Thursday, January 14, 2016

On relativity

Since we're seeing another wave of hysteria about Tom Mulcair's support in the general public as the NDP's convention approaches, let's check in with the main poll being cited for the thesis that there's some imminent issue with his popular support.

And in particular, let's take a look at the question which considers leaders in absolute rather than relative terms:
More than seven of ten Canadians (72.0%) believe Trudeau has the qualities of a good political leader while 56.3% say the same of Mulcair, 28.4% of Ambrose and 36.5% of May. 
So which of these theories fits the data?

(b) Tom Mulcair remains a respected leader whose "preferred" numbers in comparison to Trudeau have dropped primarily due to the latter's honeymoon phase.

As during the election, Mulcair is running into the flip side of the axiom that "it's good enough to be a 3 if everybody else is a 2": it's not good enough to be a 6 if somebody else manages to be seen as a 7.

But that doesn't mean any party can reasonably ignore a relatively strong starting point. And so whatever reasons there are for reviewing Mulcair's leadership, his level of public approval can't plausibly be seen as one of them.


  1. Mulcair is a capable leader and the disastrous campaign aside I have but one issue with him, he fails to inspire. So I'm on the fence when it comes to the leadership.

    On thing bothering me lately is the argument that he might as well stay because there is no obvious replacement in the wings. This insinuates that there is a lack of talent among the NDP benches which is not so.

    1. Agreed generally - to me the main question is still how he adapts to having to build movement support to make up for less institutional resources, but most of the media conversation seems to completely miss that point.