Monday, January 14, 2013

#skndpldr Candidate Rankings Introduction

As I did in the NDP's federal leadership campaign in 2012, I'll start shortly with weekly rankings intended to highlight the relative positioning of the Saskatchewan NDP's leadership candidates. But before I get into the rankings themselves, I'll offer both a reminder of what they're intended to accomplish, and a description of how I'll put them together.

To start off, the rankings are intended to be a matter of prediction rather than endorsement. I'll put together a separate endorsement post shortly before the voting window opens - but the candidate rankings for now will reflect my impression as to how likely a candidate is to win, not my preference as to which candidate ultimately will.

And to be more specific, the rankings will be based on a candidate's likelihood of winning the leadership at convention - not necessarily who will perform best on the first ballot, nor who has the most perceived momentum at a particular point in time. And they'll be based on my perception of probabilities rather than any measure of certainty: the #1 ranking doesn't necessarily mean a candidate is more likely to win than not, and a lower position doesn't mean a candidate lacks any path to victory.

All else being equal, I'll presume that down-ballot support is fairly likely to mirror first-ballot support - such that I'll need to see some specific factor to justify ranking the candidates in any order other than what I consider to be their first-ballot positioning. (In effect, this means that I'll be inclined to take any substantial polling of the race at face value - though it's an open question whether anybody carrying out any polling will have both the information required to successfully identify the voter pool, and the neutrality to allow numbers to be taken without a grain of salt.)

However, if there's enough uncertainty as to the relative first-ballot support between two or more candidates or a close enough for additional factors to swing the candidates' positioning, I'll also take those into account where they raise a reasonable inference that down-ballot support might not match first-ballot support.

So based on that process, where do I see the leadership candidates ranking so far? Stay tuned...

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