Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Six "S" of Scandal Stickiness

This time last year, the Tories found themselves engulfed in scandal - Carson, Contempt, In & Out, Oda... The opposition parties were licking their chops at the prospect of bringing the government down.

We all know how that turned out. The scandals didn't stick, and the result was a Tory majority.

With the Nixonian references flying fast and furious around Ottawa, the question now becomes whether Robocon will prove to be Harper's Watergate, or just another soon-to-be-forgotten scandlette?

From my experience, there are 6 keys to a scandal "sticking", so let's see how Robocon stacks up.

1. Simplicity: The rule of thumb used to be that everything in politics had to be explainable in a "30 second elevator pitch", but that's probably down to 10 seconds (or 140 characters) these days. The Carson scandal may have had hookers, but good luck explaining lobbying improprieties to anyone.

Robocon passes the simplicity test in flying colours - "the Tories lied to voters about polling stations moving, to prevent them from voting". Done, with 56 characters to spare.

2. Shock: Is your 10 second explanation met with shock or a shrug? Harper missing a photo op or pocketing a communion wafer is a simple story, but it's not going to leave many people aghast.

Widespread voter suppression? It does. Canadians tend to be rather apathetic about democracy, but it's hard not to find what is being alleged reprehensible.

3. Story: Does the scandal fit in to a larger narrative or can it be dismissed as an isolated incident? Adscam worked because it struck to the larger issues of corruption and wasting taxpayer dollars, two things which matter to voters.

Harper has enough strikes against him on the "undermining democracy" front that it's easy to tie this in to a larger narrative. I'd suggest the Tory track record here, including the Cotler incident, also leaves voters a lot less likely to give them the benefit of the doubt.

4. Sexiness: Is the scandal attention grabbing? Despite its name, "in and out" was the definition of "unsexy", dealing with spending limits and accounting loopholes. Yawn.

Robocon has recorded calls, burner cellphones, and Pierre Poutine. Yeah, it's not cocaine and busty strippers, but conspiracies sell movie tickets, and this one could turn out to be a conspiracy.

5. Sustainability: Can the scandal sustain itself for months or years, or will it burn out quickly? The Gomery Commission gave Adscam the legs to fight two elections over it.

While Harper will be reluctant to call an inquiry, the RCMP, Elections Canada, and journalistic investigations will drag on, and they're likely to be followed by a trial. This one isn't going away anytime soon.

6. Seriousness: Simply put, how high does it go? Watergate is the grandaddy of all scandals because it went to the very top. As entertaining as Maxime Bernier losing his briefs was, it said little about Harper.

This is really the one question mark that will make or break this scandal. If Robocon was the creation of a few rogue volunteers in Guelph, no one is going to be talking about it come 2015. If it looks like the national campaign was involved, then the Tories are in trouble. If Harper knew, it's game over.

Robocon has more potential to inflict damage on Harper and the Conservatives than anything they've faced during their 6 years in power. Whether or not it does will depend on who exactly was involved.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Self Inflicted Wounds

With the return of Parliament, today was the first chance for the opposition to put the Tories' feet to the fire on Robocon. Instead, it was the Liberals who would up burning themselves with the admission that a Liberal staffer was behind Vickileaks.

In scheme of things, the Vickileaks saga is fairly minor. It wasn't illegal, and Rae handled the situation appropriately, issuing a complete apology. But the damage is still done - it gives the NDP higher ground as Robocon develops and it makes today's story about dirty tricks in politics (say it with me - "they're all the same") rather than about what could very well turn into the largest scandal to hit Stephen Harper's government.

Bear in mind, I used the word "could" there, because Robocon is still a work in progress, and it will take time to cut through the reports and accusations to make sense of what actually happened. Take for instance, this morning's Toronto Star story about live calls that may have directed voters to the wrong polling stations. Although it fits into the scandal's overall narrative, I don't think this one passes the sniff test. For starters, it sounds like the scripts may have instructed interviewers to identify themselves as calling from the Conservative Party - and even if they didn't, using live interviewers from their regular phone bank to commit electoral fraud just sounds too sloppy to me. And of all the adjectives I'd use to describe the Conservative Party, "sloppy" isn't one of them.

Of course, we keep hearing more about the actual robocalls, but it's still imposible to fully grasp who was involved and to what extent. That's why the NDP's call for by elections in affected ridings is incredibly premature. It's clear an investigation is needed, but until all the facts come out, there's no way to judge how many ridings were affected and how high this went.

