During the NDP leadership race, I got into the habit of tabulating “Power Rankings” of how the different candidates fared on fundraising, Facebook, Twitter, polls, and any other shred of quantitative data I could claw my hands onto. The exercise wasn’t intended to predict the first ballot vote, but it actually came surprisingly close to the mark.
After measuring how closely correlated those various metrics were to candidate support in seven recent races (including the NDP contest), I’m ready to launch the Liberal Leadership Power Rankings, based on:
1. Fundraising (30%): My research showed total dollars raised to be a better predictor than total number of donors, so that’s what I’ll be looking at – using the figures helpfully compiled by Pundits Guide.
2. Endorsements (30%): In past contests, a simple count of caucus endorsers has been as good a predictor of success as more elaborate systems, but there aren’t a lot of Liberal MPs to count so I’ll be relying on Eric Grenier’s endorsement scores. Alison Redford and Christy Clark both showed that endorsements can be overrated but, on the whole, they were a better predictor of support than fundraising numbers in the races I looked at – and they provided a good picture of the NDP contest.
3. Media Mentions (30%): This simple count of Google news stories is incredibly crude but, for whatever reason, it turns out to be one of the strongest predictors of first ballot support. Just goes to show the media may not be as clueless about leadership races as they’re often painted to be.
4. Social Media (10%): Turns out this has next to no relationship with support but, hey, it’s fun to count. So I’ll give 5% to Twitter followers and 5% to Facebook likes.
This formula may be tweaked if new data (i.e. polls among Liberal members) is released, but here are the preliminary rankings:
|Martha Hall Findlay||$149,877||1%||7%||3,568||7,086||7%|
Again, this isn’t a first ballot prediction. The fundraising numbers are out of date, and this magic formula overlooks the most important variable in all of this – the ground game. These rankings are intended only as a fun exercise to give a sense of candidate support and momentum.
So when you see that “66%” next to Justin Trudeau’s name, don’t take it as proof this race is over. It’s possible someone might break free of the pack and narrow that gap. But as it sits now, every sign points to a crushing Trudeau victory.