06 November 2006

Loyalty puts Gerard Kennedy campaign in race for 2nd

The title is a bit of hyperbole, but not of the worst sort - bear with me. The EKOS poll had something for everyone, but I have looked at two measures of delegate loyalty:

Delegates' Attendance Intentions
delegates saying they are likely or almost certain to attend (% of total delegates)

Gerard Kennedy 93.9%
Michael Ignatieff 93.0%
Bob Rae 91.9%
Stephane Dion 85.9%

Delegates' Second Round Intentions
delegates saying their first round selection remains their first choice

Gerard Kennedy 92.9%
Michael Ignatieff 89.0%
Bob Rae 87.9%
Stephane Dion 81.9%

By simply multiplying the retention rates we can find mathematically how many committed second round delegates we can expect (yes, a path fraught with perilous assumptions I know).

Decided, attending second round support (% decided delegates elected):

Michael Ignatieff 36.9% (36.0%)
Bob Rae 24.2% (24.2%)
Gerard Kennedy 22.3% (20.7%)
Stephane Dion 16.6% (19.1%)

Now, the data from the first table was presented (in order of candidate support under the caption "Dion Delegates Less Likely to Attend Convention." The second was on the next page with the caption "required first ballot support retention". I can see the Dion story for the first, but why don't we get "Kennedy Delegates Most Committed" for the second? I mean, he is first on both loyalty metrics.

Also, when looking at my (calculated) committed support numbers, you see that Kennedy leaves Dion in the dust and is virtually neck and neck with Rae. That could make a huge difference on the second ballot, after which Dion will have to decide who to support if he remains in fourth. It's also a pretty good story in and of itself, since we are mostly hearing about Bob as clear second and Kennedy and Dion fighting it out for third. If these loyalty figures bear out it will not be even close to a fight for third, it will be Gerard looking for the momentum to fight Rae for second.

With an enormous number of delegates coming in undecided, and hundreds more no longer intending to vote for their committed first round candidate, momentum on the floor will mean a lot. The leaky ships of the Ignatieff and Dion campaigns can have expected to lose over 200 delegates each by the second round, and it's hard to pick up steam while you're taking on water.
So for all those hoping this would turn out like that last Ontario Liberal leadership, too bad - Gerard's doing way too well, and could make the victory by the third round, fourth at the latest.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You assume a swell of attending Dion delegates will move to GK.
Not likely given that a good chunk of the Quebec delegates have never heard of him and certainly don't understand his French.
If Dion drops, see a mass movement to Rae.

November 07, 2006  
Blogger Gavin Neil said...

I don't think I assumed that, although I believe it. Dion got delegates all across Canada so repeating the same old story about how no one in QC knows or will vote for Gerard doesn't add much to the analysis. Also the poll clearly showed that Dion and Kennedy delegates are broadly opposed to the national notion - if that issue is as important as people say, I would expect a significant transfer from the 4th place to the third place, independent of candidate support, and not a 'mass movement' to a candidate with a dramatically different perspective.

But although I believe GK and Dion will support each other, and that Dion will be in 4th, and that many of his delegates will support GK, it is actually Ignatieff delegates I am counting on.

I think Iggy will lose many of his ex officios in round 1 because of his comments on Israel and the nation. Coming in lower than expected in round one will be very damaging. In round two his committed delegates can abandon him, and again based on the poll it looks like over 10% already plan to do so. If he doesn't pick up a LOT of estra support to make up for this bleeding, he could wind up with NO improvement in rounds 1 and 2, and that will basically end his campaign. A real question would arise as to whether he would quite right there or try to hang on to his 32% support for another round (which would be unwise).

Where will they go? Not Bob, I think. So Dion or Gerard. That's why momentum is so important and why loyalty makes a difference - Dion would have to build incredible momentum and capture virtually all of those bleeding delegates just to make up for his own losses due to attrition, much less to catch Gerard. Delegates like winners, and the candidate who is posting higher numbers and stronger 1-2 growth will get more delegates. That candidate is Gerard.

So, I see a GK - Rae - Iggy third ballot, which most people have not gamed thoroughly, and which will be heavily influenced by momentum and all sorts of other neat things we aren't in a good position to evaluate. If we're really lucky, Iggy will see no growth in round 2 and drop off, giving us a GK-Bob Rae face-off.

If I see a mass movement to Rae, I will probably just go home in disgust. Well, not home, but to some local establishment suitable for the occasion.

November 07, 2006  

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