Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ekos Poll on Liberal Leadership

The Ekos poll echoes the earlier Globe poll although it surveyed Liberals only in Ontario and Quebec. It is causing journalists to label Rae as the front runner. As all the delegates are being elected this weekend, it might make sense to wait until next Monday to make that judgment.

A couple of points.

First what is locked in this weekend are first choices. That means all those elected this weekend who currently call Rae a second choice are free to change their minds between now and December about that. I suspect Rae will start to receive a fair bit of negative targeting between now and then. He and Ignatieff look like they may finish first and second after the weekend not necessarily in that order. The other thing they both have in common is that they are divisive candidates in the sense that many who don't support them feel considerable animousity.

The other thing that struck me about the poll is that it has Dion leading in Quebec and also being the leading candidate among second choices of those paying the closest attention to the race (see page 12). This is especially significant as turnout among all paid up members is unlikely to surpass 50% (and could be much less). Clearly it is those paying the closest attention who are likely to turn out. One of the problems that all election polls have is that it is difficult to estimate turnout and that may have considerable impact on the outcome.

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