But safe to say, this story isn't going away anytime soon, no matter how much the NDP overeaches or how many self inflicted wounds the Liberals hand themselves.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Demand Better

Whenever the opposition tried to raise "the democracy thing" during last spring's campaign, the electorate responded with a shrug. Contempt of parliament, the in-and-out scandal, Bev Oda's "not" problem...meh. People got temporarily worked up over prorogation, but that was more because the government was seen to be taking a 3-month vacation, not because they'd disrespected the institution of Parliament.

Maybe people assumed this was just par for the course and that all the parties were the same. Maybe they were right. Either way, there was little interest in "rising up".

So my suspicion is these revelations will be forgotten long before the 2015 election but, to me, this is far worse than any of the previously mentioned scandlettes:

Firm with Tory links traced to election day ‘robocalls’ that tried to discourage voters

Elections Canada has traced fraudulent phone calls made during the federal election to an Edmonton voice-broadcast company that worked for the Conservative Party across the country.

While the agency investigates, aided by the RCMP, the Conservatives are conducting an internal probe. A party lawyer is interviewing campaign workers to find who was behind the deceptive “robocalls.”

Elections Canada launched its investigation after it was inundated with complaints about election day calls in Guelph, Ont., one of 18 ridings across the country where voters were targeted by harassing or deceptive phone messages in an apparent effort to discourage Liberal supporters from voting.

In Guelph, a riding the Conservatives hoped to take from the Liberals, voters received recorded calls pretending to be from Elections Canada, telling them their polling stations had been moved. The calls led to a chaotic scene at one polling station, and likely led some voters to give up on voting.

Maher and McGregor go on to detail the investigation, in a fantastic piece of journalism I encourage everyone to read.

What strikes me most about the robocon scandal is that we're not talking about a grey area here. I get that the in-and-out scandal looked like nothing more than a bookkeeping error or the Tories exploiting a loophole. It was complicated. It was boring. It was impossible to explain to someone who wasn't tied up and forced to listen to you against their will.

But this...this is cut and dry. Voters were called on election day and lied to about where to vote, in an effort to prevent them from voting. There's still some investigating to do, but calls were made to ID'd voters in 18 ridings so it certainly sounds like this was more than one overzealous volunteer.

I'm skeptical this will be "Canada's Watergate", but to me this is absolutely reprehensible. The individuals involved should be punished to the full extent of the law, and if this is traced back to the top of the Conservative Party, hopefully there will be some kind of electoral fallout. As Stephen Harper himself would say, the electorate needs to demand better.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Orange Trickle

According to Postmedia, NDP membership numbers have "skyrocketed":

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.



After finally reading his own bill, it appears Vic Toews has decided to side with the child pornographers:

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says he is surprised to learn that a section of the government's online surveillance bill provides for "exceptional circumstances" under which "any police officer" can request customer information from a telecommunications service provider.

In an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio's The House, Toews said his understanding of the bill is that police can only request information from the ISPs where they are conducting "a specific criminal investigation."

But Section 17 of the 'Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act' outlines "exceptional circumstances" under which "any police officer" can ask an ISP to turn over personal client information.

Safe to say, the Tories are in full backpedal mode right now. All of this serves as a valuable reminder that even in a majority position, there are limits to what a government can do.

So, you know, maybe read the bill first next time.


Monday, February 20, 2012

I love long as I run it

Justin Trudeau raised a bit of a stir last week with his comments that he'd consider supporting Quebec separatism if the Harper government took Canada too far to the right. Most have already weighed in on this, and my opinion comes closest to Andrew Coyne's:

I don’t doubt that some of the things the Harper government has done have been unpopular in Quebec. Forgive me if I suggest that is not enough, in itself, to condemn them. Every government does things that some people like, and some people don’t. That some of the latter group are in Quebec does not elevate the matter into a national emergency, as if it were impermissible that Quebecers could be dissatisfied: a guarantee given to no other section of the country. The only reason it occurs to people to suggest it is because of the threat of separatism, and the only reason the threat has any currency is because of the willingness of others to indulge, or indeed validate it.

For Justin, of all people, to be among their number is especially unfortunate. But as I say, Justin isn’t really the problem.

