Trudeau’s Win by the Numbers

trudeau-family15nw5Over the past year, there have been thousands of articles written about Justin Trudeau, his father, and his leadership campaign. Since it hasn’t been a big secret he was going to come out on top, we’ve also seen thousands of articles about what his win means.

So rather than rehash what has already been written, allow me to provide the cold hard numbers behind his victory.


That’s more than voted in the most recent NDP (65,108) or Conservative (97,397) leadership races – indeed, it might very well be the most Canadians to ever vote directly for the leader in a federal leadership race. I say “federal”, because, despite what was claimed earlier today, the 2006 Alberta PC leadership race drew 144,289 votes.

Either way, I wouldn’t read too much into this. Both the BC and Alberta Liberals had high turnout leadership races in 2011, and it doesn’t appear to have translated to general public support. But at the very least, Justin Trudeau now has a lot of semi-engaged Liberals to draw from for donations and volunteers.


It’s difficult to compare this total to delegated conventions – especially delegated conventions from the good old days. But, for fun, Trudeau’s first ballot support ranks behind Martin (94%), is comparable to Pearson (78%), and is decidedly ahead of St. Laurent (69%), Chretien (57%), Turner (46%), King (36%), the other Trudeau (32%), and Dion (18%). Trudeau performed slightly better than Stephen Harper, who received 69% of the votes and 56% of the points (after they were weighted by riding) in 2004.


Trudeau’s crushing triumph certainly makes it look inevitable in hindsight. Maybe it was, but we’ve seen “can’t miss” candidates miss before.

If you look at the Intrade stock for a Trudeau victory, it ranged from 75% to 91%, showing that at least some people were willing to bet against him. Back in December, I asked readers of this blog to offer their predictions on the race, and while every entry except one had Trudeau winning, he was only given an average score of 41% on the first ballot. Remember, these are people who follow politics closely.

Even a few days ago, my poll of readers predicted an average first ballot figure of 65%, and only one-in-ten thought he’d crack 80%.

Of course, the support was always there, even if we didn’t all see it. But speaking as someone who was convinced to vote for Trudeau based on his performance during this race, I think the candidate and the campaign deserve a certain amount of credit for the magnitude of his victory.


Here are my final Power Rankings, with each metric converted to a percentage:

Total $ Donors Endorsement Media Facebook Twitter Power Rank
Justin Trudeau 63% 68% 90% 77% 84% 91% 78% (+3)
Joyce Murray 13% 16% 8% 7% 2% 3% 9% (–)
Martha Hall Findlay 11% 9% 1% 7% 10% 4% 6% (-1)
Martin Cauchon 9% 2% 1% 4% 3% 1% 4% (–)
Karen McCrimmon 2% 2% 0% 3% 0% 0% 1.7% (–)
Deborah Coyne 2% 3% 0% 2% 1% 1% 1.5% (-1)

Even though these power rankings weren’t intended to predict first ballot support, they came within 2 percentage points for every candidate:

Power Rank Actual
Justin Trudeau 78% 80%
Joyce Murray 9% 10%
Martha Hall Findlay 6% 6%
Martin Cauchon 4% 3%
Deborah Coyne 1% 1%
Karen McCrimmon 2% 1%

I’m sure some of that is luck, but this is definitely an exercise I plan to continue on future leadership races.

You are not authorized to see this part
Please, insert a valid App ID, otherwise your plugin won’t work correctly.

15 responses to “Trudeau’s Win by the Numbers”

  1. I should point out that my ‘guess’ at Trudeau not winning was not really genuine. But the answers needed some diversity!

    However, I did believe that another win was distinctly possible, as I was undecided for most of the race and naively figured it was well and truly possible that many others were as well.

  2. For me the surprise was just how poorly JM did. I will want to dig through the numbers carefully, Joyce`s campaign was very important due the to means that were employed to make her a contender. The rest of the race is what it is, but Murray was something brand new that needs to be thoroughly understood. My questions will relate to turnout from her Leadnow and FairVote supporters. We will have to disentangle the randomised (and hence inefficient) distribution of her supporters from the raw numbers of votes. I for one am very interested in motivation of soft support, and that should actually be THE BURNING QUESTION for Liberals. How do we motivate, and GOTV supporters who have a less than solid connection to the Liberal Party.

    • The riding-by-riding vote totals have been released on the LPC site. It will be interesting to see how Joyce’s strength breaks down by region/riding.

      If someone finds an Excel file of the data out there, I’d be glad to do a bit of analysis on it.

    • There was some footage of Ella-Grace picking her nose during Justin’s speech yesterday – if she does run in 2053, you can bet that will find its way into a CPC attack ad.

  3. Dan
    Picking at nits here, but I always wondered why your power rank put McCrimmon above Coyne. Coyne was ahead or tied in everything except Media and that includes social media, did you over weight traditional media mentions? I would have thought donors was at least equal to media.

    • I always assumed Coyne would finish ahead of McCrimmon, but the math kept showing them essentially tied.

      The formula has 30% for fundraising, with the bulk of that is on total $ raised rather than total number of donors, and McCrimmon raised more dough than Coyne. Social media was only worth 10% in the formula.

      In the end, we’re dealing with tenths of percentage points between the two of them.

  4. A new leader for the famous LPC.

    Reminds me of the sign in the gift shop . . . “You break it, you have bought it”

  5. Congratulations Dan, you are really on to something with your power rankings.

    You’re the Canadian Nate Silver – when’s your book coming out? 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Plugin from the creators of Brindes Personalizados :: More at Plulz Wordpress Plugins