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Posts Tagged ‘NDP 2012 Leadership Contest’

UPDATED: Third Quarter Fundraising Sees NDP Edge Liberals

October 31st, 2012 | 5 Comments

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

For the first time ever, since early 2008, the NDP has reported a higher national quarterly contributions total than the Liberal Party.

Quarterly 2012 fundraising totals by party, quarter, and contributor size

The upstart party filed a third quarter return late yesterday showing $1,459,561.05 in contributions, versus $1,440,761.34 for its former "natural governing" competitor, a gap to the upside of $19K after falling $60K short of that objective in the second quarter.

UPDATE: David Akin reminds us that the NDP did beat the Liberals in the first quarter of 2007 as well. This was in the first quarter of Stéphane Dion's leadership of that party, and in the wake of a blowout fourth quarter for the Liberal Party in 2006-Q4. You can't beat David's memory!

UPDATE: Brian Klunder, who would know, reminds us that the NDP beat the Liberals in the first quarter of 2008 as well. I am just going to have to plead guilty to writing based on my recollection, even after painstakingly collecting and publishing all the raw data over the years. Sorry folks, and thanks to Brian and David for setting me straight.

Evidence suggests the Liberals knew they were in danger of being bested, as a series of fundraising emails went out to their list of contacts in late September, with increasingly dire warnings about the possibility.

On the bright side for them, the Liberals are still ahead of the NDP year-to-date: — $5,580,627.41 versus $5,200,412.87 — based on a stronger first quarter when the Liberals had their annual convention, and the NDP — in spite of having a very strong quarter by its own standards — was still engaged in a leadership race. To the extent that the Liberal convention fees used up the annual maximum contribution for many of that party's major contributors, and a leadership race diverts attention from national party fundraising, we might expect to see the NDP catch up to and perhaps even pass the Liberals by December.

Quarterly fundraising totals by party and quarter

Historically, the third quarter is difficult for any party to fundraise in, given that it comprises two of the summer months plus September. The major exceptions on the upside come when there is a federal election campaign underway or anticipated soon afterwards, and on the downside a third quarter after an election is bound to be below average. However, the NDP was able to increase its third quarter take in 2012 by almost a half of its previous best-ever non-election year results, and to more than double its usual previous take. And the party will tell anyone who asks that it raised 85% more than last year, although I don't think that's the most valid comparison when last year was a third quarter just after a federal election, and the party had withdrawn from the field in favour of its provincial cousins then fighting election campaigns.

But what we also see is that the NDP is starting to grow its base of small contributors, which is key to growing a fundraising base over the long-term, while the Liberals are falling back somewhat in that objective, at least in the short-term (see the darker colour section of the bars for each party in the first chart).

A look at the Conservative Party's fundraising record shows the long-term importance of building a base of small donors, as they have clearly been able to promote many small donors to larger donors over much of the intervening six years or so. But that party showed a bit of retrenchment in Q3 of 2012 as compared with recent non-election third quarters, posting the lowest number since 2007 ($3.42M vs $3.15M), though notably that was also the year just following a successful election campaign. And you can't really ever call it a bad quarter when you continue to raise as much as your competitors combined!

The Green Party is also showing some growth in its non-election year fundraising, while the Bloc Québécois is showing the expected hit from the provincial election cycle.

The NDP's national fundraising numbers come at the same time as some of its provincial sections are receiving positive attention from previously atypical financial supporters, with even Enbridge buying a table at a recent fundraising dinner for the BC-NDP's leader Adrian Dix, and this Thursday's Ontario NDP "Vision Banquet" with Andrea Horwath and Tom Mulcair being sold out — including by some reports to many of the same suddenly-interested contributors from the business community.

On the leadership fundraising side, Hedy Fry raised $100, Joe Volpe raised $1,100 and Martha Hall Findlay raised the rest of the $59,964.17 in reported directed leadership contributions on the Liberal Party's return. Near as I can tell, any leadership contestant in the 2012/2013 Liberal leadership race must track what they spend and raise now and report it in their eventual registration with Elections Canada, but as their race doesn't start until mid-November, we're not seeing any of that reported on the party return in this quarter.

As for the NDP leadership race contestants, winner Tom Mulcair took in roughly half of the $91K or so raised by all the leadership candidates, as compared with Brian Topp who was ahead in the second quarter. More on leadership fundraising later, as and if time permits.

Party Second Quarter Returns Hint at Trends Worth Watching

July 31st, 2012 | 40 Comments

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

If we're really honest, the federal polls don't mean too much three years out from an election and with still one interim leader, seat projections are an iffy proposition given the pending redistribution and a party system likely still in transition, and most of the financial data we're getting lately can only tell us in great detail what happened last year.

But Monday evening's release of the federal party second quarter fundraising reports hints at a few potential trends in the making. And of course with the looming end of the quarterly public subsidy payments, getting its fundraising machinery into shape is paramount for any political party wanting to challenge the governing Conservatives.

Here's what the reports suggest:

  • The NDP came within $63K of beating the Liberals in second quarter fundraising: $1,743,862.40 to the Liberals' $1,807,092.36. This comes after a first quarter where they were some $337K behind the Liberals, who naturally took full advantage of their competitor's leadership vacuum to try and guarantee a niche of political and financial support for themselves in their new role as the third party.
  • At some $3.74M year-to-date the NDP has raised nearly as much by the end of June as it usually raises in an entire non-election year. For example, this amounts to 86% of the party's best ever non-election year haul of 2010 (then $4.38M). These two developments combined raise the spectre that the NDP might surpass the Liberals in fundraising by the end of December.
  • The Liberals, meanwhile, are succeeding in increasing their numbers of small donors. And while the NDP is also demonstrating some real progress in increasing its number of overall donors over previous non-election years, the Liberals have been able to move and stay ahead of them on that score. (See the "Quarterly Data" tab at the Pundits' Guide "Finances" page for all the details).
  • The Conservatives, on the other hand, are seeing another slip in their numbers of both small donors and overall donors, after last year's push to win a majority government. This did not hurt their overall fundraising take for the moment, as it looks like the party made a big push for "at the limit" contributions of $1,000-$1,200 in the second-quarter including what looks like a very successful push in the Montréal area the first week of June. But every majority government takes a hit as it rolls out the toughest part of its agenda early in its mandate, and no government lasts forever, so if there is to be any early warning sign of a more permanent change in their fortunes, it will show up as a decline in the number of small contributors. Although, we've seen false positives before.
  • The Green Party is not dead yet, as their recent fundraising performance will attest. A healthy second quarter for them seems to be in part the result of prepaid convention fees (lots of $249 contributions showing up), but not exclusively. Unfortunately for them, as we'll see when we review the 2011 annual financial statements in a subsequent post, they have to raise this money in order to repay their election loans.
  • The Bloc Québécois might be on life support, but on the other hand, their usual pattern is to go dormant on the fundraising front when their sister party needs to build up its own provincial warchest. When a federal election was constantly looming, the Bloc stepped up its on-going fundraising, but otherwise typically it did a round of central fundraising at year-end, and otherwise left the field open to its riding associations.

Now, part of what's allowing the NDP to compete with the Liberals are some significant bequests, and they got another one in the second quarter of 2012 — just over $296K from the estate of a William Giesbrecht of Coquitlam, BC, along with another bequest of some $23K from Anne Murray Powell of Toronto, ON. The estate of the late Jack Layton made a $50K bequest in December, 2011 and another $50K in March, 2012, though no further bequests from the party's former leader were recorded this quarter.

But a quick scan of the party donor lists hints at another part of the explanation. With names like Louise Arbour (if it's the same person, once touted as a potential Liberal leader), and that of a former national campaign director for the Green Party showing up on the NDP's return, it suggests the strategic voting / contributing card is being played by the NDP for a change.

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Contributions (donors over $200 only) by week, by party, 2012 quarterly reports

The biggest NDP bequest shows up on the weekly large donor fundraising timeline along with a late March post-leadership bump, as do the Conservative campaigns to large donors in late January and early June, and the spike in Liberal tallies from their convention in January and again in late March when the Conservatives ran attack ads against their interim leader, Bob Rae. That one Conservative TV ad was worth over $200K in revenue to the Liberals the week it launched, proving that some laws of physics also apply to politics.

The quarterly returns also give us an update on where the NDP Leadership candidates' fundraising efforts got to, after the contest ended.

Directed Contributions to NDP Leadership Contestants (before party tithe), as reported on the party's quarterly financial returns

Cand 2012-Q1
($)
2012-Q2
($)
Total $
(incl 2011)
% of
limit
Mulcair 271,184.14 67,399.85 484,447.43 96.9%
Topp 166,210.97 64,365.00 399,023.10 79.8%
Cullen 220,173.69 7,461.00 313,743.69 62.7%
Dewar 133,143.63 44,766.24 271,840.87 54.4%
Nash 112,978.14 28,161.02 249,362.17 49.9%
Ashton 70,668.06 16,480.00 97,363.06 19.5%
Singh 36,712.38 10,137.15 95,926.53 19.2%
Chisholm 17,305.00 18,550.00 71,255.00 14.3%
Saganash 16,977.77 8,258.55 42,788.42 8.6%
TOTAL 1,045,353.78 265,578.81 2,025,750.27  

Leader Tom Mulcair is said to have paid off all his leadership debts some time ago, and is now doing fundraising events with his former competitors to help pay off theirs. Nathan Cullen is thought not to have had any debt, given that he raised most of his money too late to spend it, and the rest have whittled their debts down to a greater or lesser extent, which we will find out in detail when they file their returns six months after the contest concluded.

Meanwhile amongst the remaining 2006 Liberal Leadership candidates, Hedy Fry did most of the fundraising in the first quarter, but she was joined on a much more active basis by Martha Hall Findley in the second.

NDP Leadership candidates raised about $1.3M all told in the first two quarters, while the 2006 Liberal leadership candidates raised another $68K or so.

