Joan Bryden surveys the pre-convention speculation, prognostication and introspection.
Former party president and veteran backroom strategist Brian Topp, for instance, has positioned himself as the anti-Mulcair candidate and is seen to be most ideologically attuned with Toronto MP Peggy Nash. Yet his Quebec supporters are most likely to switch to Mulcair if Topp is knocked off the ballot.
Indeed, various camps privately admit the purported ideological divide among the candidates — the allegedly more centrist Mulcair and Nathan Cullen versus the more traditionalist Topp, Nash and Paul Dewar — has been exaggerated for the purposes of sharpening distinctions during the campaign. And it’s not likely to play as big a role in determining second choices as many pundits have suggested. “This is not (a choice between) left-right, no matter what the pundits say,” says a strategist with one camp. “This is all about who can win.”