Monday, February 21, 2011

Ed and Moira matter

The decision by Ed Mayne and Moira Stilwell to end their campaigns will have a much bigger impact on the race than any pundits have considered. They mattered in the race because of the smaller change made in the leadership race rules made by the Liberal at their recent convention.

Along with the weighted voting system adopted at the convention, the Liberals also made it mandatory to vote at least two preferences. Without this requirement people could just vote for their candidate and then have their vote drop off along with their candidate. Not expressing a second preference becomes a defacto support for who ever is the front in the counting.  This happens because the total number of votes goes down and therefore the share of leader rises the most without doing anything.  They get closer to their goal of 50% +1 without any change in the vote.

As long as either Moira Stilwell or Ed Mayne were in the race, people could choose them first or second as a way to effectively not express a serious second preference. There are many hardcore candidate loyalists that were looking at voting in this way.   Forcing a legitimate second choice changes the nature of the race.

Forcing a real second choice will benefit the second place and third place candidates the most as they do are not losing any ground on the front runner.  It also means many hardcore candidate loyalists have to now come up with who their second choice will be, I suspect George Abbott will benefit the most out of people having to make a second choice.
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