What the Liberals can learn from the NDP Leadership Race

June 13th, 2012 | 15 Comments

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

Today as the nation's capital focuses on the first in a series of votes on the government's budgetary, economic, and kitchen sink policy, another set of votes will be taken on the future of one of the historic players in Canada's political party system.

 
It's the day the leadership of the Liberal Party sets down the rules by which the new Leader will be selected.
 
The Ottawa bubble is focused on two major storylines in that regard – whether Bob Rae can run, and whether Justin Trudeau will (or should) – but many other issues must be decided, any of which could have an impact on the party's chances of rebuilding and moving forward.
 
The Liberals arrive at the point of choosing a Leader in a very different set of circumstances than the NDP, and somewhat different from the Bloc Québécois. Like the Bloc, their leader resigned in the immediate wake of a surprisingly poor showing in the May 2011 election, though had both their fortunes unfolded differently, Michael Ignatieff probably had a little more shelf-life as leader than did Gilles Duceppe.
 
This means that several potential Bloc leadership candidates had already been testing the waters, building a platform and team, and getting ready for a possible leadership run by the time of Duceppe's exit, and that party had a fairly clear process for picking his replacement. Though a minority preferred a longer renewal and decision-making timeline, the Bloc's braintrust settled on a quick leadership race, which featured a smaller subset of the original likely candidates, but a set of them ready to go, regardless. A caucus elder was the obvious choice for interim leader, he led in the interim which was mercifully short, and once the decision was made everyone just got on with it.
 
The Liberals, by contrast, opted to try and cure themselves of repetitive leaderitis, and thus took a longer period of reflection (which would have also afforded any potential candidates sufficient time to assess the competitive landscape and do the necessary prep work to help them make a good decision when the time came).
 
Either way, both of those parties will have arrived at leadership launch day with some pretty well-formed leadership campaigns ready to go.
 
That was not the case for the NDP, many of whose potential leadership candidates were expecting a race as many as four years down the road, and who were thus still assembling their campaigns on the fly behind the scenes after the campaign officially launched. While the media called the race long and tedious, much of the groundwork usually laid months and years in advance was now taking place in real time, and the obvious deficiencies of each candidate were often left unremedied for lack of time to fully address them. In reality, the NDP didn't have much choice in the matter, as they needed to move to a race fairly quickly given the other circumstances, but it did lead to a campaign somewhat lacking in full-on policy development in a number of cases, and candidates who needed some more experience in a number of key skills.
 
This, I believe, leads to the first lesson the Liberals should learn from the recent NDP Leadership Race:
 
1. Take the time truly required to ensure that a good number of potential candidates are ready to put their best foot forward in a leadership campaign.
 
In fact, there are a number of Liberal leadership candidates who have already been travelling to party events across the country, and have campaign teams in various states of readiness. They aren't always the names you hear in Ottawa, but if I was one of those candidates, the Hy's summer patio would be one of my last campaign stops, not one of the early ones, at this stage of the game.
 
A related issue is getting the incentives right for the appropriate balance between facilitating new blood to run, and not hampering substantive debate between the candidates. Just ask the NDP how difficult it was to get the 9-candidate debate formats right in order to please multiple interests (party members, the media, live broadcasters, leadership candidates, local organizers, etc.). A fully regionally, generationally, linguistically, and visibly diverse group of candidates is also a large group of candidates. And there's only so much you can say of substance in 30-second answers. Hence the next lesson:
 
2. Make sure the entry rules enable a true and fulsome debate between a set of viable and well-prepared candidates.
 
Part of what many NDP members pushed the party executive to do was set the rules so as to give them a wide range of choices. In particular, they wanted Mr. Mulcair's candidacy to be viable, which meant giving the party's Quebec section time to catch up in membership work with the rest of the country. In the end, it's not clear the extra time did accomplish that to the extent they hoped for in Quebec, I've argued elsewhere. Perhaps human nature needing a deadline would have accomplished the same work in less time, who knows. But this emphasizes another lesson.
 
3. Design the process in a way that will help build the party on a long-term basis.
 
I wonder if the new Supporter category is going to do this for the Liberals. To me, you want people with at least some stake in the outcome making the decisions if they're going to be good ones, and no membership fee = potentially no stake. Of course, all Canadians have a stake in the outcome of electios, but picking the person who will make all the key strategic and resource allocation decisions of a political party in order to help that party win actual seats entails a very different set of intermediate stakes – the kind that riding activists and party election volunteers are much more attuned to.
 
The Supporter category does have the benefits of (a) being something new, and (b) allowing the party to harvest email addresses of its universe of likely supporters in the next election, so it's not without some merit. On the other hand, I wonder if Liberal Party elders have fully absorbed how potentially disruptive it could be to their party's infrastructure to have a swarm of minimally committed social media denizens vote and run, leaving the party with a leader having little institutional mandate to undertake the reforms they know have to come next. And speaking of next steps …
 
4. Make sure the race itself doesn't hobble the party in what it needs to do afterwards.
 
So much money (not by their standards at the time, mind you, but in light of subsequent financial demands) was spent on the 2006 Liberal leadership race on things like salaries and hospitality suites and who knows what other luxuries, that the cupboard was bare amongst party donors by the time a major TV ad buy was needed to respond to the Conservatives. And some candidates are still struggling to pay off those debts.
 
The spending limit has to reflect the party's new circumstances. The Liberals need to find a leader who can maximize the value of every campaign dollar now, because that's the kind of leader they'll need in 2015.
 
Another aspect of this lesson is to ensure that all candidates and their teams believe they've been treated fairly, and that all eligible voters (members and "Supporters") feel they've had a fair opportunity to participate and cast their ballots. The contest has to be run by a group of party elders with no other interests than the long-term best interests of the whole organization. High penalties should be levied for hijinks and trying to skirt the rules, and some of the crazy membership rules (you can only get xx number of forms at a time, and only if you have a friend in the department and stand on your head while juggling, etc., etc.) need to be tossed in favour of a system where any Canadian who wants to can join up, and each of the leadeship contestants can have fair and equal access to that new voter. And create a culture that will reward collaboration after the race, rather than exacerbate divisions.
 
This leads me to the last lesson for the party:
 
5. Plan for the long-term, focus on what matters, and don't sweat the small stuff so much.
 
The amount of fuss about an interim leader having some advantage through extra Question Period profile or travel time is out of all proportion to the actual benefit, and overlooks the associated risks for that individual now having a record as well. Every candidate is going to have some inherent advantages and acquired shortcomings before this is all over. It doesn't matter. Also, as Interim Leader, that person was never supposed to make party policy, nor could they be expected to out-poll a honeymooning competitor, or move mountains either for that matter. The leadership process now is supposed to allow the party to pick the best leader for the next task at hand. Focus on that.
 
Equally, the next interim leader does not need to win every news cycle in Twitterdom. No-one will remember that in a year's time. And any party preference polls taken during the leadership race are purely hypothetical, as will be the ones that test various leadership candidates' names against the current Prime Minister or NDP Leader. Plus, if the GOP primaries were anything to go by, in a large slate, each contestant is going to go through a honeymoon followed by a brutal vetting, so don't count any chickens before they've fully hatched.
 
Whoever is elected leader will need to have and share a long-term vision for the party, and curb its tendency to manage only to the daily Ottawa news cycle. They will need the trust of the members and a mandate to take the difficult decisions. Twitter stardom may or may not help in all this, but gravitas or down-home common sense might do the job just as well.
 
As for some of the mechanical details, if the Liberals are going to use online voting, they will be at less risk of a serious Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack if it's used only for advanced voting, or is not constrained to short voting windows while on live TV. If it's high profile and time-limited on the other hand, it's an irresistable target for the parents' basement nerd disrupter squads.
 
While we're at it, it's not only the Liberals who have some lessons to learn, but the rest of us when following the race. Here are some of the pointers I've taken away;
 
  • The Ottawa media will crown someone as a front-runner who they know and/or think their audiences already know.
  • For this reason, carrying the mantle of the early "front-runner" is not always all it's cracked up to be.
  • A good idea and a clear message about it can vault an underestimated candidate into the final consideration set, ahead of many other more familiar names.
  • One member-one vote races require organization to win, but organization alone is not sufficient to win them.
  • Regardless of how many other things a candidate does well, it will be One Big Thing that trips them up in the end, and that one big thing is usually knowable or guessable in the first week or so.
  • It can be hard to tell the difference between a Game Changer and a Hail Mary Pass when you're in the thick of a campaign, but it's obvious to pretty much everyone else on the outside eventually.
Are there any other lessons you think can be drawn from recent experience?

Cullen Narrowly Won Convention, But Mulcair Victory Already Assured

April 2nd, 2012 | 21 Comments

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

Nathan Cullen narrowly won all of the real-time voting he appeared on during last weekend's NDP leadership contest, but his rival Thomas Mulcair's victory was already a foregone conclusion by the time the convention started, detailed vote breakdowns show.

Unfortunately for Cullen, the convention-day round-by-round voting never accounted for more than 17.5% of the total ballots counted, and he had too big a gap to catch Mulcair in the preferential ballots cast in advance.

Brian Topp and Mulcair dominated the mail-in ballot segment of the advanced voting, while the other candidates showed better in the online preferential voting that concluded on the eve of the Toronto convention, including a notably better vote-share for Martin Singh.

