Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Pollcast: NDP leadership up for grabs — who wants it?

Last week, B.C. MP Nathan Cullen ruled himself out for the leadership of the NDP. This week, Ontario MPP Cheri DiNovo threw her hat into the ring — "unofficially."

The race to replace Tom Mulcair as leader of the New Democrats is off to a rough start. Where does it go from here?

Cullen, who was seen as a potential front runner, was not the only high-profile New Democrat to turn down the job. Former Nova Scotia MP Megan Leslie, who was also considered a potential future leader, said she wasn't interested in the position shortly after Tom Mulcair lost a leadership review vote at the NDP's convention in April.

So far, DiNovo is the only candidate to express an interest in the leadership. But despite her campaign launch earlier this week, DiNovo says she has no intention of paying the party's $30,000 entrance fee, and so is not an official candidate.

A lot of time remains before party members cast a ballot — the vote will only be held in September or October 2017. It could be some time before better known candidates decide to take the plunge. But who might they be?

Joining me to handicap the early days of the NDP leadership race are two party insiders, Robin MacLachlan, vice president at Summa Strategies, and Sally Housser, senior consultant at Navigator.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump in the all-important electoral college, polls suggest

After finally securing a majority of pledged delegates in the Democratic presidential nomination last night — and a majority of all delegates, including superdelegates, on Monday — Hillary Clinton is now the presumptive Democratic nominee. Only Donald Trump now stands between her and the White House, and her chances still look good against the erratic and unpredictable Republican candidate.

After closing the gap on his Democratic rival, Trump has failed to maintain that forward momentum in recent polls. Though he still trails Clinton by a handful of points nationwide, the electoral map remains an imposing challenge for him.

You can read the rest of this article here. This article also represents the launching of a new U.S. projection model. The full methodology for the new model can be found here. Should be an interesting five months!

British voters leaning Leave as Brexit referendum approaches, polls suggest

After months of a "Brexit" looking like a long shot, the United Kingdom might be heading towards that option as the referendum on the country's membership in the European Union finally approaches.

This according to a slew of recent polls. But the margin between the two options on the June 23 referendum ballot — to "remain" a member of the EU or to "leave" it — is very close, and past experience in favour of the status quo suggests the betting odds might still be in favour of a vote to stay.

You can read the rest of this article here.


  1. I was in favour of of the Yes side in the Québec referendum of 1995. I was in favour of the Yes side in the Scottish referendum. And I support Leave for the UK.

    Bringing power closer to the people allows a greater number of people to get the government they want. Centralizing power in the hands of a federal government, or worse, an international government, does the opposite.

    The people of Britain should have control over the government of Britain, but they will not if that government is beholden to the government in Brussels.

    And yes, I would continue this further. If the people of Liverpool and Manchester want different things from their respective governments, what benefit do they gain from sharing one?

    1. So, in order to bring power to the people, you want to further ostracize them from the halls it resides in?

      Brexit, like with the Scottish and Quebec questions, fails thanks to the non-answer of the Leavers to a simple quandary - that you can separate yourself only so much from the evil oppressing regime. The UK still needs to deal with European regulations and trade quotas and unified laws and right now as a member of the EU it can have direct influence on that. Outside of it however, their bargaining position goes down and gets worse as time goes on or until an equilibrium that both sides settle for is reached, but not one that will be as beneficial as any arrangement had when say, oh, you were partners and not negotiating across a table.

      Crowing about "people power" is all well and good, until you realize power is relative to the size of your people. The UK, or whatever is left of it after a Brexit, does have a lot of weight to be sure, but as a solitary entity without partners in Europe, where it does and gets most of its business from, that weight will shift. Gradually the Europeans will be happier to leverage their far more significant position to get more out of the UK and there will be little that be done about it. Why? Because you decided the aging Little Englander mindset was more important than maintaining the actual country.

      I hope the British get a clue before June 23rd, I really do. I'd hate to see the country continue its decline.

    2. Ask Moldova/Ukraine/Georgia about what countries lose when they do not belong to a larger group.

    3. I'm a big fan of open and free trade. But the EU has become much more than that.

      UKIP's arguments for Leave are not the arguments I would make. UKIP is talking mostly about migration and open borders, which is the wrong argument. My concern is that Britain no longer gets to decide for itself how it taxes its people. Luckily for them they didn't join the Euro, so they do at least have control over monetary policy.

