Saturday, November 04, 2006

It's all over but the voting

With apologies to the Toronto Star, I think their new poll all but guarantees that my candidate of choice, Gerard Kennedy, is all but guaranteed to win the Liberal leadership on December 2.

The Star/EKOS poll is a survey of almost a quarter of Liberal delegates to the Montreal convention. The Star bills it as good news for Stéphane Dion, but I just don't see it.

I think most people who are watching this race closely, it is becoming more and more evident that whichever of Mr. Dion and Mr. Kennedy finishes third on the ballot with four candidates will win the leadership race. Why? Their combined vote totals put them in first place and their campaigns have almost publicly admitted an alliance which would see one go to the other.

So why do I see Kennedy as the candidate pulling in third?

First, the important fact to cite is that Kennedy currently stands at 17.3%, while Dion stands at 16.0%... that is a significant gap for Dion to make up over the course of one or two ballots until one of them is eliminated. Thus, I have always thought that the odds are that it would be Kennedy, not Dion, that would be in the showdown with Ignatieff and Rae.

So what does the poll tell us? Dion has the greatest growth potential of any candidate, therefore, the Star argues, he will surge and win. However, growth potential is largely irrelevant until one of the "big four" drops off and a large chunk of delegates become avaiable. In order for Mr. Dion, or another candidate for that matter, to exploit major growth potential, they must first hold in third or higher until the weakest of the big four falls.

According to this poll, in my view, it is unlikely that Mr. Dion will be anything but the weakest of the big four.

A few selected quotes from the Star, emphasis added by yours truly:

Asked if there is "any candidate you would definitely NOT like to see win," ... Gerard Kennedy, who resigned as Ontario education minister last spring, scored the lowest at 2 per cent.

EKOS found 21 per cent of delegates prefer Dion as their second choice, ahead of Rae and Kennedy. Trailing was Ignatieff, with 8 per cent. (It is unclear where Kennedy stands here but it is less than 21% but higher than 8%, presumably significantly higher)

The undecided vote is also a big unknown. Asked for their second choice, 38 per cent of delegates declined to answer.

(Kennedy's) delegates are "fiercely loyal, determined to come to the convention and convinced he is the man to beat the Conservatives in the next election."

In contrast, Dion had the lowest delegate attendance intentions, with 13 per cent of his delegates saying they are unlikely to be able to travel to Montreal.

Without tapping in to the support of Ignatieff, Rae or Kennedy's supporters, Dion has to make up 1.3% on Kennedy while 13% of his supporters (2.1% of convention delegates) are unlikely to attend. So, with only a small fraction of delegates opening up, Dion needs a gain in the neighbourhood of 3.4% to pull ahead of Kennedy. This is very unlikely.

Thus, it would seem, the inevitable result would be for Dion to drop and go to Kennedy, catapulting him into a strong second or a weak first. It also seems likely that whoever is in third at this point, either Bob Rae or, less likely, Michael Ignatieff, they are likely to go to Kennedy due to the growing animosity between the two candidates and their supporters.

Thus, ladies and gentlemen, it's all over. Kennedy wins.


Anonymous said...

You may be right, but my gut feeling is that Dion wins.

burlivespipe said...

Okay, interesting deduction. I'm a rae guy so I don't envision your scenario coming to fruition, but i'll play along.
If Rae isn't knighted by Kennedy on the fourth ballot (my scenario), I might believe the following as a possible result:
Dion and Kennedy stand virtually tied after 2 ballots, but Dion gets the endorsement of Dryden while Brison just releases his delegates. Most of Dryden's follow him with Rae and kennedy picking up the remainder, while Brison's are evenly divided between Ignatieff and Kennedy. Dion holds a slim edge over Kennedy after 3 ballots and Kennedy sides with Dion, making it a Mexican standoff that the former minister from Quebec CAN win... But FYI Kennedy is my #2 (today).

Altavistagoogle said...

Kennedy finished in sixth place in Quebec! Call me naive, but I'm convinced this will have an impact on delegates'second choice (and first choice for ex-officios).

There will be less than half a dozen francophone Kennedy supporters at the convention... Plus his wife, I assume.

Gavin Neil said...

Nice analysis. I also had a lot of roubleunderstanding why it was spun as great news for Dion - particularly in 'most room to grow', when GK scored the lowest on "candidate you would definitely NOT vote for".

I'm wondering what will happen to Iggy delegates on Round 2. I have a feeling that a lot of his committed support (and by a lot I mean a significant number, not a majority or anything) are going to abandon him as soon as their committment ends, based on Qana and the constitutional question. I actually see his support decreasing in Round 2, and that will be the end of his campaign.


nbpolitico said...

AVG - not according to this poll or Friday's Le Soleil...

Anonymous said...

Bob Rae will win.

DivaRachel said...

what you WASPs don't understand is thtat Gerard Kennedy has massive support in the Franco-Ontarien community. All the Franco-Ontariens speak perfect French, in case you didn't know we even existed!

nuna d. above said...

I think Chretien will do in Kennedy by publically and passionately declaring that the new leader must be fully bilingual to be acceptable in Quebec, swinging the delegates towards Rae or Dion.

Altavistagoogle said...

The only Franco-Ontarian Liberals I know who are supporting Gerard Kennedy are his former Ontario colleagues Madelaine Meilleur and Jean-Marc Lalonde. So how did Gerard Kennedy do in Ottawa-Vanier and Glengarry-Prescott-Russell ? Four in total (out of 27)!

DivaRachel said...

As usual, AltaVista is WRONG!

The Profs de langue francaise en Ontario endorses Kennedy, so do Marc Godbout, former Rockland Maoyr Jean-Marc Lalonde, (in case you don't know, that's in Glengarry—Prescott—Russell).

Your rants are full of errors. Maudit ignorant!