First Ballot

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First Ballot Results by Voting Method, NDP Leadership Contest, March 24, 2012

Candidate Advance Conv. Day TOTAL
1st B
Mail-in Electronic Adv Total Real-time
TOTALS 15,197
(23.2%)
39,690
(60.7%)
54,887
(84.0%)
10,487
(16.0%)
65,374
(100.0%)
Thomas
MULCAIR
5,301
(34.9%)
12,231
(30.8%)
17,532
(31.9%)
2,196
(20.9%)
19,728
(30.2%)
Brian
TOPP
4,027
(26.5%)
7,914
(19.9%)
11,941
(21.8%)
1,974
(18.8%)
13,915
(21.3%)
Nathan
CULLEN
1,545
(10.2%)
6,818
(17.2%)
8,363
(15.2%)
2,308
(22.0%)
10,671
(16.3%)
Peggy
NASH
1,597
(10.5%)
5,034
(12.7%)
6,631
(12.1%)
1,722
(16.4%)
8,353
(12.8%)
Paul
DEWAR
1,415
(9.3%)
2,527
(6.4%)
3,942
(7.2%)
0,941
(9.0%)
4,883
(7.5%)
Martin
SINGH
0,364
(2.4%)
3,185
(8.0%)
3,549
(6.5%)
0,272
(2.6%)
3,821
(5.8%)
Niki
ASHTON
0,916
(6.0%)
1,794
(4.5%)
2,710
(4.9%)
1,027
(9.8%)
3,737
(5.7%)
Romeo
SAGANASH
0,032
(0.2%)
0,187
(0.5%)
0,219
(0.4%)
0,047
(0.4%)
266
(0.4%)

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The same pattern repeated itself across subsequent ballots.

Second Ballot

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Second Ballot Results by Voting Method, NDP Leadership Contest, March 24, 2012

Candidate Advance Conv. Day TOTAL
2nd B
Mail-in Electronic Adv Total Real-time
TOTALS 14,553
(23.3%)
38,538
(61.7%)
53,091
(85.0%)
9,403
(15.0%)
62,494
(100.0%)
Unassigned 644 1,152 1,796   1,796
Thomas
MULCAIR
5,890
(40.5%)
15,430
(40.0%)
21,320
(40.2%)
2,582
(27.5%)
23,902
(38.2%)
Brian
TOPP
4,540
(31.2%)
8,892
(23.1%)
13,432
(25.3%)
2,192
(23.3%)
15,624
(25.0%)
Nathan
CULLEN
1,877
(12.9%)
7,657
(19.9%)
9,534
(18.0%)
2,915
(31.0%)
12,449
(19.9%)
Peggy
NASH
2,246
(15.4%)
6,559
(17.0%)
8,805
(16.6%)
1,714
(18.2%)
10,519
(16.8%)

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Third Ballot

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Third Ballot Results by Voting Method, NDP Leadership Contest, March 24, 2012

Candidate Advance Conv. Day TOTAL
3rd B
Mail-in Electronic Adv Total Real-time
TOTALS 14,183
(22.6%)
37,631
(60.0%)
51,814
(82.6%)
10,922
(17.4%)
62,736
(100.0%)
Unassigned 1,014 2,059 3,073   3,073
Thomas
MULCAIR
6,596
(46.5%)
17,141
(45.6%)
23,737
(45.8%)
3,751
(34.3%)
27,488
(43.8%)
Brian
TOPP
5,256
(37.1%)
11,234
(29.9%)
16,490
(31.8%)
3,332
(30.5%)
19,822
(31.6%)
Nathan
CULLEN
2,331
(16.4%)
9,256
(24.6%)
11,587
(22.4%)
3,839
(35.1%)
15,426
(24.6%)

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Fourth Ballot

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Fourth Ballot Results by Voting Method, NDP Leadership Contest, March 24, 2012

Candidate Advance Conv. Day TOTAL
4th B
Mail-in Electronic Adv Total Real-time
TOTALS 13,808
(23.3%)
35,800
(60.5%)
49,608
(83.8%)
9,602
(16.2%)
59,210
(100.0%)
Unassigned 1,389 3,890 5,279   5,279
Thomas
MULCAIR
7,690
(55.7%)
20,993
(58.6%)
28,683
(57.8%)
5,198
(54.1%)
33,881
(57.2%)
Brian
TOPP
6,118
(44.3%)
14,807
(41.4%)
20,925
(42.2%)
4,404
(45.9%)
25,329
(42.8%)

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

Growth Between Ballots

When it came to winning over the preferences of advance voters, or down-ballot support on voting day, Mulcair was the overwhelming second choice of Saganash, Ashton, Singh and Dewar supporters after the first ballot, while on the next ballot Topp proved somewhat better than Mulcair in winning the second choices of Nash supporters.

By the final ballot, Mulcair edged ahead of Topp in second-choices of Cullen supporters (45% vs. 39%, vs. 16% who had no remaining preference on the ballot, and whose votes were thus "unassigned"). To win, however, Topp either needed over 80% of the previous Cullen supporters (excluding the unassigned), or else he needed new voters who had missed the earlier ballots that day to cast a vote for him on the fourth ballot. It was a tall mountain to climb, though given that the 4th ballot started at supper-time in the BC time-zone, it was at least worth a try.

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NDP Leadership Contest Results by Candidate and Ballot, March 24, 2012

Ballot RS NA MS PD PN NC BT TM Unas-
signed
1st 266 3,737 3,821 4,883 8,353 10,671 13,915 19,728
          +2,166 +1,778 +1,709 +4,174 +1,796
2nd         10,519 12,449 15,624 23,902 1,796
            +2,977 +4,198 +3,586 +1,277
3rd           15,426 19,822 27,488 3,073
              +5,507 +6,393 +2,206
4th             25,329 33,881 5,279

The Value of Various Predictors

We noted a few months ago that in 2003 the cumulative share of fundraising by the various NDP Leadership contestants had predicted their vote share on the first ballot to within 1.5 percentage points.

With that in mind, and now that the last of the four weekly sets of financial disclosure reports have been filed, how did the various possible predictors measure up?

We looked at the cumulative share of fundraising, the cumulative share of the number of contributions, along with the last weekly shares of both. Let's see how they wound up.

First Ballot Vote Share as Against Hypothesized Predictors, NDP Leadership Contest, March 24, 2012

Candidate Hypothesized Predictor % Vote
1st B
Wk to Mar 10 Cumulative
% # % $ % # % $
MULCAIR 22.2% 26.6% 25.0% 24.2% 30.2%
TOPP 6.3% 9.7% 11.2% 18.8% 21.3%
CULLEN 27.0% 23.7% 24.9% 17.3% 16.3%
NASH 21.2% 15.8% 15.6% 15.5% 12.8%
DEWAR 10.2% 12.0% 16.0% 14.8% 7.5%
SINGH 10.0% 10.3% 3.7% 5.8% 5.8%
ASHTON 3.1% 1.9% 3.5% 3.5% 5.7%
SAGANASH n/a   n/a   0.4%

None of the four hypothesized predictors fared as well as 2003, with only the cumulative share of fundraising even getting the order right. Still, fundraising appears to have been somewhat more reliable than endorsement point-counting schemes, or social media traffic (the latter in spite of the complete dumb-foundedness in some quarters that the world can't somehow be changed merely by sitting in front of a computer screen and watching the Twitter ticker scroll by).

Perhaps what the table shows us is the impact of Ed Broadbent's bombshell in the final week of the campaign, which seems to have had the effect of polarizing the choice back between Mulcair and Topp.

But if any candidate could really be said to have had a surge in the last week of the campaign, it must surely have been Mulcair himself, who outlasted and outwaited all his squabbling opponents. His first ballot vote-share exceeded that predicted by his fundraising to the tune of six full percentage points, as Nash wilted and Dewar positively collapsed. And, as his win looked more and more inevitable over the course of subsequent ballots, the air came completely out of any putative efforts to "stop him".

In any event, here's what the final fundraising charts look like, starting with the cumulative fundraising:

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

NDP Leadership Contestant Fundraising, by Weekly Report

Candidate Reporting to X number of weeks
before Voting Day
TOTAL
4 wks 3 wks 2 wks 1 wk
Thomas
MULCAIR
$238,003
1,085
$24,250
151
$41,240
272
$21,820
165
$325,314
1,673
Brian
TOPP
$213,982
538
$11,652
58
$13,270
85
$12,910
69
$251,814
750
Nathan
CULLEN
$154,976
948
$14,448
152
$38,511
355
$24,337
209
$232,272
1,664
Peggy
NASH
$163,318
688
$20,664
136
$11,908
82
$12,441
137
$208,331
1,043
Paul
DEWAR
$169,598
885
$8,795
41
$9,255
73
$10,600
70
$198,248
1,069
Martin
SINGH
$65,916
161
  $2,346
14
$10,169
74
$78,431
249
Niki
ASHTON
$33,370
161
$8,772
22
$3,635
25
$1,825
24
$47,602
232
GRAND
TOTAL
$1,039,163
4,466
$88,581
560
$120,165
906
$94,103
748
$1,342,012
6,680

Here are the weekly charts for fundraising totals and numbers of contributors:

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

And here are the charts showing the weekly shares of each:

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

Money, Momentum and Mudslinging Mark Final Week of NDP Leadership Race

March 20th, 2012 | 10 Comments

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

We pretend that some magic dataset or formula is going to help us predict the outcome of a given electoral contest, but in fact no-one really knows which indicator will turn out to be right until after it's all over. Except for one.

We believe that where there's money, there's momentum.

But all we know for sure is that where there's momentum, and the stakes are high, the mud is sure to follow.

The Money and the Momentum

To the extent that money means momentum, Thomas Mulcair and Nathan Cullen still have it. As of the second-last fundraising report the candidates will have to file before voting day, Mulcair is well ahead of his closest financial rival, Brian Topp ($303K vs $239K), while Cullen had pulled ahead of both Peggy Nash and Paul Dewar ($208K for Cullen vs $196K and $188K respectively).

[Analysis of the earlier financial filings can be found here.]

[Click on image for full-sized version]

Martin Singh and Niki Ashton trail the pack at $68.3K and $45.8K respectively, though Singh has raised barely $1,500 since February 4, while Ashton's campaign has pulled in more than ten times that amount ($18.7K) during the same time frame.

Looking at changes over time, while Thomas Mulcair is showing continued growth and strength in fundraising over recent weeks, it's Nathan Cullen who has continued his last minute burst of momentum — not only in the amount his campaign is raising where he all but matched Mulcair in the week ending March 3, but also in the number of contributions where Cullen again bested Mulcair, albeit with a smaller average contribution size.

