"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Comparative contests

If you are still wondering why Progressive Conservative members and prominent operatives, having spent the latter half of 2013 ridiculing the provincial Liberals' leadership process, are now rushing to adopt it — for the 2016 leadership race — wonder no longer.

This map expresses the turnout at the PC leadership delegate selection meetings (DSM) held over the summer as a percentage of the total vote in the Liberals' "virtual" leadership vote in each district. (Click to enlarge.)

In only three districts — Kilbride, Lewisporte, and Lake Melville — did the PC leadership turnout exceed half that of the Liberal leadership vote. In twenty-six districts, more than half the province, the PC leadership turnout was 15% or less that of the Liberal leadership turnout in the same district. This "enthusiasm gap" is especially pronounced outside metro St. John's and "around the [Conception] Bay". However, in both Tory-held districts where the sitting MHA is a leadership candidate — Paul Davis' Topsail and Steve Kent's Mount Pearl North — the PC leadership turnout was less than 10% that of the Liberal vote last year.

The low turnout in Davis and Kent's back yards may be attributable, in part, to the fact that they were among the first districts to hold DSMs. The other metro-area district with particularly poor turnout, St. John's Centre, also held its DSM during the first week of meetings.

There is some evidence that either enthusiasm among PC supporters, or ability of the camps to get their supporters out to the bingo halls, or both, increased, if modestly, as the campaign went on. This is what happens when you sort the DSMs chronologically, and group them by week (starting on Mondays) of the campaign period. Where multiple PC district associations held their DSMs on the same day, the districts are sub-sorted alphabetically. Again, the PC leadership turnout is expressed as a percentage of the comparable figure for the 2013 Liberal leadership contest. (Click to enlarge.)

And here's the PC turnout expressed as a percentage of all eligible voters in the district (per the 2011 election return), which yields a clearer upward trend as the campaign progressed:

Expressed this way, the highest PC leadership turnout was in Lake Melville, at 3.4%.

The lowest turnout in last year's Liberal leadership? Lewisporte. 4.0%.

H/T to @TelegramJames for compiling the PC DSM statistics:

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