Monday, October 02, 2006

IGNATIEFF LEADS AFTER SUPER WEEKEND

Super weekend is over and even though not all of the delegate totals are complete yet it is clear that Michael Ignatieff will be heading to the convention with a clear lead, with 30% of the delegates. Bob Rae has just under 20%, with Gerard Kennedy and Stephane Dion in a fight for third place at 17%. After all the automatic and exofficio delegates are factored in I would imagine Dion would be in third place and Kennedy fourth. Of course, these are unofficial totals and the only votes that count are the ones announced at the convention in Montreal in December.

Kennedy is being talked up by several of the bloggers and political pundits as the potential "kingmaker" at the convention. Kingmaker, yes, but why not leader? After all, he's one of the four main contenders, still, with a real shot at winning very much alive. The problem is that Kennedy bombed completely in the province of Quebec. We're not talking 5% of the vote here. We're talking about somewhere around 1%. That's pretty bad, folks.

As for Ken Dryden, Scott Brison and the rest, well, they've had it. You know, I thought Tony Clement had it bad when he only got a lousy 9% of the vote at the Conservative leadership convention in 2004, losing to Stephen Harper. But Dryden only got 5%. I guess all the problems surrounding his campaign, his supposed money problems and difficulties he was having keeping on paid staff and the like, finally caught up with him. More likely, those were symptoms of the larger problem: it's difficult to run a good campaign when nobody wants to vote for you. As for his supposed strength in Manitoba; well, so much for that, he got beat. You know, it's one thing to sell a lot of memberships. It's another thing to deliver them all to the voting locations. Dryden may have signed up a lot of people, but they all went and voted for Bob Rae, obviously, because that's who won Manitoba.

Same for Joe Volpe. So much for all the multitudes of people, alive or dead, that he recruited. He didn't win anywhere. So he's had it, too. At least all the people Kennedy signed up went to vote for him, that's why he's done as well as he did. But the Quebec debacle doesn't make him look good. The pundits are making a big issue about this all over the place, saying "Kennedy can't win in Quebec so he shouldn't be leader." And so on. Appealing to Quebec is a big issue with a lot of people. It is sort of seen as a prerequisite for the job of being Prime Minister.

As for Ignatieff, I think he has to be very happy that he got around 30% of the vote across Canada. He can breathe somewhat easier, but he's still got problems. He has three potentially strong challengers who could gang up on him at the convention, and Democratic Space mentioned that the poor showings of Dryden and Brison are a big headache for him. These delegates were more likely to switch to him in later balloting, but those two did so poorly that Ignatieff is going to have to find supporters among the Kennedy, Dion and Rae camps in order to win. I think it's going to be a very interesting, and long, convention.

1 comment:

Gregory D. Morrow said...

John -- the convention may not be very long after all. Any candidate with < 5% of the vote gets dropped, meaning that even if the 4 lowest candidates stay until the convention, they will get dropped after ballot 1. That means ballot 2 is 4-man race. It could be over as early as ballot 3.