    4. And fiscal policy, and exchange rate policy.

      Really, being in the EU but not being in the Eurozone is about as best a deal you can get having the benefits but not being subject to the most devastating toll (being a part of the Eurozone). Basically, the EU and the Eurozone have proven that they cannot reliably be counted on to serve the best interests of the member-nations, and instead only really is interested in serving Banking and German interests (or both). The Commission, the "Troika", and the ECB, particularly under Jean-Claude Trichet, shows exactly what can go wrong when unelected "technocrats" think they know how to do everything, and implement the worst voodoo science possible and bring Britain on the precipice.

      If only because a Brexit might lead to a France, Italy or Spain to leave the Eurozone, it's worth them leaving. Plus they'll get some more control over immigration which is, like it or not, a big issue in European nations, and maybe be able to get a more independent trade policy to better serve British national interests. After all, Britain's major economic weakness is its small manufacturing sector - largely destroyed thanks to Thatcherism and Blairism. At the moment, the British economy is basically surviving thanks to a housing bubble in London. What do you think is going to happen whenever Osborne pursues more government spending cuts, and the bubble pops?

      Anyways, it should be interesting to watch. The remain campaign has done a terrible and fearmongering job to try to coerce people to stay in the EU.

  2. Ira:
    The EU isn't a government. The EU is just an international organization implementing a free trade area. It has more robust powers to implement the free trade area than, say, NAFTA, because all of the member states agreed it was necessary. This is because all 26 countries have a long tradition of setting up non-tariff barriers against each other: Germany used to block all other countries' beers because they did not conform to Germany's 500-year old beer-making laws. Italy used to tax cars based on their engine size because German cars had larger engines than Italian ones.
    etc. etc. etc. Brits
    criticize the EU for requiring each country to use standardized weights and measures, standard labelling, etc. but this is precisely because the UK was one of the worst offenders of using non-standard measures and labelling to keep European goods out, and thereby driving up the cost of living. One of the huge benefits to the UK of joining the EU is that UK businesses have become much more competitive and as a result, the cost of living in the UK relative to the rest of the world has stabilised. It is no co-incidence that the cost of living in the UK ranks about average in Europe among items that can be imported (food, clothes, cell phones) but amongst the highest in Europe among items that cannot be imported (land, public transport, move tickets).

    If you want smaller governments that are "closer to the people", you need to recognize the corollary, which is that smaller governments need to co-ordinate between themselves or else pay the price of having an insular economy. The EU is an incredibly successful example of countries each making sovereign decisions to co-ordinate between themselves to create an open market that has enriched all 400 million Europeans. It has particularly benefitted Brits, who live on an island with no natural trading partners (and who, it seems to strangely need pointing out to some Brexiters, no longer have an empire with which to trade).

    1. What would you call the European Parliament?

      Europeans have been enriched, yes, but they've also lost national and subnational control.

      My end game is to have effectively no government at all, with each individual person acting independently, so we never have to be trapped by the preferences of our neighbours.

    2. The EU is a government under the second definition of the word: the system by which a state or community is governed. Much in the same way a board of governors is the "government" for a corporation or university. The EU may not be a state as it is not fully sovereign but, it certainly is a government with the ability to write its own laws, elect its executive and try cases in its own courts, it has its own currency and is able albeit in a circuitous method to issue bonds and acrue debt, it enacts regulations and imposes criteria upon its members to access shared resources. To claim it is merely a trading block is to disregard 70% of the work the EU does!

    3. Ira - The European Parliament is just a sounding board. It has to approve the Commission's budget but otherwise has little influence. It was supposed to add a level of democratic accountability but due to its lack of power it is not taken seriously by voters, who vote in low numbers with fringe candidates often winning. If the European Parliament was scrapped, few would notice.

      Derek - You have identified the confusion about the EU that people who haven't studied it have. The EU, for all of its institutions that superficially look like a state, remains just a trading block of its member states. Its "parliament" has no power, its "courts" are just trade panels to solve disputes between member states, its currency was established by international treaty of which several EU states have opted out, and its regulations are just detailed applications of international treaties.