Anecdotally, at least two other campaigns claim to have broken the $300K barrier after the reporting deadlines, both Brian Topp's campaign (which issued a news release about that milestone earlier in the week) and more recently Nathan Cullen's as well.

Here are the details of the three separate financial reports:

Gross Fundraising and Number of Contributors*, as reported in Weekly Leadership Contest Financial Reports, by Leadership Candidate and Report, Part 2(b) Directed Contributions only

  To Week 4 Week 3 Week 2 To Date
Amt Num Amt Num Amt Num Amt Num
All $1.039M 4,217 $88,581 555 $120,165 898 $1,248M 5,760
* NOTE: The number of contributors here may be less than the number of contributions reported below, as one contributor can give more than one contribution to a candidate. Contributors giving to more than one candidate will be double-counted, however.
TM $238,003 1,005 $24,250 148 $41,240 272 $303,493 1,425
BT $213,982 524 $11,652 58 $13,270 84 $238,904 666
NC $154,976 924 $14,448 152 $38,511 349 $207,935 1,425
PN $163,318 667 $20,664 135 $11,908 82 $195,890 884
PD $169,318 782 $8,795 41 $9,255 72 $187,648 895
MS $65,916 156 0 $2,346 14 $68,262 170
NA $33,370 159 $8,772 21 $3,635 25 $45,777 205

As well, I've updated the regional distribution documents (open PDFs), both by (a) province, and (b) postal region, though no particular changes in the regional patterns have occurred in the intervening two weeks.

Now to the timeline. Last time we looked at fundraising by month, but given that the new totals are coming in by week, maybe that's the better way to look at them this time around (except for the average contribution size chart, which is too herky-jerky to look at with weekly data).

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

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With the exception of a few peaks and lulls associated with the change in the calendar year, the leadership campaigns have been raising a combined $50K a week or so once the contest got going, moving up towards $100K weekly in the last few weeks. But again, how those global weekly takes are distributed gives some clues about the changing field in the race.

If we treat the weekly fundraising performance of each campaign as a share of the weekly total, we see that to March 3, Cullen and Mulcair are each sitting at 35% of the weekly fundraising, with Topp, Nash and Dewar clustered back together betweenh 7% and 11%, and Ashton bringing up the rear at 2.6%.

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

In terms of the campaigns' shares of the number of donations, Cullen garnered 42% or so of the contributions in the week ending March 3, to Mulcair's 32%, with the other three leading candidates much farther back at 7% to 8%, and Ashton at 2.3%.

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

A couple of strategic points should be noted. First of all, to the extent weekly fundraising shares are a predictor of anything, Mulcair and Cullen's momentum has come largely at the expense of Peggy Nash. Given an assumption that the presumed party stalwarts might try to combine forces after the first ballot against a perceived centrist threat, if none of Topp, Nash or Dewar found their way into a strong second place finish on the first ballot, that combination would become orders of magnitude harder to achieve.

Secondly, and on the other hand, it was not in fact the weekly fundraising totals that predicted the 2003 outcome, but the cumulative ones. If that's the better indicator, why might that be? Well, for one thing, because late money is hard to spend well. It's too late to hire full-time organizers and put them to much effective use signing up members or lining up local endorsements, too late to invest in national mailings, or predictive dialling phone banks, or well-designed database systems, or to organize a full-on get-out-the-vote campaign. It will buy some robocalls and telephone town halls (the first advertise the second, no matter what any candidate says about running a "robocall-free campaign"), and it might cover a quick IVR survey, a bit more travel, and a better floor show at convention.

On the other hand, 2003 organizing was done before blogging, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools that have dropped the cost of direct campaigning substantially in the meantime.

Thirdly, the reason we think money might predict the final outcome, and by implication why it might indicate momentum, is because the same kinds of ground organization are required to raise a lot of money from small donors, as are required to sell memberships, and then reach, persuade, identify, keep track of and pull your vote in a one-member-one-vote (OMOV) race.

Or are they? If you really have the wind in your sails (think back to the NDP in Québec last spring), a ground game is not necessary. In closer races, on the other hand, it certainly is.

In any event, looking at the overall shares does give a somewhat different picture than weekly shares, and it could thus help to explain the other major dynamic in the race on display this past week as well.

Cumulative NDP Leadership Candidate Gross Fundraising Shares to March 6, 2012, Part 2(b) Directed Contributions only

  Contribution
Count
Gross
Fundraising
Num* % Amt %
All 5,932 100% $1,247,909 100%
* NOTE: Data reported as the number of individual contributions, and NOT the number of contributors as above.
TM 1,236 20.8% $303,493 24.3%
BT 681 11.5% $238,904 19.1%
NC 1,455 24.5% $207,935 16.7%
PN 906 15.3% $195,890 15.7%
PD 999 16.8% $187,648 15.0%
MS 175 3.0% $68,262 5.5%
NA 208 3.5% $45,777 3.7%

The Momentum and the Mudslinging

Tom Mulcair told me last summer that — long before any poll numbers arrived to confirm the orange wave in Quebec — they knew they must have been growing in the province, when the first reports arrived about the Bloc Québécois pulling down the NDP's signs in Joliette. Looking back, the early Bloc poaching of NDP candidates was probably a reliable signal as well.

Fast forward to the leadership race at hand, and I think we can say that while Nathan Cullen has late-day money momentum, no-one has really pulled out the stops to try and stop him in his tracks, and thus while that does give him "wildcard" status in my books, I also think it means he's not yet perceived as a true threat.

Instead, the target has been primarily Mulcair: first through anonymously sourced stories about his parallel negotiations with the Conservatives and NDP, then a completely anonymous website encouraging voters to "kNOw Mulcair" (featuring a series of rather stereotyped NDP positions that sound like they either came from an outsider or the classic "overzealous party youth member"), followed by a series of anonymous spoof Twitter accounts (which were mean but, let's be honest, in their meanness were not that much worse than the generally appalling tenor and sycophancy on the #NDPldr Twitter feed overall).

Predictably each of the attacks, being unable to kill the king, made him stronger – particularly in a notoriously contrarian party like the NDP.

So out came the big guns this past Thursday. Globe reporter Gloria Galloway told CTV Question Period on the weekend that Daniel Leblanc of their bureau called up Ed Broadbent to ask him the questions, who in turn said he expressed his concerns about Mr. Mulcair's candidacy "frankly, because I was asked". Many others have assumed that Mr. Broadbent was put up to it by Brian Topp's campaign, which the former party leader has supported from the beginning. Whatever the origin of the story, Broadbent did not hesitate to repeat those concerns to the Toronto Star, CP, the CBC and Postmedia in subsequent days. (h/t Aaron Wherry)

He told the Globe that many people in the party are “supporting Brian, who doesn’t have a seat, over Tom, the man they have worked with. I don’t think it’s accidental,” and then unrepentantly told Postmedia two days later that "I have never had a personal vendetta or something so trivial or banal against Tom. But I have strong convictions about the truth in politics and I dislike intensely when someone gets a bum rap or when someone else tries to take credit for what other people are doing".

Broadbent's intervention brought a voluble response from the party's first elected MP in Québec, Phil Edmondston, who averred in an interview with La Presse that a defeat of Tom Mulcair would represent une «insulte magistrale» for Québec (basically a "major insult"), and that Brian Topp (the only other candidate he saw as having a chance to win) did not have the charisma necessary for the job.

Read Tim Harper in the Star for a wrap of the strategic fallout.

Another highly recommended overview of the Leadership race for those just now tuning in is this post from TC Norris, and just about anything written by Greg Fingas ("the Jurist") at the Accidental Deliberations blog.

—————————————

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

Cullen Momentum Threatening Mulcair, NDP Leadership Donation Data Suggests

March 7th, 2012 | 5 Comments

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

A closer look at monthly donation data in the NDP Leadership race suggests that Nathan Cullen's momentum may see him overtake Thomas Mulcair in the next week, if current trends prevail. More people gave money to Cullen than Dewar, Mulcair or Nash in the first 18 days of February, and he raised nearly as much money as the front-runner Mulcair over the same period.

The Headline News

Cullen's share of the Total Number of Contributions from the beginning of February to the filing of the last financial report (end of business on February 18) moved him ahead of Dewar and Mulcair (27% of all the contributions made vs. 19% for the other two) compared with January, while Mulcair remains ahead of Cullen in the share of Total Fundraising (26% of the total funds raised vs. 24%) over the same time period of time.

Of course, a new frontrunner means a new target, and a whole new level of scrutiny. If we've learned nothing else from the GOP primary season down south this year, it's that.

Unfortunately for Cullen's national prospects, however, the lion's share of that money (some 74.8% of it) is coming from BC. Still Cullen is not the only leadership candidate with a regional base of financial support as we'll see in a minute.

Over the course of the entire leadership race, Cullen's take still places him fifth, but his fundraising has been accelerating in recent weeks. Nevertheless, early favourite Brian Topp still remains in a strong second place. The next weekly report is due on Saturday.

The data for this analysis is contained in the detailed reporting of the leadership contestants' reports filed with Elections Canada on the weekend. The last of the donor geographical information was just posted late on Tuesday afternoon.

———————————————-

The Fundraising Primer

First a primer on how financial data is reported in a leadership race, as opposed to the other donations data we're used to seeing (skip down if you are only interested in the bottom line).

