Thursday, November 5, 2009

Alberta Provincial Poll

Just wanted to alert you to this Environics poll taken between October 19 and October 31 and involving 1,000 Albertans:

Progressive Conservatives - 34% (-21 from October 2008)
Wildrose Alliance - 28% (+24)
Liberals - 20% (+5)
New Democrats - 9% (-3)
Greens - 8% (-5)

The Progressive Conservatives lead in Edmonton with 34% but are followed closely by the Liberals at 27%. The Wildrose Alliance leads in Calgary with 34%, followed closely by the Progressive Conservatives at 30%. In rural Alberta, it's 38% PC and 32% WA.

Could the reign of the Progressive Conservatives in Alberta be coming to an end? And will this have any effect on federal politics?


  1. Well stelmach moved towards the middle from the "right wing" ground that the provincial tories usually occupy.

    And now a party to the right of him/them is polling second.

    So federally?

    Are you suggesting a restart of the reform federally?

    I doubt that that would be the case. (atleast in the near future) The last time a party expounding right wing values sprung up,... the liberals used it to their advantage and put together 3 consecutive majoritys.

    I don't think that is likely to happen again in the near future. Even with Harper's dive to the middle.

  2. No, I'm not suggesting that. Just suggesting that it is never a good thing when a party's supporters get used to the idea of voting for another party.

  3. FYI: Its is a mistake to include the Green party in provincial polling in Alberta since the Alberta Green Party has disbanded and has been decertified by Elections Alberta. They are no longer a party.

  4. DL has a point.

    If Environics had not prompted with party names, then the Greens' inclusion might be reasonable even though the party has been decertified.

    But given that Environics did prompt with party names ( "which one of the following parties ..." ), it raises the question of which of these occurred:
    1) Environics did not include the Greens in their prompt list but some people insisted on answering Green anyway
    2) Environics included the Greens in the prompt list despite their status as a non-party.

    If the answer is #2 (which seems probable), that would seem to be a questionable decision on Environics' part.

  5. However, if the Greens do re-establish themselves before the next election, this poll would become useful. If the Greens aren't included but then become a party once again, all older polls become less useful.

    I was under the impression (mistaken?) that the Alberta Greens were going to return.

  6. Its debatable why you would prompt at all for a party that has never even come close to winning a seat and has been officially "decommissioned". Why not prompt for the Marijuana party and various other fringe parties as well?

  7. Well, the poll actually has them DOWN from the previous one, so I don't think it is really all the much of a concern.

  8. DL,

    Surely there is a big difference between the Greens and the fringe parties smaller than them.

    First of all there is the issue of how many candidates one runs. Most fringe parties run in a small minority of seats. For most voters, there is doubt that a particular fringe party will even run a candidate in his particular riding. In contrast, the Greens ran a candidate in almost every riding in both the last provincial election in Alberta and the last federal election.

    Secondly, there is the issue of the level of support. With 4.6% of the vote in the last Alberta election, Green candidates received 20x more votes than the next smallest party.

  9. @DL: While we are on the subject, why are they bothering to prompt for Wildrose Alliance? WA didn't get a single seat in the 2008 election.

    I think you keep advocating a deligitimization of the Greens because you feel threatened by them, not because there is a real case to ignore the party.

  10. Eric,

    "Just suggesting that it is never a good thing when a party's supporters get used to the idea of voting for another party"

    Hmm, I'm not convinced. The provincial party is PC, federal is just Conservative. So they already feel like different parties.

    Besides, the Wildrose-Alliance leader is very Pro-Harper and Harper has instructed his members to be neutral and not get involved in the rift.

  11. What is interesting about this poll is that the Liberals, throughout everything, are holding on to their voters well, which means that there really is a Liberal base in Alberta, which gives Stelmach some issues; one, the voters going to the WAP are all his, and two, he can't draw on support from the Liberals to bolster his own numbers.

    Another interesting thing - the WAP is leading in Calgary fairly well, which leads me to believe that this party might not be the Tory killer its being made out to be. While their support numbers in Edmonton and the rest of Alberta are OK, they're not super strong as they are in Calgary.

    It kind of makes me believe that this could be contained in Calgary if the Tories play their cards right. Losing Calgary would be OK if they get enough support in ROA and Edmonton.

  12. Volkov,

    I don't think containment will work here. I bet if you did some polling the PC and WAP probably share the exact same voter base, which means movement between the two could be very, very fluid in an election.

    So I think its going to come down to candidate selection on who gets what seats.

    Either way my prediction is either a total realignment and the destruction of the PC or the WAP will quickly lose steam, the leader will go somewhere else, and that'll be the end of it.

  13. Jesse,

    I think containment could work, but I don't think Stelmach has much of a chance. I only believe containment could work though, because most of the resentment towards Stelmach comes out of Calgary, hence the Liberal jump there in the last election. And look where the WAP is leading.

    If Stelmach has the opportunity to play to his rural base, and is able to beat down the Liberals and NDP in Edmonton well enough, then Calgary could be cut off.

    I do agree, however, that there is really only a couple of options that will happen; PC's will fall, or the WAP will fizzle. That is just how Albertan politics go.

