Thursday, March 22, 2012

#NDPldr Race - Turnout's Gonna Suck

I just noticed that according to official (I think they're official) estimates, only 40,000 NDP members have voted so far in their leadership race, out of 131,000.

In other words, only 30.5% have bothered to vote yet. The Super-Duper Official Opposition NDP with these Super-Qualified people running for the leadership, don't even seem set to get 50% turnout of their membership!

I say this because since the last time we were updated on the numbers, the rate of voted members per day has improved, but not nearly enough. Here's what I said on March 16th:
Which is a rate of about 1,500 per day, since voting opened on March 1st. It's probably fluctuated day by day, and more than likely sped up in the last week - but its still a pretty small number, which leads me to guess that there will be a low turnout.

Why do I say this? Do the math. If we continue with that standard rate of 1.5K/day for the next 7 days of voting, plus being wildly generous, about 10-15K voting on March 24th, that's roughly an extra 20-25K of voters, which brings us up to about 50,000 total.
Since we've had 15,000 new members voting over the last six days, that's 2,500/day.

Here's the kicker: the NDP must have around 20,000 new voters in the next two days, including the 24th itself, in order to surpass 2003's leadership race numbers of just below 59,000.

Again, it's not impossible. But here's what I have doubts over - the NDP will need 65.5K to reach 50% turnout. That's an extra 25,000 voters! It is, at the very least, a tall order for them.

My guess is at most, you can expect 30,000 voters. That's the very highest it'll go. More likely, you'll get half that - between 15-20K.

What does it mean? Beyond the facts that low turnout speaks to an uninteresting, unengaged race by NDP members, it could also affect vote totals. Anyone who has been watching the primaries to the south know that half of Mitt Romney's problems stems from low voter turnout in his core urban areas, where he regularly gets upwards of 40-50% of the vote. Alabama and Mississippi had very low voter turnout, a lot of it based in urban centers where Romney won more often than not.

For the NDP, the trick is to figure out where members are failing to come out and vote. Is it the less-affluent urban centers and rural areas that have a drop in turnout relative to more-affluent voters? Or is it Quebec and Western voters, the latter who have no real candidate to back, dropping off?

In a close race as this is bound to be, turnout will matter. For Mulcair, he wants higher turnout for more-affluent voters and Quebeckers. Nash, Topp, and Dewar want higher turnout in Ontario and the West, and among the traditional NDP voters. Cullen wants BC voters to do really well, since that's where a lot of his support is based.

Wait and see what happens, I suppose. But I guarantee you this - turnout will not be good. And that speaks a lot about this race.


  1. Turnout may not end up super-high, but I don't think the pre-vote numbers are necessarily indicative. Were I an NDP member I wouldn't be pre-voting, but instead I'd wait to case my vote ballot by ballot this weekend, so I can react to the results (who drops off, etc.) More exciting that way too. But we'll see Saturday what turnout is.

  2. Well, I'm getting hints from a friend in the NDP it may be higher than I expect. As you said, we'll have to wait and see - I just don't see the NDP going all that high in terms of turnout. We'll know by tonight and tomorrow, if they release the numbers, whether or not turnout picked-up over the last couple of days before the live count itself. I don't think many will vote then.

  3. I haven't been following this race closely but judging by the lack of enthusiasm from the NDPers I know, in the news, and online, I'd say the turnout will be low. I know it won't be high, that's for sure.

  4. Alright, so that turnout was pretty sucky afterall. :)