NDP Leadership Fundraising Predicted First Ballot Outcome in 2003

February 2nd, 2012

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[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

If the 2003 NDP leadership race is anything to go by, a candidate's share of the overall funds being raised for the contest could predict his or her first ballot vote-share to within 1.5 percentage points.*

2003 NDP Leadership Contest Fundraising vs Votes Obtained (based on Jan, 2003 interim report)

Candidate Donations
% of
% of
% of
Jack LAYTON $446,472.00 89.3% 53.7% 53.5%
Bill BLAIKIE $195,568.99 39.1% 23.5% 24.7%
Lorne NYSTROM $89,684.00 17.9% 10.8% 9.3%
Joe COMARTIN $70,712.00 14.1% 8.5% 7.7%
Pierre DUCASSE $18,688.00 3.7% 2.2% 3.7%
Bev MESLO $8,815.00 1.8% 1.1% 1.1%

(* Thanks to regular reader "Krago" for sending along the archived Babble link with the older data !)

That being the case, roughly half-way through the 2011-2012 NDP leadership race, Brian Topp and Thomas Mulcair are leading the pack. With 23.6% and 20.4% of the total take respectively, the two early front-runners represent 44% of all the funds raised to December 31, 2011 between them.

Peggy Nash, Paul Dewar and Nathan Cullen are behind with 15.1%, 13.1% and 12.0% (representing another 40% of all the leadership fundraising to the end of 2011), while the other four registered candidates trail below 7%.

Another indicator from yesterday's fundraising data is the number of donations. Here you can distinguish the mass-based fund-raising campaigns from the more elite ones. The Mulcair campaign has one of the strongest fundraising teams, given that they've raised 24.9% of all the leadership donations to the end of last calendar year. A bit behind him are Paul Dewar (18.3% of all 2011 leadership donations) and Nathan Cullen (17.8%).

Nash (13.9%) and Topp (12.2%) represent the third tier on this measure, with the other four accounting for fewer than 5% of the total donations each.

2011-12 NDP Leadership Contest Fundraising to End of 2011

Candidate Donations $ Donations #
Q3 Q4 Tot % Tot %
Brian TOPP $11,850 $156,597 $168K 23.6% 304 12.2%
Thomas MULCAIR $145,863 $146K 20.4% 621 24.9%
Peggy NASH $108,223 $108K 15.1% 347 13.9%
Paul DEWAR $93,931 $94K 13.1% 456 18.3%
Nathan CULLEN $86,109 $86K 12.0% 442 17.8%
Martin SINGH $49,077 $49K 6.9% 110 4.4%
Robert CHISHOLM $35,400 $35K 5.0% 64 2.6%
Romeo SAGANASH $17,552 $18K 2.5% 87 3.5%
Niki ASHTON $10,215 $10K 1.4% 58 2.3%

In terms of their progress towards meeting the goal of a fully-funded campaign, at half-time the two front-runners sit at 33.7% and 29.2% of the current $500K spending limit raised respectively. Nash, Dewar and Cullen are running between 17.2 – 21.6% of the limit, with the rest below 10%.

In 2003, only Bill Blaikie and Jack Layton raised substantially more than 10% of the limit, over the entire 7-month race. The 2003 spending limit was $500K as well.

Of course, leadership contestants would have to raise in excess of a half a million dollars in order to fully fund a campaign, given that the NDP assesses a 15% levy on leadership donations in order to pay for the costs of running the race. Under the Elections Act, a leadership contestant could choose not to pass contributions through their party and hence not be subject to the levy, but those donors would not be eligible for a tax receipt, and in any event, the rules set by the NDP for its own race preclude that manner of fundraising.

Moreover, some expenses such as candidate travel (except travel to the six party-sponsored leadership debates) are exempt from the ceiling. This permits candidates living in remote parts of the country to compete on a level playing field with those centrally located. But of course, that entails more fundraising to cover those costs.

2011-12 NDP Leadership Contest Fundraising – Selected Metrics

Candidate Donations to Dec 31, 2011
% of
Tot $ Tot # Avg $
# ≥
Brian TOPP 33.7% $168,447 304 $554.10 110
Thomas MULCAIR 29.2% $145,863 621 $234.88 27
Peggy NASH 21.6% $108,223 347 $311.88 62
Paul DEWAR 18.8% $93,931 456 $205.99 22
Nathan CULLEN 17.2% $86,109 442 $194.82 14
Martin SINGH 9.8% $49,077 110 $446.15 16
Robert CHISHOLM 7.1% $35,400 64 $553.13 21
Romeo SAGANASH 3.5% $17,552 87 $201.75 6
Niki ASHTON 2.0% $10,215 58 $176.12 1

As a measure of tapped-out-ness, I also took a look at the distribution of the 279 donations of $900 or more. Brian Topp had 110 donations in that category, while Peggy Nash had 62. Remember that since the contribution ceiling is a per-event limit, if one campaign has completely "tapped out" a contributor, no other campaign can raise money from those individuals afterwards either.

