Toronto Star this morning says that Gerard Kennedy, who finished third in the delegate elections for the Ontario Liberal leadership race, is pushing hard to court Harinder Takhar, who finished fourth. Takhar's support would vault Kennedy into second place among elected delegates, making a path for the leadership much easier to map out. But just how easy is it?

After what happened in the last two delegated conventions for the federal and provincial Liberals, many suspect that a third-place finisher like Kennedy could work his way to the top through the balloting process. But Rob Silver, writing for Maclean's, does an excellent job of showing that Dalton McGuinty and Stéphane Dion's recent victories were exceptions rather than the rule. In addition, the mountain Kennedy has to climb is steeper than either McGuinty or Dion managed in their leadership wins.

But what if Kennedy was able to get Takhar over to his side? Takhar is probably the biggest fish to land in the OLP leadership race, as he is likely to have much more sway over his delegates than those of the other candidates. It is not hard to imagine that Takhar could justify moving over to Kennedy instead of Sandra Pupatello, who many have seen as the candidate he is most likely to support. Takhar would have much more to gain from being the kingmaker for Kennedy than he would being just one piece of Pupatello's victory. With her lead among the elected and ex-officio delegates, Pupatello could probably win without an explicit endorsement from Takhar. Kennedy would have a much bigger favour to return.

When I last mapped out the OLP convention, I did not consider the possibility of Takhar moving over to Kennedy (except in the scenario where I had Charles Sousa and Eric Hoskins endorsing him as well). So let's run the exercise again, with a few different assumptions.

First, we have to re-allocate the ex-officio delegates based on the endorsements that have been made since my original post. Instead of just doing a simple count, I will use the endorsement points system that I am currently employing for the federal Liberal leadership race. Note that the system is designed for federal races, but that it was also calibrated in part with provincial races.

ENDORSEMENT RANKINGS

Sandra Pupatello - 212 points - 48.8%
Kathleen Wynne - 131 points - 30.1%
Gerard Kennedy - 37.5 points - 8.6%
Eric Hoskins - 29.5 points - 6.8%
Charles Sousa - 17 points - 3.9%
Harinder Takhar - 7.5 points - 1.7%

This is one case where I suspect the endorsement rankings will lean too heavily towards the frontrunner, and will almost certainly reverse the order of the bottom three. It is extremely unlikely that Pupatello will come that close to winning, or even approaching 40%, on the first ballot. Instead, we will use this to distribute the 419 ex-officio delegates, with Pupatello taking 205, Wynne 126, Kennedy 36, Hoskins 29, Sousa 16, and Takhar seven.

We also have to distribute the 67 independent delegates that were elected. Instead of giving Wynne 70% of them, as I did last time due to Glen Murray's endorsement, I will give her 50% and distribute the rest proportionate to their elected and estimated ex-officio delegate support. That gives us the following first ballot estimate:

FIRST BALLOT ESTIMATE

Sandra Pupatello - 729 delegates - 32.0%
Kathleen Wynne - 628 delegates - 27.6%
Gerard Kennedy - 302 delegates - 13.3%
Harinder Takhar - 256 delegates - 11.2%
Charles Sousa - 224 delegates - 9.8%
Eric Hoskins - 137 delegates - 6.0%

Compared to the first ballot estimate I made in my previous post, Pupatello and Sousa picked up an extra point while Kennedy dropped one.

Now that we have made a plausible estimate of first ballot support, let's see how Takhar's support could change the race for Kennedy. We will assume that Hoskins and Sousa drop out and decline to make an endorsement, releasing their delegates. We will distribute their delegates proportionately to the top three candidates only. That gives us the following result:

Sandra Pupatello - 887 delegates - 39.0%
Kathleen Wynne - 765 delegates - 33.6%
Gerard Kennedy - 368 delegates - 16.2%
Harinder Takhar - 256 delegates - 11.2%

And now we see the problem. If Takhar publicly endorsed Kennedy and asked his delegates to support him, even with all 256 of them voting for Kennedy he would end up with only 624 delegates and 27.4% support. That still leaves him behind Wynne and forced to drop-off the ballot. Without higher ex-officio delegate support, he would need Takhar's endorsement to influence a large number of delegates that have already supported Pupatello and Wynne to go his way.

Could he have picked them up after the first and second ballots from Sousa and Hoskins? Instead of getting 18.3% of their delegates, as I awarded him earlier, he would need to get some 38%, and all of them coming from Wynne, dropping her to 18% of the Sousa and Hoskins delegates. That does not seem like a plausible scenario - if Kennedy took a larger share of the Sousa and Hoskins delegates, some of them would undoubtedly come from Pupatello instead of Wynne, increasing the number he would need.

