Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The number one thing that matters in the NDP leadership race

The one single most important factor in the NDP leadership race are the new members of the party.  About 50,000 new members where signed up in this leadership race and they represent 3/8s of the total membership in raw terms, but realistically they will represent a higher portion of the vote.

If we assume that 60% of existing members vote and 90% of the new members vote, the two groups are actually very close in total weight.    I think this is a realistic assumption because this means an overall turnout of about 72.5% which is roughly what I expect.

Here in BC I am actually amazed at how many New Democrats are so lukewarm about the race.   It is not hard for me to find NDP members here who are not certain if they will vote, one of them being my son.

Which campaign did the best in sign ups?   From what little evidence I can find, everything points to Thomas Mulcair and Brian Topp being the primary people to sign up new members.   Everything I can find from anyone out there is that Topp did better at this than Mulcair with Nash and Dewar distant third in sign ups.  

Polls, media coverage and debates are all window dressing to keep people paying attention to the race.   What really matters are those new sign ups.

Here is where I thinking at the moment for first ballot:

  • Mulcair - 28% - even new and old members
  • Topp - 23% - 80% from new members
  • Nash - 16% - 80% from old members
  • Dewar - 14%
  • Cullen - 12%
  • Ashton and Singh  - 7%

I do not think Topp has much space to grow from the old membership and will stall.   Even if Dewar were to finish ahead of Nash, I think Peggy Nash will get enough support from the bottom three to pass Paul Dewar.  I think that Nash will pick up 50% of old members from the bottom four, which in my calculation leaves us at:

  • Mulcair 39%
  • Topp 30%
  • Nash 30%

If Nash comes third on the penultimate ballot, I expect Topp to win by a narrow margin - I see old NDP members splitting more for Topp than Mulcair.  If Topp comes third on the penultimate ballot, I expect Mulcair to win by a decent margin because I see the new members breaking more for Mulcair.

Can Nash win?   Possibly but it depends on old member voter turn out being being stronger and Brian Topp to really suck with the old members.   In my analysis, Peggy Nash needs to be at 20% on the first ballot to have decent odds of winning.  

My estimate of the odds of winning for each candidate

  • Muclair 65%
  • Topp 25%
  • Nash 10%

Please remember, everyone should take this all with a grain of salt because without knowing for certain who signed up the most members it is really hard to handicap this race.
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