This means the 21 folks who gave $900 or more to Robert Chisholm, for example, will not have much more room (if any) to contribute to any of the remaining candidates. Thus, there is a certain incentive to lock down the high-end contributors early in the fundraising cycle, in order to prevent them from being able to give to your competitors.

Glen McGregor has already looked at the fundraising timelines in a blogpost for the OttawaCitizen.com, which I won't try to emulate, but will simply link to his fantastic chart here:

Trends in NDP Leadership Donations

Finally, the distribution by province. I can't do that for the Q4 data, because the candidates didn't record, or the party didn't upload (or the Elections Canada web-upload application didn't take) the province, city and postal-code data for the Part 2b contributors in Q4, for some reason. If that can be fixed, I'll have a go at it.

Insofar as the Q3 data is concerned, Brian Topp raised all but $800 of his $11,850 from the Greater Toronto area, with $250 each coming from British Columbia and Montréal, and $300 from Alberta.

Note that all leadership contest contributors must be reported by name regardless of the size of their donation (so Nathan Cullen's two Anonymous contributors will have to either be named, or have their contributions returned). The contribution ceiling is a per-event limit, such that no-one may give more than $1,200 in total to all the leadership campaigns. This means someone having already given the limit to one candidate can never make another financial contribution to either that leadership campaign OR ANY OTHER, for the duration of the leadership race. Someone who has given $800 to one candidate could give $200 to a second candidate, and $100 each to two others. You get the idea.


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

23 Responses to “NDP Leadership Fundraising Predicted First Ballot Outcome in 2003”

  1. JMasse says:

    Hey Alice, great job on the post. But please correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t Brian Topp only have 278 unique donations as opposed to 304, which is indicated on your graph?

    @punditsguide: Contrib count to #ndpldr’s: Mulcair 621 | Dewar 456 | Cullen 442 | Nash 347 | Topp 278 | Singh 110 | Saganash 87 | Chisholm | 64 | Ashton 58

  2. You’re forgetting the 26 Topp donors in Q3.

  3. michael says:

    Topp is pulling in the union donations with the fewest per capita contributors but higher donation/donor ratio by far, so this analysis is skewed incorrectly. Look to number two choices to see who will win. The person least offensive to the majority of NDP voters, who will overwhelmingly give their number 2′s to Nash based upon that criteria.

    Note both Nash and Topp have more larger donors and both are strongly tied to the corporate left, unions.

    It’s between Nash and Mulcair at this point.

  4. Will Norman says:

    Singh’s fundraising outclassing 2 sitting MP’s and current candidates seems to support your theory that his campaign has more strength than the media or other race watchers credit him.

  5. Peter Deslauriers says:

    Thanks for another interesting analysis of the leadership campaign. One assusmes that the Q4 money was the easiest to raise as it came from the very committed to the candidate and the party. The ability to raise funds in 2012 will come from the strength of the organizations and the breadth of the candidates appeal. Martin Singh’s fund-raising ability is impressive, he should have no trouble funding his campaign in the next election. A breakdown by provinces would be interesting.

  6. Dave says:

    What the link to these reports on elections.ca?

  7. Freya says:

    Well, the $1,100 I donated to Brian Topp at his January town hall in Victoria (he was fantastic, BTW) came from the money my mother left me in her will. This “repeat donor” is now going to donate another $100 to Topp.

  8. Teddy Boragina says:

    Hey Krago (if you are reading), Teddy here from the atlas, good to see you are still doing good work, but we miss you at the atlas.

    On the topic at hand, I’ve noticed this trend has been true for some time, most recently with the last Bloc campaign, and a while back when they elected Swann as Alberta Liberal Leader.

  9. Wilf Day says:

    The close match between votes cast and dollars raised in the 2003 NDP leadership contest is striking, eh?

    Ducasse got a small bounce from his convention speech, while a few Nystrom and Comartin voters may have switched to Blaikie in anticipation that they were not in the top two. But it’s a small deviance.

    However, we have a totally different situation from 2003, when even the top (sorry) candidate has only 23.6% of the total. At this rate, March 24 will be a long day.

    Furthermore, Niki Ashton launched only on Nov. 7, ten days after Peggy Nash, 25 days after Mulcair. Her total may not yet be representative. Will the Feb. 25 return tell a different tale? I’ll be back to see.