Kennedy would stand a chance if he managed to capture some 50% of the delegates that initially supported Sousa and Hoskins, or if he was able to attract those delegates committed to Pupatello and Wynne on the first ballot. But if he was able to take 50% of the delegates released by Sousa and Hoskins, with the rest going to Pupatello and Wynne proportionately, we would get this result:

Sandra Pupatello - 826 delegates - 36.3%
Kathleen Wynne - 711 delegates - 31.2%
Gerard Kennedy - 483 delegates - 21.2%
Harinder Takhar - 256 delegates - 11.2%

Mathematically, it is now possible for Takhar's support to vault him into second place, pushing Wynne off the ballot. But it is not exactly an easy task: he needs 229 of the 256 delegates alloted to Takhar in this scenario, or 89.5%, with all of the remaining delegates going to Pupatello. If even 10 of those delegates went to Wynne instead, Kennedy would need over 93% of Takhar's delegates. In addition to Kennedy taking half of the delegates who supported Sousa and Hoskins, could Takhar really deliver almost the totality of his elected delegates? It starts to stretch the imagination.

Kennedy needs the convention to go incredibly well for him. Unless he somehow becomes an establishment favourite and picks up a swathe of ex-officios (which, considering his history, seems improbable), he probably needs Takhar to endorse him immediately after the first ballot if he can't somehow get Hoskins or Sousa to do so. With Kennedy managing such a coup after the first ballot, he might be able to show himself to be the candidate with the momentum, giving him the necessary support from Hoskins and Sousa. Otherwise, it is difficult to see why those delegates committed to Sousa or Hoskins would vote for Kennedy instead of one of the frontrunners, or why the delegates committed to Pupatello or Wynne would suddenly jump ship. The numbers are there for Kennedy, but the odds are very slim.

28 comments:

  1. As a delegate who would like to win the next election, I look to your earlier analysis that shows both KW and SP winning in the range of 15-45 seats in the next election, and GK winning about 60. This is an important consideration that might help to increase his odds above what your formula takes into account.

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  2. I really think the Ontario Liberals are fools to not pick GK. Pity most of his team is off working on Trudeau's campaign.

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  3. Is it not possible for Kennedy to get both Hoskins & Sousa, plus Takhar on his side?

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    1. If -- and that's a very big if -- Kennedy is extremely lucky or a far better politician than we've seen to this point.

      It's a possibility, anything is, but the apparent consensus from Liberals is that Kennedy has burned a lot of bridges within the party, has had a whole bunch of recent leadership and election losses, and is seen by many as "yesterday's man". That much baggage makes it unlikely that he can draw much late-ballot support, especially in an insider-heavy and backroom-driven contest like this.

      Delete
  4. Hopefully the delegates look beyond the narrow internal working of the party and select the candidate with the broadest appeal to Ontarians in the next election - GK.

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  5. The funny thing is that Kennedy has more votes in him than either Pup or Kathleen. He could win a majority and is the only one who could. Liberal voters and potential voters like him. It is party brass, insiders and especially Blue Liberals who can't stand him.

    George Orwell.

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    1. I'm a Blue Liberal and I like him :(

      Granted, my OLP membership has lapsed.

      Delete
  6. The polls have repeatedly shown that the Progressive Conservatives will win the next election. If the Liberals really want to stay in government, they cannot pick Kennedy. Kennedy is only popular because people know him after he's run in two other leadership races. The Liberals have to pick a leader that will appeal to blue Liberals and red Tories that are planning to vote PC. The NDP is not much of a threat considering their vote is terribly inefficient (they have not yet lead in any polls). Even if the NDP were to do well, the PCs would probably do a lot better, so they should be the Liberals' main target.

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    1. "The polls have repeatedly shown that the Progressive Conservatives will win the next election."

      That was until Hudak unveiled his latest insanity. An all out assault on the school system including no full day kindergarten, staff slashing and other actions.

      I guess the party forgot that parents VOTE !!

      They won't be happy when the NDP and Libs start flaunting this latest PC insanity !!

      Delete
    2. The NDP would do well if the OLP picks a "Blue Liberal" candidate. We saw the progressive vote rally around the NDP during the K-W by election, and it could happen province wide in the future. The Liberals look very uncomfortable governing in the center-right like they did the past year.

      Though like you, I do believe the PCs are the party to beat. The party has nominated most of their candidates, they are talking policy and seem ready for an election.

      Delete
    3. "(they have not yet lead in any polls)"

      http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1320295--ontario-liberals-no-poll-bounce-for-grits-after-leadership-campaign

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  7. The Liberals becoming Hudak-light is the best way to guarantee Liberal Armageddon. Hudak's true believers are not going to jump ship and pandering them to them will only cause the progressive Liberals to jump ship in the other direction. Kennedy can hold together the Liberal right and left as can Sousa or Wynne. Pupatello would drive the party into Armageddon. It seems once again the Liberal establishment are living decades in the past. They have not learned from the Federal debacle when both the right and left ate their lunch and are only looking right. Howarth must be laughing at the thought of fighting two right wing parties.

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  8. Ontario Liberal Party need Gerard Kennedy to not face the fate of Federal Liberal Party.
    Once, You look at the scandals, Ms. Wynne and Ms. Puppatelo was part of the decision makers when all this happened.

    People don not forget very easily and election is five months away.

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  9. Ontario Liberal Party face the fate of Federal Liberal's by picking somebody other than Gerard Kennedy.

