Tuesday, February 12, 2013

#skndpldr Candidate Rankings - February 12

As I mentioned in my follow-up notes from Saturday's Saskatchewan NDP leadership debate, the candidates' performance hasn't done much to change my impression as to their relative position. (Which, as a reminder, is different from my personal endorsement.)

But there have been a couple of additional indicators over the past week: the audience response to the candidates at Regina's forum, and the information provided by the few voters who have provided hints as to their down-ballot support. So will any of that affect this week's rankings?

1. Ryan Meili (1)

Well, there's no change at the top, as Meili has continued to keep at least somewhat of an edge over his competition on all visible fronts (including crowd support at the all-candidates debates, public support on social media, and perhaps most important his continued ability to draw crowds for campaign events).

2. Cam Broten (2)

In contrast, Broten seems to be facing some conflicting signals: while he's probably slightly more entrenched ahead of the candidates below than he was some time ago, he's also facing significant obstacles in trying to overtake Meili.

On the upside, Broten has seen a fairly regular stream of declarations of first-ballot support among voters. But he's always figured to need a strong down-ballot showing in order to win - which makes it highly problematic that not a single multi-candidate ballot or announcement that I've seen from a supporter of another candidate has placed Broten above any of his competitors. (Of course, most of those public ballots have been from Meili supporters whose second and third choices may not impact the race anyway - but it does seem to suggest Broten has some distance left to go in reaching out beyond his own camp.)

3. Trent Wotherspoon (3)

Meanwhile, Wotherspoon faces the converse problem. At the outset of the campaign I wouldn't have seen much prospect that any significant number of Meili supporters would list him second, as at least a couple have done already. But those down-ballot successes will only matter if Wotherspoon remains on the final ballot - and a modest showing at the start of the voting period would make it unlikely they'll ever come to light.

4. Erin Weir (4)

And likewise, there isn't much to suggest Weir's position has changed over the last week. While his endorsement from Fred Clipsham offers a helpful late-campaign boost, the more important question for now is at the membership level rather than the endorser level.

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