I'm a fan of Justin, but these comments show a high level of immaturity - I don't like the government, so I'm leaving. I would add that you saw quite a bit of this in Western Canada too after the 2004 election, and it was no more appealing there.

Obviously Justin Trudeau isn't the only Quebecer, or the only politician, who feels this way. Given his name, his comments will only serve to help propagate this "my way or I'm hitting the highway" feeling, which isn't part of a healthy political dialogue.


Thursday, February 16, 2012


The #TellVicEverything meme has exploded on Twitter today, in response to Vic Toews' proposed legislation to force Internet service providers to monitor their customers’ online activities and turn the information over to the government (without a warrant). On Monday, Vic said "you're with us or you're with the pornographers"...and it appears many Canadians have chosen a side.

As far as protests go, it's fairly mild and a bit passive-aggresive, but it sure beats occupying a park.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Drummond Report

The eagerly anticipated Drummond report has been released - if you're into horror stories, by all means curl up by the fire and read the full 562 pages here.

In it, Drummond offers 320 recommendations. The initial reaction by many pundits is that this puts NcGuinty in a bind, since he will never agree to reverse tuition cuts or scrap full-day kindergarten.

Actually, the report might prove to be a political saving-grace for McGuinty. Tough cuts are coming, and this report offers McGuinty the political cover he needs to implement them. Because if those on left holler about cuts, McGuinty can calmly put his hand on their shoulder and in his best Premier dad voice say "I know it's been tough, but it could have been a lot worse"; this gives him an opportunity to present himself as the saviour of green energy and education all over again.

Politics is all about managing expectations, and anything McGuinty brings forward now is going to seem a lot less draconian, when measured against the Drummond benchmark.

Mind you, that's assuming McGuinty brings forward a serious budget this spring. If he just plugs his ears and ignores the bulk of the valuable advice Drummond offers, then McGuinty will have effectively used taxpayer dollars to help develop the backbone of Tim Hudak's next election platform.

Stay tuned.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Who will win the race for Stornoway?

Leadership races are tricky beasts to project, due to their insular nature. There are few meaningful polls, the media is being spun in twelve directions, and the air war rarely corresponds to the ground war. Name recognition and a spiffy social media campaign are a lot less important than having organizers who can deliver hundreds of membership forms.

So when some compared Brian Topp's leadership bid to the Paul Martin 2003 juggernaut back in September, it was premature to say the least. It would be equally premature to call Topp's campaign dead after a few weeks of bad press, when we haven't reached the membership deadline yet.

The fact is, there's very little for anyone (especially for those of us outside the NDP) to go on when it comes to handicapping this race - but here are how the candidates stack up on a few metrics:

The "donations" and "donors" columns come from the most recent fundraising numbers, with "media" merely being the number of news stories that pop up on a google news search under each candidate's name. The "poll" column refers to an IVR poll of NDP members released by Paul Dewar's campaign yesterday. If you don't know what Facebook and Twitter are, then get with the times.

With five different candidates leading these seven metrics, it's hard to know what to think. Clearly, this won't be decided on the first ballot, and we shouldn't be surprised by anything short of an Ashton or Singh victory.

Inspired by Pundits Guide's look back at the 2003 NDP leadership race, I've decided to go back and see how useful these different factors have been in predicting first ballot support in past leadership contests. Behold the table of correlation values!

The numbers are all over the place, but that's to be expected when you consider these races all had different rules, fundraising restrictions, and voting systems.

Still, there are a few take-home messages.

1. MP (or MPP/MLA, as the case may be) endorsements and fundraising totals are both moderately useful at giving a sense of the race, but they're hardly perfect. After all, Stephane Dion was sixth in fundraising in 2006, and you could count Christy Clark's caucus support on one amputated hand in 2011.

2. Social media may be an important element of leadership campaigns, but there isn't enough data out there yet to suggest it's a good barometer of a candidate's strength.

3. Polls among party members are likely the most useful predictor, though they remain rare.

It should be noted that polls among the public are worthless (correlations generally between 0.1 and 0.4), but every leadership poll among party members I've found has tended to stack up fairly well. Still, the Dewar poll should be read with caution given the source - after all, the opportunity for massaging the data exists, and we know he wouldn't have released the numbers if they didn't look good for him. I'd be a lot more confident in the numbers had someone leaked a membership list to a polling company instead.