      The EU is not merely "not fully sovereign": it has no sovereignty at all. It is an international organization designed to promote trade, like the International Postal Union, the OECD and many others. Voluntarily agreeing to abide by a set of rules to co-ordinate trade is not "losing control", it is simply accepting that sovereignty ends at one's borders and that certain goals require co-ordination between sovereign states.

    4. Like VAT levels on a per product basis?

  3. Which of course Ira completely ignores the vast economic ties and links between the UK and EU !! And according to Janet Yellen if the UK does pull out significant economic damage is done to the UK -US business world !!

    1. Some, probably, yes. Though keep in mind that Janet Yellen is not an unbiased observer. She desperately wants to raise interest rates, and the economic shock caused by a Brexit would interfere with that.

      This isn't about economics. It's about democracy. Should the British people be allowed to govern themselves as they see fit, or should they be bound by the restrictions placed on them by the EU? The UK isn't even allowed to amend its VAT without EU permission. This only makes sense if the ultimate goal is to have just one central EU government (which I would argue is the goal, given the EU's explicit mandate to pursue an "ever closer union").

      The EU has already interfered in two national elections, forcing Austria not to abide by the results of the election of Jörg Haider, and preventing Ireland from having an election before passing a budget first (even though I would expect the Irish to want to have some say in which government drafts their national budget).

    2. When are you going to realise and accept that economics and politics are bedfellows ??

      "Sheesh !!

    3. I would agree. And the EU denies Britons control of both.

  4. Éric - Does your electoral college model account for changes in voter turnout by demographic group?

    We saw in 2008 how a dramatic increase in black voters helped the Democrats win. Not only did the Democrats take almost all of those votes, but there were many more of those votes available.

    Given the odd demographic profile of the primary voters so far (Clinton winning almost no young people, Trump running away with the poorly educated white vote), we could see increased or reduced turnout in a variety of demographic groups.

    1. It does not - my intention is to keep things simple an avoid adding any factors that could just increase the error.

    2. That's reasonable.

      Given that Trump has managed to break pretty much every system so far, I'm wary of relying too much on anyone's historical assumptions.

    3. Exactly. That's why the model is almost entirely poll-based.

    4. The pollsters, though, make assumptions when they weight their data.

    5. That's a good point. But I am not in a better position than they are to second-guess their choices.

    6. Of course. I'm saying, though, that we should be less surprised than we might normally be should the pollsters miss badly.

    7. Except the pollsters haven't missed badly - they nailed Trump's support during the primary pretty much spot on, and I think even on the Democratic side their biggest failure was Michigan which was an error never repeated (literally one of those 1 out of 20 situations were hear about). Pollsters have done an amazing job this cycle, despite the scorn heaped upon them from every quarter because they showed unfavourable results to one set of candidates or another.

    8. In the primaries the polls have been quiet good. It's the pundits who've been failing.

      But the primaries deal with a fairly small subset of the electorate. I'm speculating that we might see unexpected demographic shifts in the voting pool.

    9. Speculation is how we got "Florida/Wisconsin/Indiana/etc will stop Trump" and "Sanders can rely on young voters to win." I'm going to rely on the polls to give us at least a sense of the direction we're going, and so far the only major demographic shift so far has been the continuing decline of the GOP among Hispanics (particularly Mexicans, though I hear Cubans aren't very impressed with the party either). If there is any demographic trend that will shake the race up, it will be that - so far anyway.

  5. And now to return to the insane NDP Leadership ?? contest ??

  6. CBC Website

    Top Stories

    Analysis: NDP needs more than new leader to win back support stolen by the Liberals: Chris Hall

    1. I don't think the NDP Leadership "Campaign" is "insane" tepid would be a better adjective. Undoubtedly a new leader will bring with them new policy priorities and a new political agenda. The Key will be to align that agenda with the needs and priorities of Canadians.

      With Leslie and Cullen both out of the race. One wonders if Trudeau's election had the unintended consequence of decapitating the next generation of NDP leadership? Peter Julian will likely run and for my money he looks to be the favourite at this juncture. Who else is there? Alexandre Boulerice, "Vegas Girl" Ruth Ellen Brosseau, Peggy Nash, Brian Topp? People talk about Mike Layton but, a two dynast election campaign would be a little much. In any case I don't think he has the national profile or perhaps even the desire. It will be a wide open contest so, it should provide the opportunity for new ideas, members and issues. The NDP needs to connect with the working class of today as well as the older generation.


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