One number everyone will be watching, Mulcair's first ballot percentage. Some talk about a Mulcair first ballot win here at the NDP convention, but I think that would be a stunner. The conventional wisdom is multiple votes, and within that a conversation about what Mulcair needs on the critical initial ballot.
I'm thinking 35% is a key number for Mulcair, anything above that and he takes on an air of inevitability. Rather than a real alternative emerging, a unifying sense develops and serious challenge looks remote. Factor in a muddled field behind Mulcair, and it's hard to see the wheels coming off, whether he inches or surges, 50%would look to be within his grasp.
On the other hand, should Mulcair come in around 30%, a couple percent either way, then this race looks wide open, everything in play. With so many reasonably strong contenders, Mulcair could end up with the lead, but not a pronounced one that looks unstoppable. A number on the low end could still work for Muclair because of a "divided opposition", but I see much intrigue should he fail to reach this arbitrary threshold.
I'll be looking for how the second to fifth shakeout, fully expecting a surprise within. Equally important, if Mulcair can meet expectations on the first ballot, create a sense of inevitability and in turn win without much consternation.