  1. Leadership candidates (or "leadership contestants" as they are called under the Elections Act) have to file a one-time Registration Report with Elections Canada, which gives various items of information, and includes a report of any contributions or loans made to the campaign *at the time of registration*.
  2. Leadership candidates can technically accept contributions in one of two ways:
    1. Directly to their campaign (called "Direct contributions"), in which case the donation is not eligible for a federal political tax credit.
    2. Passed through the political party's national office (confusingly called "DirectED contributions"), in which case the donation is eligible for a tax credit, and the party may also retain a share of the funds. The NDP, in the rules it established for this leadership race, decreed that all contributions to leadership contestants must be passed through the party (except for "pass the hat" small contributions, which would be reported under (i) above), and it is keeping 15% of the directed contributions in order to cover the costs of running the leadership race.
  3. All leadership contributions directed through the party are reportable by name. This is different from the case with direct contributions to a leadership contestant, which follow the same rules as for a party, riding association, election candidate or nomination contestant, whereby only contributors giving more than $200 in a reporting period are named. Of course, in both cases all the other information must be reported for named contributors as well, such as the date of the contribution, and the contributor's city, province and postal code.
  4. Contributions made to a leadership contestant are reported in six different places:
    1. By the political party on Part 2(b) of its quarterly and annual financial returns. This is how we knew about the leadership contestants' fundraising performance (or the lion's share of it at least) up to December 31, 2011, because the party had to report the directed contributions in its third and fourth quarter returns of 2011. Note that the amount of directed contributions to leadership contestants is in addition to the fundraising reported by the party itself on Part 2(a), and is not included in its party fundraising totals. Also note that no direct contributions to leadership candidates would be seen here, such as "pass the hat" small contributions made prior to the end of 2011.
    2. By the leadership contestant on his or her "Registration Report" (see A above), if any to begin with. Nathan Cullen was the only candidate to report pre-registration fundraising, but all those contributions were subsequently reported elsewhere, as they occurred after the launch of the leadership contest.
    3. Cumulatively, by the leadership contestant on his or her first "Weekly Contributions Report", covering the period from the beginning of the contest to four weeks before the vote. These are the reports that started to show up on Saturday night, and which I analyze below. Direct contributions, including "pass the hat" small contributions, are reported on Part 2(a), while contributions directed through the political party are reported on Part 2(b) of these reports.
    4. Incrementally one week at a time after that, in the next three weekly contribution reports leading up to voting day, and
    5. Comprehensively, by the leadership contestant, together with all campaign and candidate personal expenses, in a "Final Return", filed six months after the end of the campaign.
    6. Comprehensively, by any leadership contestant with outstanding financial obligations, in "Interim Reports" filed every six months thereafter with the Chief Electoral Officer (for example, here are the Interim Reports for the 2006 Liberal Leadership contest).

So, to get a complete picture of the contributions made to leadership candidates in the NDP leadership race, you need to total:

  • any contributions made prior to the start of the leadership contest on their Registration reports, plus
  • any contributions made directly to the candidate and directed through the party, as reported in the first of the weekly reports, plus
  • any subsequent contributions reported in each of the next three weekly incremental reports, plus
  • any contributions not previously reported (i.e., from the last week of the leadership contest, or after voting day) as shown in the Final Report and/or any subsequent Interim Reports filed until all outstanding financial obligations have been cleared.

Or, to keep it simple, you can just leave the heavy-lifting to me.

———————————————-

The Fundraising Totals

Here are the totals for each candidate to date:

Gross Fundraising by NDP Leadership Candidate, by category, to February 18, 2012

Cand
Inits
Small, Direct
[Part 2(a)]
Directed*
[Part 2(b)]
Total
$Amt Num $Avg $Amt Num $Avg $Amt Num $Avg
ALL 7,604 7,171 1.06 1,088,413 4,368 249.18 1,096,016 11,539 94.98
* Amounts reported before the 15% retained by the NDP to cover leadership race costs.
** To Dec 31, 2011. Figures taken from Part 2(b) of Dec, 2011 quarterly NDP financial return, as withdrawn candidates have not filed weekly returns.
TM 3,530 342 10.32 238,003 1,005 236.82 241,533 1,347 179.31
BT 1,200 460 2.61 213,982 524 408.36 215,182 984 218.68
PD 169,598 782 216.88 169,598 782 216.88
PN 629 60 10.48 163,318 667 244.85 163,947 727 225.51
NC 973 199 4.89 151,274 924 163.72 152,247 1,123 135.57
MS 662 5,950 0.11 65,916 156 422.54 66,577 6,106 10.90
NA 610 160 3.81 33,370 159 209.87 33,980 319 106.52
RC**   n/a   35,400 64 553.13 35,400 64 553.13
RS**   n/a   17,552 87 201.75 17,552 87 201.75

First a few notes on the totals:

  • Since the NDP does not allow direct contributions to leadership candidates, the only Part 2(a) amounts shown here are "Pass the Hat" amounts, which take a bit of explanation in terms of how they're reported. Basically, if you pass the hat at one or more events, you have to record both the total collected, and the total attendance. The attendance is then reported as the number of contributors. So, for example, say Martin Singh attended a series of events at which a total of 5,950 people attended and where his campaign passed the hat for donations: it looks as though 5,950 people contributed to his campaign, at an average of 11 cents each. Now I guess you could count the total number of contributors for each candidate and pretend that it's a good indicator of organization, but to me it just looks as though someone couldn't raise much out of "pass the hat" operations in a big room, so I'm not sure that's very predictive. Probably better to stick to the number of contributors in the other categories instead.
  • In my earlier blogpost on money, I reported on the number of contribuTIONs (i.e., line items), because that was all that was available to go on from the third and fourth quarter party reports. In the weekly reports, the candidates have to report on the actual number of contribuTORs (i.e., consider that a contributor might have made more than one contribution). These are the numbers now reported above (except for Messrs. Chisholm and Saganash who do not have weekly filings, and thus I'm taking their number of contribuTIONs data from the Dec 2011 filings instead). In practice there were 249 more contributions than contributors, so the gap between the two figures is not too big. To get really complicated, a given contributor could have given to more than one campaign as well, which wouldn't have been caught in either tabulation.
  • It follows, then, that if the number of donors data is wonky because of distorted "pass the hat" contributor counts, one should really read the overall average contribution size with a lot of scepticism as well, if what you're looking for is an indicator of success. The most obvious example again is the financial situation of Martin Singh, whose 5,950 "pass the hat contributors" donated an average of 11 cents each, while his other 156 contributors gave an average of $422.54. I guess we could say that he had an average donation size of $10.90, but it would likely mislead us as to the breadth of his organization, or the skewness of that dataset.
  • Finally, the totals above won't match the Elections Canada totals reported on their site, because Elections Canada sums up *all* direct contributions, plus only the transferred portion of the directed contributions (i.e., net of the party's 15% cut). To me, that's adding apples and oranges, but enough of the Cullen plan … ;-)

In light of those cautions, we see that Thomas Mulcair has pulled ahead of Brian Topp in the amount raised by their respective campaigns ($242K vs $215K), and Paul Dewar has pulled slightly ahead of Peggy Nash (170K vs 164K), but that Nathan Cullen finds himself not that far behind now ($152K).

Moreover, while Mulcair again claims the greatest number of named contributors (see above to understand why I'm not counting the total contributors), Cullen has passed the others and snuck up on him (924 to Mulcair's 1,005), and is followed a ways back by Dewar, then Nash, then Topp (782 vs 667 vs 524).

Now, as mentioned above, here's where it gets interesting. Let's look again at the candidates' cumulative fundraising over time (since this analysis depends on dates, and since no dates are reported for "pass the hat" donations, it includes the directed Part 2(b) contributions only):

[Click on image for full-sized version]

You can see that Mulcair pulled ahead of Topp in the last month or so, in parallel with the growth in Cullen's fundraising success. More recently, Paul Dewar was able to put a bit more distance between himself and Peggy Nash.

Now no sooner had the media started reporting the fundraising figures, or me tweeting the initial graph, when campaigns started getting in touch to advise us of what was in their pipelines and did not get included. Peggy Nash's team says that another $20,000 is yet to be reported, Paul Dewar's team claimed total fundraising of $171,000 in their "Paul Dewar By the Numbers — Priceless" release yesterday, and Nathan Cullen's campaign hinted that their next fundraising report would also shake up people's perception of the race. But, hey, we've got to save something for next week, right.

The Monthly Timelines

But more insight is gained by looking at both fundraising performance and number of donations by month. And, remembering that the percent of the fundraising take predicted to within 2.5% of the final outcome in the 2003 leadership race, the changing shares of the total money raised this time does seem to mirror many observers' soundings of the changing state of the race.

Monthly shares of total fundraising by NDP Leadership candidate, to February 18, 2012, Part 2(b) Directed Contributions only

Cand 2011 2012 Tot
(%)
Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan to Feb 18
All 11,850
(100%)
67,847
(100%)
161,047
(100%)
411,491
(100%)
200,075
(100%)
176,966
(100%)
$1.04M
(100%)
TM   11,256
(17%)
13,470
(8%)
117,457
(29%)
50,105
(25%)
45,715
(26%)
$238K
(22.9%)
BT 11,850
(100%)
33,170
(49%)
51,700
(32%)
71,927
(17%)
28,183
(14%)
17,152
(10%)
$214K
(20.6%)
PD   15,690
(23%)
29,370
(18%)
49,226
(12%)
41,587
(21%)
33,725
(19%)
$170K
(16.3%)
PN   4,275
(6%)
14,675
(9%)
89,273
(22%)
27,865
(14%)
27,230
(15%)
$163K
(15.7%)
NC   2,100
(3%)
33,769
(21%)
44,727
(11%)
31,676
(16%)
42,704
(24%)
$155K
(14.9%)
MS   1,356
(2%)
18,063
(11%)
28,395
(7%)
6,174
(3%)
2,040
(1%)
$65.9K
(6.3%)
NA       10,485
(3%)
14,485
(7%)
8,400
(5%)
$33.4K
(3.2%)

This all looks more dramatic on a chart, so let's look again at all the different ways to view this dataset. One caution to bear in mind, however, is that we are only comparing 18 days of February to full months in all other cases except last September, and so any conclusions drawn should be tentative until next week's tallies are reported and included.

First of all, the monthly fundraising of each leadership contestant.

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

Here we see that after building to a strong year-end for most candidates, January and February established a new but lower equilibrium for most of them, with only Nathan Cullen substantially bucking the trend in total dollars raised. This counter-trend is what saw Cullen's share of the total start to move upwards toward Thomas Mulcair's.