But at this juncture, Mulcair has a 9-point lead in the campaign's only poll, has three times the MP endorsements of anyone else, and has the most donors, if not the most money raised. He might still be too polarizing a figure to win, but at this point I'd put down $20 (or $10,000 if Mitt Romney comes calling) that Mulcair will be ahead of Brian Topp on the first ballot.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Taste of the Danforth By Election

The by election in Toronto Danforth (or, as it must be referred to in every article on the subject, "Jack Layton's old seat") has been called for March 12 March 19. If you're looking for political excitement, by elections may be as good as it gets over the next three years of majority government politics.

By elections are notoriously hard to handicap, but a glance at last year's results makes the favourite obvious:

Layton (NDP) 61%
Lang (Lib) 18%
Koenig (CPC) 14%
Mugnatto-Hamu (Green) 6%

A 43-point margin is daunting, but not insurmountable. After all, three of the seventeen Harper era by elections have seen one party pick up at least 25 points - the NDP in Outremont (+30), the Liberals in Winnipeg North (+37), and the Tories in Cumberland Colchester (+37). There were unique circumstances in play for all three, but the death of the most popular politician in Canada is fairly unique, so a win by the Grits isn't impossible.

But it won't be easy.

While the Liberals held the riding from 1988 to 2004, local demographics favour the NDP. On my nifty regression spreadsheet that projects vote based on demographics, Toronto Danforth is the 16th best NDP riding in the country and the 60th best Liberal riding. The riding has been orange provincially for over a decade, and the Ontario Dippers took it by 23 points in the fall. In short, voters on the Danforth are the type of people who vote NDP and they've tended to vote NDP of late.

That means the NDP will have a lot of votes ID'd on the ground, and a good organization in place - even if many volunteers are distracted by the leadership race. The Grits should be a bit more focused and there are still a lot of Liberals left in Toronto to pitch in, so they should be able to at least match the NDP on the ground. Or at least they would have, had they not given the NDP a one-month head start by waiting so long to nominate their candidate.

That candidate will be Grant Gordon, an ad executive who made a stir online with a humorous nomination pamphlet. Gordon is a fine candidate, but he's not the "star" George Smitherman and other insiders not-too-wisely speculated about last month.

Gordon will be up against an equally solid-yet-unexciting NDP candidate - law professor Craig Scott. Communications consultant Andrew Keyes will carry the banner for the Tories, but they haven't been above 15% on the Danforth since the merger. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu will once again run for the Greens.

As unpredictable as by elections are, all signs point to the NDP defeating the Liberals, albeit with a reduced margin.

Be sure to check out Pundits Guide for an update on the campaign-to-date.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 11, 2012

This Week in Alberta: Redford's First Budget

I've spent much of the past two days trying to draft a blog post on Alberta's 2012 budget. After all, this was not only Allison Redford's first budget, but a pre-election document - surely, there would be plenty in it to critique and/or praise.

But really, this may be one of the most innocuous budgets in the province's history. Take a look at the official budget highlights and tell me if there's anything newsworthy in there:

Of the thirteen key bullet points, three use the word "continued", three mention rosy revenue projects, and three talk about something Redford didn't do (raise taxes). The only newsworthy changes in the budget are new funds for handicapped Albertans and children - two feel-good spending initiatives even Danielle Smith wouldn't dare criticize.

Even the budget name sounds like it was focus group tested to find the title least likely to offend: Investing in People. After all, who's against investing in people? And who's against spending a bit more on health care and education, holding taxes steady, and just kind of hoping the price of oil increases so that everything works out? Things seem to be going fairly well in Alberta and Redford seems to be fairly popular, so why do anything even remotely controversial that could rock the boat, with an election on the horizon?

Well one reason to rock the boat is that Liepert's budget speech itself concedes the province relies too much of resource revenue and needs to change its fiscal framework. Not that he's doing anything about it, mind you.

But my real beef with the budget is that it continues the visionless drifting we've seen in recent years. Alberta is one of the few provinces with the resources to support boldness, and all Redford has delivered is a cautious, aimless plan.

I might not like their vision for the province, but Premier Morton and Premier Smith wouldn't shy away from being bold. Premier Mar would try to reform the Health Care system. Premier Manning would have pushed through environmental initiatives and democratic reforms. The Alberta Liberals released their election platform this week, and it calls for increased taxes on businesses and the rich, with the payoff being, among other things, the end of school fees and free tuition. It may not be good politics or even good policy, but at least it has whiffs of boldness in it.

