Wednesday, May 12, 2010

PCs hold slender lead in Alberta

Environics released a new poll for the Calgary Herald on Monday, looking into the provincial voting intentions of Albertans. Compared to their last poll in late October 2009, there hasn't been much change.Both the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Alliance remain unchanged at 34% and 28%, respectively. The Liberals have gained three points to reach 23%, as have the New Democrats at 12%.

Recall that in 2008, the electoral results for these parties was 53% for the PCs, 7% for the WA, 26% for the Liberals, and 8% for the NDP.

In Calgary, the PCs are up two points to 32% while the Wildrose Alliance is down three points to 31%. The Liberals make it a close race at 26%.

In Edmonton, the PCs are stable at 34% but the Liberals are up four to 31%. The WA and NDP are tied at 16% in the provincial capital.

Finally, in the rest of Alberta the Wildrose Alliance has jumped five points to tie the Progressive Conservatives at 37%. The governing party is down one point here.

According to Janet Brown, a polling consultant interviewed by the Calgary Herald, this poll would give the Progressive Conservatives 45 seats, the Wildrose Alliance 18 (four of them in Calgary and the rest in southern Alberta), the Liberals 16, and the NDP 4.

Compared to the 2008 election, that would be a 27-seat drop for Ed Stelmach. It would also be a gain of seven seats for the Liberals, two seats for the NDP, and 18 for the Wildrose Alliance. For the two traditional opposition parties, this would be a return to their 2004 electoral results.

I plan to develop my own projection model for the province once we near the next election.

Stelmach has had some terrible polls recently, so it is certainly good news for him to have the lead. It could be that Environics has had different results than other pollsters, or it could be that between the two Environics polls in October and now May, the Wildrose Alliance saw a bump (39% in November and 42% in February, according to Angus-Reid) but they have since returned to earth. If that is the case, it is most definitely good news for the beleaguered premier.


  1. I think the PC's will do fine and easily win by the time the election comes in 2012. Hopefully the WRA will disappear.

    However I think it would be really funny to see the Liberals do really well due to vote splitting.

  2. This is good news for Ed Stelmach. Maybe he can avoid the dreaded label of being the guy who lost the dynasty, win one more election in 2012, and then retire soon after for someone else to suffer his previously intended fate.

  3. Wow, that's still a majority isn't it? I guess it helps that they lead in every region and not just in aggregate.

  4. It's pretty sad that at only 34% Stelmach could get a pretty good majority government.

  5. Vote splitting on the right.

    Coming soon to a federal Conservative party near you.

    I mean how long can fiscal conservatives put up with Harper's reckless spending?

    How long can real conservatives put up with endless deficits, caused by the incompetence of Flaherty, and Harper?

    I mean when you look at the Harper record, is there anything in there for a fiscal conservative to be proud of?

  6. I've been wondering myself how long until someone steps into the fiscal hole created by Harper. I'm sure many of the old Reform Party members are getting restless right now. I suspect they have a bit more time, but the Wildrose group has put them on notice (even though it is a provincial only party...for now).

    I know I've been pushing the Green Party to put an emphasis on our plans on how to balance the budget, shift taxes off the productive economy onto the unproductive one, cutting payroll taxes by the same amount Harper wants to jump them (thus around $2k a year savings for many families). These are things that many Conservatives want to see (I know it shifted me over) and only the Greens are talking about it. Sadly the media has labeled us left wing thus many don't look further than that. Sigh.

  7. I swear the result was 34-30-23, not 34-28-23.


  8. That links to a March article.

  9. It is very perplexing to me that Conservative parties always have to break away from the mother party and form something else.

    It gets to the point, that a lot of people recognize that they aren't really good fiscal or economic managers. Hence they form a new party, to try and return to conservative principles.

    Harper carped for years about fiscal discipline, and look what he has done.

    It is so very ironic that if Paul Martin had the foresight to remain as Liberal leader, he would probably be PM, today.

    That would be a good thing for the country, as we would be in better financial shape.

    Flaherty has two strike outs, one as Ontario finance minister, and one as Canadian finance minister.

    It is truly a shame that conservatives who call themselves "Fiscal Conservatives" would vote against the Liberal Party.

    After all it was the Liberal Party, who balanced the nation's books, and put our finances back in order.

    Flaherty and Harper, are fiscal incompetents.

  10. 49 steps been there done that.

    We had vote splitting on the right in the 90's and nobody wants to return to it.

    And its not like people worried about the deficit have any other party to vote for.

    The opposition have not suggested a single cut in spending since 2006. Every step of the way they've suggested MORE and MORE.

    Every time Harper moves to cut spending they scream bloody murder.

    11 women's groups out of 400 lost their funding recently and you'd think it was the end of the world!

  11. Indeed it does.

    I really need to watch the links I receive. XD

  12. Danielle Smith winning would be a good thing for Canada and the other provinces in confederation because she'd bring new views and new ideas.

