Saturday, November 12, 2011

Handicapping the NDP Leadership Race

Eric Grenier over at has done something very fantastic this week with the conclusion of the provincial election bonanza that will be extremely helpful as the NDP leadership race moves along: an actual predictive method.
You'd have to read Grenier's entire post to get a good grasp of what he's done, but it's an extremely clever way of doing things given the lack of polling in Canadian leadership races (nothing like what goes on in the US).

The general idea is to use the endorsements of various NDP heads and representatives to attempt to handicap how much influence candidates may pull at the end of the day. It makes sense since one can say that a former party leader can influence a lot of individuals, while individual MPs and provincial representatives, as well as talking heads and other endorsers we've seen in the race, can pull on their own influence within the NDP to deliver votes to their chosen candidate.

Grenier has given each type of endorser seen (or expected to be seen) a set level of influence depending upon how many elections they've been in, what province they're representative of, and so on. You can see his entire list here. After adding up all the points of a candidate's endorsers, you get a total, and from that total being thrown into the soup with all the other candidate's totals, you'll get a percentage.

Grenier goes over how well such a system would have worked well with the 2006 Liberal leadership race (of course, using the benefit of hindsight). Just how accurate it is though is pretty amazing - no candidate strayed over 5% from his "predictions" as they were.

Of course, the main difference between the 2006 race and this NDP leadership race is that the Liberal's race was delegated and endorsements truly matter in a direct way - but in an OMOV race, the direct influence is less clear.

Even so, I think Grenier's sytem is fantastic because it can give you some sense of the way endorsers are moving. So while Mulcair may have a lot more endorsers than Topp in the end, they're just MPs. Topp meanwhile has the big guns on his side like Romanow and Broadbent, the latter who propels Topp into his first place position. And really, once you get those endorsements alongside those endorser's connections and pulling power, getting 43% of the membership's vote in a first ballot doesn't seem like a hard thing to do, does it?

Anyways, Grenier's endorsement ranking idea is going to take over my "NDP leadership" thing over on the side. The man knows what he's doing and I'd like to see how it fares in the end.

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