UPDATED: BC and Ontario to decide NDP Leadership outcome
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British Columbia and Ontario will have the lion's share of the say over the outcome of the NDP leadership race, final membership counts released today confirm. With just under 60% of the total eligible voting membership on February 18, the two provinces combined could pick the next leader of the opposition.
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While Québec boasted the biggest increase in membership (up 623.7% to 12,266 from 1,695 at the beginning of October), its final weight in picking the leader will be well under its share of the total population, and also well under the ambitious 20,000 targeted by leadership candidate Thomas Mulcair earlier in the race.
For comparison, 14,039 of 36,341 eligible members of the Bloc Québécois voted in their leadership contest last December 11.
Remember that it was in order to facilitate a significant sign-up in Québec that the leadership vote was pushed back to the end of March, rather than sometime in January as some in the party's leadership had privately preferred.
|Prov||Membership||% Pop *||% Weight|
|* Based on StatsCan July 1, 2011 estimated population|
On the prairies, the three provinces will hold roughly equal weight to Québec, Saskatchewan having shown the highest growth in membership after running a provincial membership renewal drive alongside the sign-ups by the leadership candidates.
While there were large percentage increases in the Atlantic provinces, they are of relatively small magnitude in the overall outcome.
|Oct-11||Nov-11||% chg||Feb-18||% chg||Overall|
The overall boost in membership numbers may be a very good omen for the first ballot positioning of Nathan Cullen, given the last minute campaigns by both the LeadNow.ca and Avaaz.org groups to encourage their members to sign up to the opposition party of their choice. Lead Now told CP's Joan Bryden that 5,000 people had clicked through from their page to the NDP's membership sign-up website, which if they all completed the transaction would represent approximately one-sixth of the increase since November 1. Cullen was already said to be doing well amongst the current BC membership, though he should share that with Topp and increasingly Mulcair, Dewar and Nash.
The Ontario increase may result from the work of several camps, and at this stage I simply don't have enough information to gauge the impact, though it's believed that Nash, Dewar, Mulcair and Topp would all be the beneficiaries of the traditional sign-ups, while Cullen would benefit from any LeadNow/Avaaz efforts.
Dewar and to a lesser extent Ashton are expected to carry the greatest proportions of support in Manitoba, while Ashton and Topp would be the leaders in Saskatchewan. Dewar and Ashton are also the presumed leaders in Alberta. Mulcair predominates in New Brunswick and is said to be strong in Newfoundland as well, with Nash also having a strong showing in St. John's, while a number of campaigns are thought to have strength in Nova Scotia.
The following table also updates the "membership density" numbers. Again, this means that one in 118 British Columbians is a member of the NDP, while one in 791 New Brunswickers holds a party card. Overall one in 269 Canadians is an NDP member eligible to vote in the March 24 race.
|* StatsCan July 1, 2011 estimated population / NDP membership|
For the latest on the NDP Leadership Race, don't forget to follow the half-hourly news updates, and social media tickers at the Pundits' Guide NDPLdr portal page: http://ndpldr.punditsguide.ca