The Orange Trickle
NDP memberships skyrocket heading into leadership vote
OTTAWA — The number of NDP members has increased by about 50 per cent in the past few months, a sign that interest is rising as the party approaches its leadership vote next month.
In all, there are 128,351 members voting for the party's new leader, up from 83,824 back in October.
The climbing numbers are staggering in Quebec, which went from a little more than 1,600 members in October to more than 12,000 by February, surpassing all but Ontario and British Columbia in total membership numbers.
The four-month increase in Quebec represents growth of 750 per cent.
The support from Quebec could be a sign that leadership candidate Thomas Mulcair — who is a Quebecer — could have an edge heading into the March 24 vote.
First off, 45,000 new members isn't "skyrocketing" when you consider both the Liberals and Conservatives exceeded this in their most recent leadership contests. Heck, the BC Liberals and Alberta PCs posted similar or higher membership totals in their leadership races last year.
As for that "staggering" increase in Quebec - a little perspective people! Yes, that's a big percentage increase, but it also means Quebec will have a third the votes of BC. 12,000 Quebec members is well below Mulcair's original target of 20,000, and it's below the 14,000 who voted in the BQ leadership race. Keep in mind, those are actual BQ votes, not memberships, from a party most describe as "dead". It's also a total nearly every media outlet in Quebec ridiculed at the time.
In fairness, the NDP seems likely to surpass the 58,000 who voted in their 2003 leadership contest - though even that isn't assured when you consider many of their current members are only members because of provincial leadership races last year. Still, we probably shouldn't sneeze at 45,000 new members, especially when that includes the NDP's first real Quebec membership base ever. There might very well be more votes in the NDP leadership race than the Liberal leadership race - especially if no one runs for Liberal leader.
But spin them as they might, for a party coming off a historic breakthrough in 2011, these membership numbers have got to be disappointing. Coupled with anemic fundraising totals, it's clear this NDP leadership race has not excited their supporters the way the party hoped it would.
Labels: 2012 NDP leadership race