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

Cullen's burst of fundraising in February was largely the result of a big hike in his number of contributors, relative to the counts of his competitors, as seen below.

Monthly shares of total numbers of contributions by NDP Leadership candidate, to February 18, 2012, Part 2(b) Directed Contributions only

Cand 2011 2012 Tot
(%)
Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan to Feb 18
All 26
(100%)
239
(100%)
537
(100%)
1,511
(100%)
1,033
(100%)
1,120
(100%)
4,466
(100%)
TM   75
(31%)
65
(12%)
456
(30%)
274
(27%)
215
(19%)
1,085
(24.3%)
NC   15
(6%)
131
(24%)
264
(17%)
240
(23%)
298
(27%)
948
(21.2%)
PD   63
(26%)
145
(27%)
253
(17%)
207
(20%)
217
(19%)
885
(19.8%)
PN   18
(8%)
64
(12%)
265
(18%)
134
(13%)
207
(18%)
688
(15.4%)
BT 26
(100%)
64
(27%)
88
(16%)
127
(8%)
118
(11%)
115
(10%)
538
(12.0%)
MS   4
(2%)
44
(8%)
85
(6%)
23
(2%)
5
(0%)
161
(3.6%)
NA       61
(4%)
37
(4%)
63
(6%)
161
(3.6%)

Although it was share of the fundraising totals that predicted the first ballot vote in 2003, we did notice that share of the total number of contributions better predicted the results of at least one of the recently released internal polls, so it is worth taking notice of this potentially explanatory indicator as well. Here is where Cullen's presumed momentum appears particularly strong.

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

The pattern of monthly average contribution sizes for each candidate confirm the general principle that leadership contestants need to raise some seed money from large contributors at the beginning of the race, and then once their campaign's fundraising infrastructure is built up, they slow down to a dull roar in which more smaller-sized donations are pursued (currently ranging from $130-$150 on average in February to date, with Mr. Mulcair a bit closer to $200).

The only two candidates who haven't followed that path are Niki Ashton, whose January totals probably reflect the fact that much of her December money didn't get processed until after the New Year, and Martin Singh, who has lent his campaign $170K and must raise the necessary funds to pay it back. Raising large-scale donations does not appear to be a problem for him, however, certainly not recently.

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

The Regional Distribution

Nearly half the funds raised since the beginning of the Leadership Race have come from Ontario, and it's also the province that accounts for the majority of fundraising for Paul Dewar (78% of his take), Brian Topp (77.8% of his), Peggy Nash (71.9%) and to a lesser extent Thomas Mulcair (38.6%). Québec produced less than a quarter of Ontario's yield, but Mulcair picked up three-quarters of that, making up another 38.4% of his overall fundraising.

BC was responsible for about a fifth of all money raised. After Cullen, at 74.8% of his fundraising take, the west coast province was next most important for Martin Singh, making up 51.0% of his total raised; whereas 58.1% of Niki Ashton's fundraising was concentrated in Manitoba.

As a percent of each province or territory's tally, Thomas Mulcair has so far "won" in Québec, Alberta, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nunavut, while Brian Topp has "won" in Ontario and Saskatchewan, Paul Dewar in Manitoba, Peggy Nash in Newfoundland & Labrador, Nathan Cullen in BC, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and Martin Singh in Nova Scotia.

[Click here to view all the provincial fundraising totals and percents (opens PDF)]

Drilling down a bit further to the "postal regions" (i.e., grouping by the first letter of the contributor's postal code), we see that Paul Dewar's main fundraising strength in that province is Eastern Ontario (K), while Brian Topp, Peggy Nash and Thomas Mulcair were concentrated in the City of Toronto (M) instead.

As a percent of each postal region's fundraising tally, Dewar "won" in Eastern Ontario (K), Topp won in the 905 (L) and the City of Toronto (M), Nash won in the Southwest (N), and Mulcair won the fundraising stakes in the North of the province (P), along with all three postal regions in Québec (G, H and J).

[Click here to view all the fundraising totals and percents by postal region (opens PDF)]

We'll repeat this analysis in a week's time (without the long-winded explanations) and see where things move next.

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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

Beginning of the End Games: Paths to Win in the NDP Leadership Race

February 29th, 2012 | 12 Comments

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

Just three NDP leadership candidates have a path to win, according to new poll results released by the campaign manager of one of the three, but naturally no-one else agrees with him on which three they are.

In an email sent to that campaign's inner circle Wednesday afternoon (see below), Dan Mackenzie outlined further details of the large-sample IVR poll commissioned on behalf of his candidate Paul Dewar, showing how the second-ballot preferences of other candidates' supporters broke down (opens PDF), and arguing that they show only Dewar, Nash or Mulcair as able to win.

The poll, as we reported earlier, is several weeks old now, and predated the withdrawal of Romeo Saganash, the Québec City debate, Dewar's Québec caucus endorsements, and the membership cutoff, but it is still the only evidence that has emerged to date as to the direction of other candidates' down-ballot support.

According to the N=6,373, Feb 8-9, 1.9 MoE IVR poll conducted by , the second-choices of first ballot supporters of all the then-contestants were as follows:

First
Choice
Second Choice Candidate Und
NA NC PD TM PN RS MS BT
Wtd
Total
10.7% 14.4% 21.2% 16.7% 19.4% 3.6% 1.8% 12.4%  
N Ashton   14.9% 25.0% 19.7% 18.0% 4.4% 0.9% 4.8% 12.3%
N Cullen 13.4%   24.9% 18.2% 18.6% 2.4% 8.3% 14.2%
P Dewar 9.0% 12.5%   22.0% 27.7% 2.9% 1.1% 8.8% 16.0%
T Mulcair 7.8% 15.3% 21.1%   26.0% 4.2% 0.5% 16.4% 8.7%
P Nash 11.2% 11.1% 25.5% 19.4%   3.4% 1.4% 13.4% 14.5%
R Sagan. 16.5% 10.3% 14.4% 23.7% 15.5%   1.0% 1.0% 17.5%
M Singh 21.1% 15.8% 15.8% 10.5% 10.5% 10.5%   2.6% 13.2%
B Topp 7.8% 5.0% 20.8% 23.0% 30.4% 2.2% 0.9%   9.9%

With ballots and voting instructions set to arrive in the mail of NDP members any day now, of course, all the campaigns are turning their minds to what they need to do to get over the finish line in first place.

But let's take a look at what it would take for each of the top five candidates to win, using those numbers as a starting point.

First of all, we need to keep in mind that while Romeo Saganash has suspended his leadership campaign (he continues to raise money for it, however), I understand that as he did not withdraw from the race before the deadline of January 24, his name will therefore remain on the printed version of the first ballot. How they handle the drop-offs after the first ballot I'm unsure, but let's work from the known at least, inasmuch as the bottom person and anyone having less than 1% of the vote must drop off, along with anyone else who voluntarily withdraws after that ballot.

Using the first and second choice data from the Feb 8-9 Dewar poll, as weighted using the February 2 membership provincial totals, here's a rough approximation of how things might unfold.

Decided
Vote% 
Leadership Contestants Und.
TM PN PD NC BT NA MS RS
1st BALL 25.5% 16.8% 15.1% 12.8% 12.7% 9.5% 4.1% 3.6% [31%]
fr Sagan. 0.9% 0.6% 0.5% 0.4% 0.6%     0.6%
fr Singh 0.4% 0.4% 0.6% 0.6% 0.1% 0.9%     0.5%
2nd BALL 26.8% 17.8% 16.3% 13.8% 12.8%  11.0%     1.2%
fr Ashton  2.2% 2.0% 2.7% 1.6% 0.5%       1.3%
3rd BALL  28.9% 19.8% 19.0% 15.5% 13.4%       2.5%
fr Topp  3.1% 4.1% 2.8% 0.7%         1.3%
 4th BALL 32.0% 23.8% 21.8% 16.1%          3.8%
fr Cullen 2.9% 3.0% 4.0%           2.3%
 5th BALL 35.0% 26.8% 25.8%           6.1%
fr Dewar  5.7% 7.1%              4.1%
 6th BALL 40.6% 34.0%             10.3%

As you can see, any number of variables since the survey was conducted could change the very tight ranking between its 2nd-5th place finishers.

But according to these numbers, Dewar makes his first big move in this scenario as the leading second choice of Niki Ashton supporters.  On the next round, however, he loses ground to Peggy Nash, as the result of her being the leading second choice of Brian Topp supporters. But then Dewar moves up to nearly match Nash after Nathan Cullen drops off, given that he is somewhat more favoured as the second choice of Cullen supporters.

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

Second choices of Nathan Cullen supporters in the 2012 NDP Leadership race, according to Feb 8-9 IVR poll conducted for the Paul Dewar campaign

Suppose, on the other hand, that Topp was placed ahead of Cullen. Now the second-choices of Cullen's supporters would kick in one ballot earlier, putting Dewar into second place ahead of Nash — at least according to these numbers.

On the other hand, if Dewar could push past Nash, he might be able to benefit from his above-average second choice support from Ashton, Cullen, and Nash herself, to offer a stronger challenge to Mulcair.

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

Second choices of Peggy Nash supporters in the 2012 NDP Leadership race, according to Feb 8-9 IVR poll conducted for the Paul Dewar campaign

Finally, if Dewar were in fifth place (say with 12.5% on the first ballot, rather than 15.1%), his supporters' second choice votes would give slightly more to Peggy Nash than to Thomas Mulcair,  but not enough to close the gap between the two front-runners in that case, and Mulcair goes on to win.

Careful readers will wonder why, in the last ballot for example, not all of Dewar's hypothetical 25.8% of the vote is distributed to the other two candidates. This is because those voters' stated second choices have already fallen off the ballot. In real life, their third or fourth choice would then be counted, as this system always counts the highest remaining preferential vote still on the voter's ballot,.