    It may, however, take a couple of elections if these numbers hold and Stelmach contains the WAP long enough. I mean, look at the Decore Liberals; they were in third place before they nearly dropped the PCs in Alberta.

  14. Generally speaking, I think it's a mistake to prompt for the Greens, since people give them as a none of the above option.

    That's why the party always cracks 10% in polls, but never comes even remotely close to that in elections.

  15. As my hypothetical with no Green Party showed, it doesn't really matter. Its supporters split up relatively evenly among the other parties, so their influence on elections is minimal.

  16. Volkov,

    I wonder what these numbers would do in an actual provincial election. At what point does Stelmach slip to a minority?

    There are also the rumours that a dozen sitting PC members will cross the floor if Stelmach continues as leader.

  17. Jesse,

    I think the rumours about the 10 or some odd PC caucus members are quite premature. There may be some rumblings within the caucus, but I'd think that Stelmach would be kicked out (like Getty was) before there is an en masse movement to the WAP. You could see two or three defect, and maybe even that independent Boutellier, but nothing huge.

    As for when Stelmach loses his majority... I'd say about now, if the numbers hold. It is really hard to tell though, because even though the Liberal numbers are relatively weak, it is still quite a three-way battle, and almost four-way in Edmonton. Vote splitting and how concentrated votes really are could change the numbers so dramatically that even the Liberals have an off chance of winning, granted with some very unusual circumstances. No party, even the WAP, has an advantage at this point.

  18. THe Greens will not be allowed by Law to be in the next Election, which is in 2012 amd then they can reform the party so having them added as a promted choice is just stupid and somebody did not do there homework. THe next time the Green's can be on a provincial ballot is 2016

  19. An interesting question is whether or not the Green candidates could run as independents as some smaller parties that break up often do.

    If there is a large independent Green mix, and they don't get similar results as they did in 2008, then I'm willing to bet that Greens have much more name recognition than "grassroots," as they so often claim they do.

  20. The right was unified and now not so much...that's the way she goes.

    Alberta ridings will soon be toss-ups between 3 parties.

    A good thing in my mind.

  21. Anon,

    "Alberta ridings will soon be toss-ups between 3 parties."

    I doubt it. Either the PC party is swept away or the WAP fizzles.

    The idea of Liberals winning tends to bring people together. There won't be much patience with disunity on the right for long.

  22. Alberta's provincial elections have never produced a minority government, and I don't see them likely to start now.

    Either the PCs win their 11th consecutive majority, or the WRA defeats them (and thus becomes the fifth government in Alberta history).

  23. I wouldn't count on Stelmach's rural base in the south. Maybe the North, but not the south. And a lot of that has to do with decisions he made as a minister, not as premier. Those of us who will live with a decision he made years ago, for the rest of our lives, as will every Albertan as they travel south, will not vote for him enmasse.

  24. For the record, I voted Green federally in 2008 and plan to do so again in 2010.

    Now that this is out of the way, Environics had no business prompting for the Green Party in this provincial poll.


    The party is banned in Alberta. Yup, thats the truth. The party split in two at one of their recent conventions, with two groups claiming to both be the real Green Party. They finally sealed the rift - at least officially - shortly before decertification. The problem was that during this year they failed to file financial returns. The Election Act states that when you do this, you are prohibited from running in the next election. That means until AFTER the next Alberta Provincial Election, the Green Party of Alberta will remain Banned.

    Now, one could argue that it's supporters could set up a front party and run under that, but if they did not have the organization to cobble together a simple financial statement, I see this is being highly unlikely.

  25. Well, keep in mind, the fault may lie with Environics but it also might lie with the newspaper who hired them.

  26. I suppose the remnants of Green party could set up a new "front" party - but let's face it - without the Green label - that front party would get zero support. About 90% of the votes that the Green party ever gets comes purely from positive associations people with with the word "green" - you take away "green" and you have nothing.

  27. The broken methodology (prompting for Green) basically invalidates this entire poll. Yes, we can take some general information away from it (the WRA is doing very well, especially in Calgary), but in terms of fine distinctions or predictive value, I think this poll is basically useless.

  28. You're totally overstating the impact of offering people the Green party. Its true that it renders the 9% Green pretty meaningless, but let's assume that if we didn't read Green of that 9%, 2% would go Wild Rose, 2% would go Liberal, 1% NDP, 1% Tory and 3% would not vote at all (seriously, they probably would go all over the place). In the end the story lines will still be - Tories losing a ton of ground to Wildrose while the other opposition parties are stuck about where they were in the last election. Three years from the next Alberta election, all we can look for are general trends we are not trying to predict eection results three years in advance.

  29. Test it yourself.

    I go on a lot about my ElectoMatic. The reality is that it is a program that does calculations for me. Last election the Tories took 53%, and the WAP 7%. They are polling at 34% and 28%.

    34 is 64% of 53
    28 is 400% of 7

    So, in short (roughly) go riding by riding and cut the PC vote by a third, then multiple the Alliance vote four fold.

    What you end up with is a PC Party with over 50 seats and an Alliance with about 20.


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