Which is a lot more than can be said for Redford's painfully safe budget.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Mandatory Response

Lorne Gunter's article on today's release of short form Census data is so bad that it necessitates a response. Point-by-point:

So the 2011 census results are being released today, or at least some results are. Is anyone else as surprised as I am that there is any data to announce? I mean in the summer of 2010, you would have thought the statistical world was coming to an end and taking much of the intellectual foundation of modern civilization with it just because the Harper government had decided to make the long-form census voluntary rather than mandatory.

To start off, the population data being released today is based on the short form Census, which remains mandatory (as does the farming Census). Why? Because there's nothing wrong with a little state-enforced coercion.

Experts were recruited from the United States to tell the Toronto Star that the Tories move would “lower the quality and raise the cost of information” gathered by StatsCan.

The funny thing about experts is they're often right. While I'm sure there were some American experts telling this to the Toronto Star (after all, the US quickly scrapped the idea of going the voluntary route after a disastrous trial), there were also experts of the Canadian variety, including the two most recent heads of Stats Canada, Alex Himelfarb, Don Drummond, 100-some organizations, and basically everyone besides Tony Clement. Oh, and the Toronto Star was joined by the pinkos at the National Post and Calgary Herald, among others, in decrying the demise of the Census.

It was Canadians’ “civic duty” to comply with government demands for information about ethnicity, education level, sources of income, types of housing, number and ages of children and their activities, sexual orientation, family relationships, divisions of household labour, recreation and so on.

Some of the above information is still mandatory - the short form, for example, asks for the names and ages of your children so that nefarious governments can build schools near them.

Sources of income is also asked on another mandatory form we'll all be filling out in the coming months.

On the other hand, if you were sceptical about government’s ability to solve big problems, no matter how accurate the inputs it uses to analyse the sources and solutions, you tended to think a voluntary census would be just as useful as a mandatory one, and far less destructive of individual rights in a democracy.

OK, let's say you hate big government and believe we'd be better off in a state of anarchy. If I'd lived under an Alberta PC government my entire life like Mr. Gunter, I'd be skeptical about government ever being a source of good too.

But the thing is, the long form Census is also used by hospitals to offer services and fight pandemics. Masters students, like Stephen Harper, use it to write thesis papers. Think tanks, like the Fraser Institute, use it to prove their kooky right wing theories. And businesses use it all the time – just think of restaurants and grocery stores that sell ethnic foods or cater to specific client demographics

But, really, are the figures produced by having StatsCan select 18.8% of homes based on pure statistical theory going to be so much more useful in setting public policy than the figures from 23.1% of self-selecting, voluntary homes?


I don't want to turn this post into a statistics webinar, and I don't need to, because Gunter answers the question himself earlier in the paragraph when he mentions how aboriginals and immigrants are less likely to complete the Census. Also, there are studies on this topic (warning: these studies are by experts).

Besides, I have my doubts about how untainted data from the mandatory census was anyway. When I wrote about this issue two years ago, I received a handful of messages from former census planners telling me that it was routine practice at StatsCan to send long forms to the same households census after census. If a household had shown itself willing to fill out a long form before, it was likely to receive another the next time.

This is just factually inaccurate. I worked as a Census Rep in 2001, and every fifth household got the long form Census. So if house 2 got the long-form, houses 4, 6, 8, and 10 wouldn't, and house 12 would. Lather, rinse, repeat. Even if StatsCan wanted to employ faulty methodology, there's no way they could.

And my favourite: The Tories’ move was “enormously destructive” of morale at Statistics Canada. Huh!? How could that possibly matter?

Well, having competent employees resign on principle, and having others demoralized isn't good for any organization. I mean, just imagine how demoralized reporters like Mr. Gunter would be if newspapers started publishing factually inaccurate information. I mean, the entire industry would...well...never mind...

Labels: ,

Canada's Population

33.5 million or 9 million, depending on who you ask.

I blame the scrapping of the mandatory long form census for this discrepancy...

Friday, February 03, 2012

Stories of the Week

After spending the week talking about Liberal leadership on this blog, a brief look at what else is making news.