    People have very long memory and elections are five months away.

    Mr..Hudak will cry scandals scandals............

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  10. The sweet spot for the Librrals is on the left end of the Liberal Party where they poach soft NDP votes. Since the Liberals tanked de to their idiotic atack on teachers witness KW byelection, all of the Liberals lost votes went to the NDP. Only Kennedy can recover those vote and make the Liberals competitive. Their problem in the Liberal party as Darrell Bricker points out. 80% of Liberal voters are centre left but their leadership, McGuinty, Duncan, Bently, Broten, Pupatello are centre right.

    George Orwell.

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  11. A new Forum Research poll is out showing the NDP leading the PCs and Liberals 35-32-27. This is the highest result for the NDP since the election and the lowest result for the PCs. Surprisingly, Forum still has the NDP in third in terms of seat projections (27 seats) with the third-place Liberals tied with the PCs at 40 seats each. The NDP leads in the 905 region, and Northern and Southwestern Ontario. The PCs lead only in Eastern Ontario while the Liberals only lead in the 416 region. It does seem quite odd that the NDP still has such terrible seat projections with leads in most of the province.

    https://www.forumresearch.com/forms/News%20Archives/News%20Releases/97990_Ontario_-_Political_Issues_Poll_(Forum_Research)_(20130123).pdf

    This poll does outline the fact that the Liberals need to be smart about who they pick as leader in tomorrow's convention. While all three leaders would still hold more than a quarter of decided voters, it is not enough to stay in government with such strong opposition.

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  12. Dead wrong! We lose when we forget the centre.

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  13. The centre is for the weak willed and those who are indecisive.

    Right wing Liberals are dumbfounded that those who attack public sector labour go down not up. 22% work in the public sector and move away fast from anyone who attacks the public sector whetherthey are named Rae or Harris or McGuinty.

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  14. With Wynne, if the Liberals play their cards right, get the teachers sweet, they have a chance but that Forum poll means they have to work pretty hard and smart to even be in it.

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  15. The Liberals picked a loser in Wynne. Unfortunately this likely paves the way for the Hudak neo conservatives. Wonder how much they can do in the way of damage to Ontario before getting thrown out. Hudal feels like Mike Harris , only worse.

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    1. Maybe Earl and I tend to agree. BUT and it is a Big But Hudak is demonstrating a real ability to grab defeat from the jaws of victory !!

      His latest insanity re education totally ignores the fact that parents VOTE and they vote for the best thing for their kids and to hell with the cost.

      I guess it appeals to the Hudak-Davis big business agenda though ?

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    2. To note, Earl, Kathleen Wynne has won three elections in a row in her constituency; what official election have you won recently that gives you the entitled air to call her a "loser"?

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  16. I think the government will survive till September and then Wynne will pull the plug herself.

    If the Liberals play their cards right, they can squeeze another minority government, albeit slightly smaller.

    The Liberal strategy would be to try to hold their 53 seats and target a few ridings they lost narrowly during the last election. Perth-Wellington and Parkdale High Park can be competitive with John Wilkinson and Gerard Kennedy. Trinity-Spadina, Thornhill and Halton, also had strong first time candidates that could make those ridings competitive again.

    The Wynne Liberals biggest threat would be the NDP in Windsor and Northern Ontario. Without Duncan/Pupatello, the Windsor ridings could go the other way. There are four Northern ridings the Liberals hold that are up for grabs.

    Wynne knows the pulse of Toronto and should be able fend off the NDP from gaining seats in the city.

    The 905 suburbs will be a different story. These ridings go as a group to the PCs or Libeals. So it will be all or nothing for Wynne or Hudak.

    At this point in time, the next Ontario election is truly a toss up. All three parties have their advantages and disadvantages. The Liberals currently have a greater vote efficiency, they can win the plurality of seats and lose the popular vote to the PCs or NDP.

    - Maple

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    1. Wynne will pull the plug shortly after she calls the House back. The longer she waits the more difficult it will be to win an election.

      Beauchesne

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  17. There are 12 Libs that could easily be lost to the NDP, 4 in north, 1 in Ottawa, Oshawa, 4 in Toronto, both Windsor seats.

    Hard to believe Forum Poll that first and 34% would only get the NDP 27 seats and 3rd place due to maldistribution. That is terrible.

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    1. Oshawa is currently held by the PCs.

      The 4 North and 2 Windsor ridings can be easy pickings for the NDP, and but Toronto and Ottawa ridings will be more difficult.

      Yasir Naqvi is a very strong MPP and likely won't be beaten in Ottawa South, and which is a NDP stronghold federally.

      With Wynne as Liberal leader, potentially weak ridings such as York West, York South Weston and Scarborough Southwest will be more stronger for the Libs. Scarborough Rouge River will be an exception if the NDP nominates their party president Neethan Shan.

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    2. Anon Jan 27 1707:

      It is not maldistribution (sic) of seats that causes the NDP to win so few it is an inefficient NDP vote!

      Beauchesne

      Delete
  18. Which is why only Proportional Representation is fair.

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