While these exact results would also be subject to a number of additional factors, such as:

  • new membership sign-ups
  • changes in support of the various candidates
  • a shrinking undecided rate
  • third and subsequent choices down-ballot
  • early withdrawals by one candidate or another
  • voting on Convention day itself
  • etc., etc.

… they still give the reader an idea of the kinds of challenges involved in winning when needing to break out of a pack of four fairly equally weighted challengers to a front-runner. Subject to these considerations, I think we can say that the chance of any another candidate beating Thomas Mulcair at this stage will depend on their placing even slightly ahead of their competitors, and hoping the rest of the candidates drop off in the most opportune order.

For Peggy Nash, she is the leading second choice of Brian Topp's and Paul Dewar's supporters, but also Thomas Mulcair's in this poll. So long as Mulcair places ahead of her, she will never get to claim that tranche of support, and thus her overall second-choice tally is misleading. She could win if Mulcair were behind her, but has a much harder path to victory if he's ahead.

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

Second choices of Thomas Mulcair supporters in the 2012 NDP Leadership race, according to Feb 8-9 IVR poll conducted for the Paul Dewar campaign

Brian Topp shows little second-choice support in this poll, while Nathan Cullen's first- and second-choice support in it is no doubt underestimated by now.

In any event, several other campaigns have been in the field since the membership cut-off, including a two-question IVR poll from the Nash camp a week and a half ago, an online poll that looked a lot like the Topp poll from last November, and another 5-question IVR poll the other day, asking for membership status, gender and the respondent's first, second and third choices. If any of them show the least break-out for any of the challengers, we can be certain we'll be seeing their results in some form or another in coming days.

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From: danxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2012 14:40:46 -0500
Subject: Insider Update – Paul Dewar polling
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dear Dewar Campaign Activist,

With just under 4 weeks until the leadership convention, I want to share some internal campaign information with you about Paul Dewar’s path to victory.

As you know, a few weeks ago we conducted a large IVR poll of NDP members to ask who they are supporting for NDP leader on the first and second ballot. We contacted 56,522 NDP member households and received 6,373 responses from every region of Canada. The poll had a margin of error of 1.19%, 19 times out of twenty. At the time we publicly released the raw and weighted (to reflect the membership figures) results of 1stand 2nd ballot support. Those results are at the bottom of this email.

As a key Paul Dewar supporter, I’d like to share some more key information from that poll showing that Paul is well-positioned to win. Attached here is a PDF that shows where the second choices of each candidate get distributed should they fall off the ballot. This is information we haven't yet shared publicly as it has a great impact on our campaign’s strategy. Please keep in mind that this data was collected before Romeo Saganash withdrew from the race, before leading members of Romeo's campaign came to Paul, and before Paul picked up some impressive Quebec MP endorsements.

What the numbers show is that three candidates are in a position to win: Thomas Mulcair, Peggy Nash and Paul Dewar. While the other candidates in this race have run strong campaigns, none of them have the combination of first and second ballot support needed to win.

While Mulcair is running first he is far from a first ballot victory. Our numbers show that as candidates lower in the polling drop off the ballot, and their second choices are distributed, the gap closes significantly. Based on the distribution of 2nd ballot choices, if the election were held today it would be a tight finish with either Paul, Peggy Nash, or Thomas Mulcair winning.

Here’s where you come in. With less than four weeks to go, our campaign is gaining momentum. We are in a strong position to win this race. But we need your help in this home stretch, to seal the deal.

Over the next week, when the ballots are mailed to members, it will be crucial for our campaign to identify as many voters supporting Paul on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd ballot.

We need to continue to contrast Paul’s experience, passion, popular appeal, and social democratic values with the other two leading candidates.

Now I know we ask a lot of you, but now is the time to re-double your efforts. In the phone banks, on the candidate’s tour, at events, by donating, tweeting, and through our canvassing – let’s give it one last push and win this.

Keep up the great work!

Dan Mackenzie
Campaign Manager
Paul Dewar Campaign

RAW NUMBERS BEFORE WEIGHTING

Count %

Niki Ashton 466 7.3%

Nathan Cullen 470 7.4%

Paul Dewar 726 11.4%

Thomas Mulcair 1098 17.2%

Peggy Nash 807 12.7%

Romeo Saganash 171 2.7%

Martin Singh 154 2.4%

Brian Topp 508 8.0%

Undecided 1973 31.0%

Total 6373 100%

FIRST CHOICE (weighted to NDP membership numbers by province)

Thomas Mulcair 25.5%

Peggy Nash 16.8%

Paul Dewar 15.1%

Nathan Cullen 12.8%

Brian Topp 12.7%

Niki Ashton 9.5%

Martin Singh 4.1%

Romeo Saganash 3.6%

SECOND CHOICE (weighted to NDP membership numbers by province)

Paul Dewar 21.2%

Peggy Nash 19.4%

Thomas Mulcair 16.7%

Nathan Cullen 14.4%

Brian Topp 12.4%

Niki Ashton 10.7%

Romeo Saganash 3.6%

Martin Singh 1.8%
 

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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

UPDATED: BC and Ontario to decide NDP Leadership outcome

February 21st, 2012 | 9 Comments

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

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.

[Click on image to open full-sized version.]

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
TOT  128,351 100.0% 100.0%
* Based on StatsCan July 1, 2011 estimated population
BC  38,735 13.3% 30.2%
ON  36,760 38.8% 28.6%
MB  12,056 3.6% 9.4%
AB  10,249 11.0% 8.0%
SK  11,264 3.1% 8.8%
QC  12,266 23.1% 9.6%
NS  3,844 2.7% 3.0%
NL  1,030 1.5% 0.8%
PE  268 0.4% 0.2%
NB  955 2.2% 0.7%
Terr.  924 0.3% 0.7%

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.

Prov Membership
Oct-11 Nov-11 % chg Feb-18 % chg Overall
TOT 83,824 95,006  +13.3%  128,351 +35.1% +53.1%
BC 30,000 31,456 +4.9%  38,735 +23.1% +29.1%
ON 22,225 25,722 +15.7%  36,760 +42.9% +65.4%
MB 10,307 10,514 +2.0%  12,065 +14.7% +17.0%
AB 9,033 8,361 -7.4%  10,249 +22.6% +13.5%
SK 8,929 9,442 +5.7%  11,264 +19.3% +26.2%
QC 1,695 5,558 +227.9%  12,266 +120.7% +623.7%
NS 1,300 2,600 +100.0%  3,844 +47.8% +195.7%
NL 200 1,184 +492.0%  1,030 -13.0% +415.0%
PE 135 169 +25.2%  268 +58.6% +98.5%
NB n/a n/a    955    
Terr. n/a n/a    924    

 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.

Prov Density*
Oct-11 Nov-11 Feb-18
TOT  411.4  363.0  268.7
* StatsCan July 1, 2011 estimated population / NDP membership
BC 152.4 145.4  118.1
ON 601.7 519.9  363.8
MB 121.3 118.9  103.7
AB 418.4 452.0  368.8
SK 118.5 112.0  93.9
QC 4,707.8 1,435.7  650.6
NS 2,553.0 431.3  245.9
NL 727.2 363.6  495.7
PE 1,080.7 863.3  544.4
NB      791.1
Terr.      120.9

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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

The Push, the Pin, the Polls, the Plea, and the Counterpunch: NDP Leadership Race Gets Competitive

February 15th, 2012 | 8 Comments

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

A series of moves and counter-moves by NDP Leadership campaigns over the last few days has set the race on a much more competitive - even combative - footing for the next few weeks leading up to the Winnipeg debate at the end of February.

The Push

This time last week, both the Topp and Mulcair camps had been hoping and really expecting to be able to push Paul Dewar out of the contest Monday after what was expected to be a difficult Quebec City debate for him on the weekend. An exit by Dewar, who has been working hard on his french and his performance, but still making uneven progress, would have simplified the race for both (perceived) front-runners. And many observers (and some spinners) were also counting on an early exit by Manitoba M.P. Niki Ashton after weak fundraising numbers became public.

But the lady was not for turning, and Dewar was not born yesterday.

Ashton's campaign took a look at their fundraising progress since the new year, and retooled their message to highlight her ability to speak for her generation. Coupled with her academic background in foreign affairs and facility in the french language, it all allowed her to deliver a much-improved debate performance on the weekend, and live to fight on.

Meanwhile, the pros on Dewar's team had built handling the Quebec City debate into their campaign plan for months, and they were well-prepared to deal with the incoming volleys. The strategy had three parts.

The Pin

There is a chess move called "a pin", where an opponent's piece is caught in a Catch-22 situation: either move and lose something else, or stay put and be sacrificed. You can't pin your opponent unless they are already badly positioned or step into it, but then again you have to be able to see the opening. The Prime Minister for example thinks he has the NDP pinned when he reportedly says that "if Mulcair wins, I win, and if Mulcair doesn't win, I win".

The move on Sunday began with an innocuous-sounding question from Dewar to Peggy Nash about whether she supported public healthcare, to which she gave the predictable answer "yes". He then followed up by asking what she would do as prime minister if the Québec government were to charge hospital user fees. Wanting to demonstrate that she understood healthcare to be a provincial matter, Nash answered that "We hope that we want our health care system to be public, but really it’s a provincial jurisdiction, so it’s the decision of Quebecers" (translation courtesy Joanna Smith of the Toronto Star).

Fast forward to the scrums after the debate, and Nash was pressed further for details by both english- and french-language reporters, saying that as PM she would make sure the provinces had sufficient funds to run a public system, but again repeating the assertion that it was a provincial jurisdiction and was therefore "their choice".

In his own scrum, the last of the day, Dewar took the obvious questions on his performance and his french, and then on his organizational plan for Quebec, and finally he was asked what he thought of Nash's reply to his question. "I was disappointed," he said. "Why?" the reporters asked him. "Because we dealt with this question in the last election, and Jack was very strong on it. We want to have the Canada Health Act enforced for everyone, and it's not fair that some people would have to pay user fees and not others," Dewar said. And all the reporters went over to mark down that spot on their recorders.