1. The Harper government has made noise about pension reform, prompting a round of howls from the opposition benches about Harper throwing grannies out on the street. I'll reserve judgment until I see the final plans, but I'll give Harper some credit for tackling such a politically charged issue. At the recent Liberal convention, the party made a big deal about "fact based policies" and the fact is Canada has an aging population, so it's foolish to pretend the existing system is perfect and doesn't need to be reformed.

And now is the perfect time for the Harper government to make these reforms. This will be their first majority government budget, and it comes at a time when neither opposition party has a permanent leader in place. The Conservatives don't have to worry about an irate electorate for another three years, so why not make some tough decisions now? After all, they can always buy voters off with a nice tax cut in 2015.

Moreover, I'm not even positive the public opinion backlash would be as devastating as some predict. Sure, you ask people if Seniors should get old-age security benefits at 65 or 67 and OF COURSE they'll say 65. Any poll which asks "do you want more or less" is going to break at least 3:1 in favour of "more". The real question is what kind of backlash this move would lead to?

So what if the changes are grandfathered in so they don't affect anyone over 50, and what if they're announced along with plans to scale back MP pensions ("we're all making sacrifices")? Suddenly, I'm not so convinced this would be the PR nightmare everyone is predicting.

2. Jim Flaherty’s budget will also be Tony Clement’s: So get ready for a gazebo tax credit program...

3. Speaking of tough medicine budgets, it sounds like Dwight Duncan's budget will also be Don Drummond's. Drummond's much-anticipated report is rumoured to be released on February 15th, laying the ground for the Ontario budget.

4. The 2011 fundraising numbers are out, and the Tories are still well ahead of the competition.

5. Also released are the NDP leadership fundraising numbers, which show just 3% of NDP members have donated to a campaign.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Liberal Leadership Straw Poll

After looking at some of the people who might run for Liberal leader (part 1, part 2), I figured it's worth puting the question to a completely unscientific vote.

I've listed three questions below. The first asks who you think will run for Liberal leader - by all means, click on as many names as you think there will be candidates, and suggest others in the comments section.

The second asks for candidates you'd consider supporting if they ran. I know there are half a dozen names on that list that appeal to me, so click on any you could see yourself voting for (and if you're not a Liberal, put on your Liberal hat for a minute to answer the question).

The final question asks for what qualities the next Liberal leader should have. Again, if you're not a Liberal, pretend for a minute you are (then shower afterwards), and pick the three or four qualities you think the party needs most from its next leader.

Who will will run for Liberal leadership in 2013?
 Bob Rae
 Dominic LeBlanc
 Justin Trudeau
 Dalton McGuinty
 David McGuinty
 Marc Garneau
 Scott Brison
 Denis Coderre
 Martin Cauchon
 Gerard Kennedy
 Mark Carney
 Naheed Nenshi
 Gregor Robertson
 Ralph Goodale
 Amanda Lang
 Mark Holland
 Navdeep Bains
 Martha Hall Findlay
 Siobhan Coady
 Geoff Regan
 Jane Stewart
 Sheila Copps
 Jean-Marc Fournier
 Borys Wrzesnewskyj
 Robert Ghiz
 Belinda Stronach
 Kevin Lamoureux
 Phil Fontaine
 Jim Karygiannis
 Glen Murray free polls 

Who would you consider supporting for Liberal leader?
Bob Rae
Dominic LeBlanc
Justin Trudeau
Dalton McGuinty
David McGuinty
Marc Garneau
Scott Brison
Denis Coderre
Martin Cauchon
Gerard Kennedy
Mark Carney
Naheed Nenshi
Gregor Robertson
Ralph Goodale
Amanda Lang
Mark Holland
Navdeep Bains
Martha Hall Findlay
Siobhan Coady
Geoff Regan
Jane Stewart
Sheila Copps
Jean-Marc Fournier
Borys Wrzesnewskyj
Robert Ghiz
Belinda Stronach
Kevin Lamoureux
Phil Fontaine
Jim Karygiannis
Glen Murray free polls 

What qualities are most important in the next Liberal leader?
Perfectly bilingual
Policy positions you agree with
Policy positions voters agree with
An outsider
Political experience
Business experience
Real world experience
Name recognition
Current MP
Long-time Liberal
Someone voters can relate to
Shares your values
Good communicator
Strong leader
Popular in Quebec
Popular in Western Canada
Able to unite the party
Represents real change
Will give a voice to grassroots
Appeals to NDP voters
Appeals to Conservative voters
Able to beat Stephen Harper in a debate free polls