  10. Ken Summers says:

    I expect that more divergence will open in the fundraising toitals- probably has already in the 30 days since this snapshot was taken.

    We’ll never see those totals. The campaigns will no doubt ‘leak’ their fantastic totals to date. I will not believe them.

    But even if I could look in a crystal ball and see who raises the most, I wouldnt bet anything that this will be the winner… even if it has happened in a number of races.

    Too many variables in this race. And I think more of them than usual are less amenable to quanification, even as approximations.

  11. Ken Summers says:

    Forgot to mention: the next EC reported totals will be soon after 1 April.

    Too late for peering and prognosticating.

    And my hunch is that the announcement dates of being in the race have very little impact on the amount that has been raised.

    The big factors are the organizational capacity of the campaigns [for which a roughly accurate ranking can be sussed]; and because it is such a long campaign, the strategic priorities the different campaigns made over timing of different kinds of work. Even educated guesses about the latter are just going to be crap shoots.

    It might sound like a no brainer that the answer to fundraising is just “as much as you can, as soon as you can, as fast as you can.” In short, not really. And there are some guns or butter choices that play into that.

  12. Robert Viera says:

    The province, city, and postal code data for the NDP contributors is now available on Elections Canada’s site.

  13. Thanks, Robert. I’m on it now.

  14. Robert Viera says:

    Here’s what I get:

    $135,522.13 ON
    $7,185.00 BC
    $6,590.00 QC
    $3,100.00 AB
    $1,775.00 MB
    $1,075.00 NS
    $500.00 NA
    $500.00 PE
    $275.00 NB
    $75.00 SK

    $69,359.44 QC
    $50,254.00 ON
    $10,105.00 BC
    $5,805.00 AB
    $3,215.00 NS
    $2,890.00 MB
    $2,400.00 SK
    $650.00 NL
    $535.00 NB
    $500.00 PE
    $100.00 NU
    $50.00 NA

    Peggy Nash:
    $83,159.01 ON
    $13,735.00 BC
    $4,068.00 NS
    $1,798.00 AB
    $1,485.00 QC
    $1,445.00 MB
    $1,190.00 SK
    $918.00 NL
    $175.00 NB
    $175.00 NT
    $75.00 NA

    $70,341.00 ON
    $11,325.00 MB
    $6,920.00 BC
    $2,545.00 QC
    $1,725.00 NS
    $855.00 AB
    $150.00 NB
    $50.00 SK
    $20.00 NL

    $72,039.00 BC
    $6,450.00 AB
    $5,440.00 ON
    $800.00 SK
    $400.00 NT
    $375.00 NS
    $325.00 MB
    $130.00 QC
    $100.00 YT
    $50.00 PE

    $29,891.00 BC
    $11,091.00 ON
    $6,900.00 NS
    $400.00 QC
    $325.00 MB
    $250.00 AB
    $200.00 NB
    $20.00 NA

    $27,200.00 NS
    $4,700.00 ON
    $1,300.00 NB
    $1,200.00 MB
    $1,000.00 BC

    $3850.00 MB
    $1585.00 ON
    $1515.00 BC
    $1200.00 SK
    $875.00 AB
    $515.00 QC
    $400.00 YT
    $275.00 NS

    Note: The figures for Brian Topp don’t include his Q3 contributions.

  15. Wilf Day says:

    The fact that Nash got even less money out of Quebec than Dewar did really underlines her weakness there, eh? But then again, she got more from BC than Topp did, in the 4th quarter. Maybe one shouldn’t read too much out of partial figures; Topp may have got his BC money in the 3rd quarter.

  16. Robert Viera says:

    Hi Wilf,

    Most of Paul Dewars’ contributions in Quebec were from in and around Gatineau, which is right across the river from Ottawa, where most of his Ontario contributions came from.

    Most of Peggy Nash’s contributions in Ontario are in the GTA and the south-western part of the province. About two thirds of her contributions in Quebec were from Montreal and the other third from western Quebec.

    Brian Topp received one contribution of $250 from BC in Q3.

  17. Robert Viera says:

    I seem to have missed the numbers for one candidate in my above post:

    $9,213.11 ON
    $5,334.99 QC
    $1,934.00 BC
    $420.00 SK
    $175.00 NB
    $175.00 NT
    $150.00 AB
    $100.00 MB
    $50.00 NL

  18. Maurice Morin says:

    Are you able to track down donations and amounts to candidates over the duration of the campaign ? I remember Obama fundraising information to be quite revealing: approx. 85$/donor

  19. Unfortunately that will be an after-the-fact study, Mr. Morin, as we won’t be getting the data until towards the end. There are definitely some good topics for study, such as the ones you suggest.

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