Saturday, August 26, 2006

Liberal leadership numbers

Calgary Grit has written a detailed and numerical assessment of where the Liberal leadership race stands. It is a commendable effort to make sense out of a murky situation, one that could still change significantly in the run-up to the constituency meetings to select delegates on the weekend of Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

His conclusion is a blend of numbers based on new members and existing. The methodology for counting existing members is intrinsically arbitrary - very big assumptions have to be made. It is worth reading the comments (at the bottom of the post) for alternative opinions.

The one critique I would make of his estimate is that TC doesn’t think that new members will turn out as strongly as existing members.

In any case here is Calgary Grit’s final estimated count for the first ballot:
Michael Ignatieff 22.9%
Gerard Kennedy 18.4%
Bob Rae 15.8%
Stephane Dion 14.4%
Joe Volpe 8.8%
Ken Dryden 8.6%
Scott Brison 7.4%
Carolyn Bennett 1.7%
Martha Hall Findlay 1.6%
Hedy Fry 0.4%

Given the error inherent in such an estimate, I think it makes more sense to describe four groupings, in each it is probably impossible for sure to say who is ahead although Ignatieff likely leads Kennedy:

Leaders: Ignatieff and Kennedy
Right behind: Dion and Rae
Some measure of support: Volpe, Dryden & Brison
Out of it: Bennett, Findlay and Fry.

I note in his separate estimates for new and existing members that Dion is ahead of Rae among existing but trails him among new members. I would therefore project Dion ahead of Rae but from this estimate it is too close call between them.

A shrewd Liberal TC knows suggested a few months ago that it would be Ignatieff vs Candidate X on the final ballot. It appears clearly from this assessment that it would have to be Kennedy, Rae or Dion. I doubt it will be Rae as Kennedy and Dion seem more likely to garner second choices from below. Of the three, I suspect Ignatieff would defeat Kennedy or Rae but lose to Dion.

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