Nash was thus pinned. She would either have to retract her statement, or double-down on it. Dewar showed that he could challenge a female opponent while still behaving like a gentleman, and wedge Nash on an issue that would cause some of her supporters or potential supporters to think again. She responded the next day with an email blast from a young Québec M.P. who had recently endorsed her (Élaine Michaud), and a strong statement to Aaron Wherry of Macleans.ca saying she stood both in favour of the Canada Health Act and against user fees, but still never answering the question of what she would be prepared to do to prevent them if implemented.

UPDATE: Nash finally clarified this last point in a letter to the editor in the Toronto Star on Wednesday.

The Polls

The next morning at 10 AM Eastern, minutes after Brian Topp's campaign released an endorsement letter from Jack Layton's mother Doris, the Dewar campaign sent a depth charge into the leadership race. They issued a media advisory saying that they would be releasing the results of a very large IVR poll at noon, previewing its sample-size and methodology, and asserting that only three candidates had a path to victory.

Since Brian Topp's "shock and awe" entry into the leadership race, he has been accorded the status of a frontrunner by every observer. But as with the Iraq war, shock and awe after awhile gives way to push-back; and Topp has been struggling to learn the performance aspects of being a candidate as much as Dewar has struggled with his french. To many observers, Topp's shyness, cheshire smile, confidence and occasionally awkward shots at his opponents have not come across well, and his phone bank was renowned for its excessively negative hits on his opponents when voters identified as supporters of other candidates on the first ballot.

That Topp was not in first place was not really a surprise to anyone (likely even him). That a poll would place him slightly behind Nathan Cullen in fifth place was unimaginable for that campaign, which shot back in complete disbelief of the results, impugning their validity and the integrity of the polling firm and the campaign that had commissioned it, and unleashing a torrent of innuendo on Twitter. This was followed by a statement extolling his campaign's own phone canvassing results, hinting that they were more reliable than "robo-calls" (as though calling on behalf of a campaign did not introduce any response bias, when everyone knows that phone canvassing is far better at picking up checks than X's).

Meanwhile, the poll's reported leader, Thomas Mulcair, was left to watch his opponents duke it out for the right to take him on later, while his campaign released their own poll later in the evening, also showing him in first place, though with Dewar lower than Topp. Never get in the way, as they say, when your opponents are already busy with each other.

The Plea

Finally, Dewar's camp released their raw unweighted results with some other regional information in an email blast later in the evening, accompanied by a defence of their candidate's campaign to date, and a plea to rally the "strong social democratic" forces against a move to take their beloved party to the right. To say this email was badly received by its intended audience (the party establishment backing Topp) would be an understatement, but it clearly signalled Dewar's intentions as to the eventual outcome of the contest.

The Counterpunch

By Tuesday, the Topp campaign decided it needed to bomb the bridges not only on Dewar's french but on his entire strategy, with the candidate personally giving an interview to the Globe and Mail attacking his opponent (something he had earlier sworn he would never do), and other supporters calling the campaign's late evening e-blast "bizarro".

The Side Story

Meanwhile, Nathan Cullen appears to be building momentum – in some quarters because of his joint nominations proposal (for example, the boost by the LeadNow.ca youth engagement organization, and recovering strategic voting advocates such as Project Democracy's Alice Klein and Catch-22's Gary Shaul) - and in other quarters, increasingly, in spite of it.

And under the radar of the other storylines at the Sunday debate, Cullen happily served as the foil against which Tom Mulcair could demonstrate his bona fides to party faithful by criticizing the Cullen plan, all the while giving it and Cullen more oxygen.

The candidates are each heading out on their own tours between now and the Winnipeg debate on February 26, and thus are unlikely to cross swords again except through the media.

But if there's one thing we can say now, it's that the two ingredients for the national media to find a contest interesting (polls and conflict) have finally surfaced in the NDP leadership race. And these are stories they know how to cover.

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Finally, some notes on the data.

The Mulcair poll was done by a consulting firm (they won't say who), which conducted live phone interviews with a sample of 1,105 between February 6-8, 2012, having an undecided rate of 32%, and a margin of error on the national decided vote of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. It reported the following first ballot results, as given to Postmedia News, which were weighted by the proportion of members in each province (as of an unknown date):

Thomas MULCAIR – 31.1 %

Peggy NASH – 17.5 %

Brian TOPP - 14.8 %

Nathan CULLEN – 14.2 %

Paul DEWAR – 13.8 %

Niki ASHTON – 5.3 %

Martin SINGH – 0.9 %

Membership sales close on Saturday, February 18, and the party will be releasing the final membership counts by province on Tuesday, February 21 (five days before the Winnipeg debate). The Mulcair campaign is now setting expectations that it won't meet its earlier goal of 20,000 new members in Quebec, but more probably a figure somewhat above 10,000. Will there be a February upside surprise? I guess we'll have to wait and see. That lower number would represent approximately 270 memberships sold per Québec MP endorsing him for most of the race (I used the figure of 37, although he's recently up to 40 Québec caucus members).

Brian Topp's campaign reports that their checkmarks are running 28% of contact across both phonebanks (Montréal and BC), and that they expect good membership sales from a number of target groups. Martin Singh's campaign earlier reported selling 3,800 new members. The Nash campaign is apparently targetting CAW members for sign-ups, as well.

Dewar camp releases full NDP Leadership poll results

February 13th, 2012 | 4 Comments

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

The Paul Dewar campaign just released further regional details of their leadership poll, and make a clear pitch to Brian Topp's supporters.

———————————————-

Dear New Democrats,

I want to share with you some of the polling that has been done by the Paul Dewar campaign to give you a clear indication of how this leadership race is shaping up.

On February 8th and 9th our campaign used an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) poll to contact 56,522 households of NDP members according to the latest NDP membership data (as of February 2nd) from Federal Office. Of those households 6,373 responded from every region of Canada.

The research asked respondents to select their first and second choice for leader from a list of the candidates. The poll also asked respondents if they are a current NDP member. Results were then weighted to reflect the membership numbers in each province – and have a margin of error of 1.19%.

The results of the polling are as follows:

RAW NUMBERS BEFORE WEIGHTING

Candidate Count %
Niki Ashton 466 7.3%
Nathan Cullen 470 7.4%
Paul Dewar 726 11.4%
Thomas Mulcair 1098 17.2%
Peggy Nash 807 12.7%
Romeo Saganash 171 2.7%
Martin Singh 154 2.4%
Brian Topp 508 8.0%
Undecided 1973 31.0%
Total 6373 100.0%

FIRST CHOICE (weighted to NDP membership numbers by province)

Thomas Mulcair 25.5%
Peggy Nash 16.8%
Paul Dewar 15.1%
Nathan Cullen 12.8%
Brian Topp 12.7%
Niki Ashton 9.5%
Martin Singh 4.1%
Romeo Saganash 3.6%

SECOND CHOICE (weighted to NDP membership numbers by province)

Paul Dewar 21.2%
Peggy Nash 19.4%
Thomas Mulcair 16.7%
Nathan Cullen 14.4%
Brian Topp 12.4%
Niki Ashton 10.7%
Romeo Saganash 3.6%
Martin Singh 1.8%

Our polling results challenge some of the assumptions about this race that circulate in the national media. I won't reveal our exact regional breaks as that information is integral to our strategy and besides the other campaigns can do their own polling.

Our regional research does show that Thomas Mulcair leads handily in Quebec with over 50% of the vote. This is what provides Mulcair with his national lead. Brian Topp runs fourth in Quebec. Nathan Cullen runs first in BC and Brian Topp runs third. In Ontario, Peggy Nash runs first and Paul Dewar and Thomas Mulcair are statistically tied for second. Brian Topp runs a distant fourth.

Most important, the results show that nobody will win on the first ballot; that second ballot support is essential in a one-member-one vote system; that the race is narrowing to a top three, and that Paul Dewar is very well positioned to win.

Finally, I want to comment directly on the leadership campaign and why I support Paul Dewar.

My background is in organizing and more than any other candidate Paul Dewar has grassroots organizing experience. He understands that we will not win the next election without building a true grassroots on-the-ground base in our Quebec ridings and in the next 70 ridings outside of Quebec.

Paul has faced a withering attack during this campaign about his abilities in the French language. He is not the best French speaker of the leadership candidates, but he has performed admirably in both French and English debates and improves everyday. Paul's French comprehension is excellent and like Jack, Paul knows how to connect with voters. Quebec voters, like all voters, will ultimately judge us on our values and principles and those must be social democratic values and principles. In 2011, Quebecers accepted Jack's offer to join us in building a social democratic governing option.

Paul Dewar has not reshaped or adjusted his social democratic principles and values just for this leadership campaign. It is no surprise that Paul has released more policy than the other candidates, as he wants to ensure New Democrats know what he is all about and that he is a genuine social democrat.

Paul is not about to dishonour or set aside our party's principles. He is not about moving our party to the right and becoming another Liberal Party. He will lead and campaign as who we really are, and not sacrifice the hard work of the past to create a new "Third Way," or emulate Tony Blair to form the next government.

At the same time Paul knows that we must encourage more Canadians to get involved in politics and must especially mobilize the energy of young people.

Paul Dewar recognizes the contributions made to this party by thousands of members and activists. He will not alienate or remove the members and staff who have done an excellent job working with Jack, at the Federal Office and in the caucus to help get us where we are today. We must all work together when this leadership campaign is over.

Our party needs a leader in the House of Commons ready to take on Stephen Harper and the regressive Tory agenda the day after our leadership convention is over.

As an organizer, international aid worker, teacher, union activist and MP elected three times, Paul embodies the meaning of Jack's call on all of us to take better care of each other.

Paul Dewar is the right leader at the right time for our party.

 

Dan Mackenzie
Campaign Manager
Paul Dewar for Leader

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