    The election isn't for awhile now. Here's to hoping she can continue fundraising, building an organization, and winning the trust and support of Albertans.

  13. Shadow, so I assume you think Jack Layton becoming Prime Minister would be a good thing for Canada? He'll bring new views and ideas to the PMO. And maybe Elizabeth May would be a good thing, too.

    Danielle Smith would be a good thing if she doesn't mess up Alberta, which is a distinct possibility when we're talking about fringe parties with neophyte leaders and members.

    She can bring her new ideas and views to the table as party leader. She doesn't need to do it as a Premier.

  14. 49 Steps - Fiscal conservatives aren't dumb. They know the reckless spending is the result of the political realities of a minority parliament.

    No one party can be held responsible for the actions of a minority parliament. Minorities and majorities need to be judged differently.

    On Alberta, the PC's are familiar, and they recently corrected their largest policy mistake (the new oil and gas royalties). There's no real political news happening. I'd say that the WRA numbers are terrific. What the bigger numbers we saw before were was just the post-convention bounce from the selection of a new leader.

    The WRA has shown nothing but momentum. Looking at these numbers and thinking they show any sort of decline from the bounce polls shows a gross misunderstanding of political patterns.

  15. Éric - I had assumed you were familiar with the work of Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight. He has a terrific model for showing how bounces work: how long they last, how big they are, and what happens when they go away. This poll is exactly what we should have expected to see now given the end of Danielle Smith's post-convention bounce, and is entirely consistent with the WPA's steady rise in the polls.

  16. Of course I'm familiar with his work.

    But I don't think we've had enough polls from enough pollsters to really draw any definitive conclusions. We need an AR poll in Alberta. If they still have the WA ahead, then what?

  17. Ira,

    "Fiscal conservatives aren't dumb."

    I stopped reading after that.

    Kidding. You're right - the drop doesn't necessarily say anything about the WRA momentum slowing down. However, the fact that they are the only party which dropped (I guess the now non-existent Greens did too), while both the PCs and ALP either retained their vote or gained it, is a little telling, because of the PCs stalled their decline, and the ALP is clawing its way back up ever so slightly, what does that spell for the momentum gaining yet squeeze-vulnerable WRA?

  18. Eric we're not talking federal politics so that's a bit of a jump.

    On the provincial scene, yes, I actually do think the occasional NDP, Liberal, or whatever party is a good thing. One party rule for a prolonged period is NOT healthy.

    And it makes a good test case, a way to test drive ideas before they are taken federal.

    That's the beauty of federalism, you have all these mini-labs running real time experiments.

    "She can bring her new ideas and views to the table as party leader. She doesn't need to do it as a Premier."

    Party leaders aren't invited to provincial-federal meetings, nor are they given much national airtime. Only premiers.

    There's a big difference in the size of the megaphone of a premier and a second party.

  19. --- That's the beauty of federalism, you have all these mini-labs running real time experiments.

    Arguably, those "mini-labs" have a greater role in our lives than the federal government.

    We're much better off with 10 competent premiers and one bumbling fool in the PMO than the other way around.

  20. Eric we can only know if someone is competent until after they've been in power for a period of time.

    All leaders want to do the best for their community and believe their ideas are the most effective. Everyone claims competence.

    As a voter looking at the public policy positions a leader is advocating its helpful to me to be able to look at other jurisdictions that have tried the same thing and see whether it was effective or not.

    For example Michael Ignatieff's support of high speed passenger rail. I know from looking at the experience of others that its very expensive, a poor economic investment, and not any better for the environment than conventional travel. A better idea is to use rail for shipping more goods to take trucks off the road.

    This kind of experimentation is valuable because it tells us what to do and what not to do.

    Of course it sucks for the people who have their province trashed by a bad gov't. But there was no way of knowing ahead of time that would happen, nobody can tell the future.

  21. Volkov - That's math. If the WRA numbers fall at the end of their bounce, that support has to appear somewhere else in the results.

    Sure, some habitual PC voters returned to the PC ranks because they're no longer as excited about Danielle Smith now that she's out of the limelight. And the Liberals have always been a safe way to show displeasure with the governing PCs because the Liberals don't come close to winning (they came fairly close in 1993, but that was the most right-wing campaign I've ever seen from anyone).

    Either a number is statistically significant or it isn't. This one isn't (because it falls within the error bars on the expected pattern).

  22. Éric - Those mini-labs should be even more important. The central government cannot serve all of us without alienating some of us.

  23. Ira,

    I disagree. We've seen from essentially every poll that the Liberals are more or less stuck around 20-25%, which can safely be called their "base." What's more, that "base" is a sticking point for the WRA, because if they fail to make inroads among ALP supporters, which I've seen them nab a few in recent months, then they're f*cked, more or less.

    Because if the Liberals retain their base, and the PCs start to bottom out at 30-35%, then the WRA will have zero room for growth. If they can't start batting down the ALP and PCs, they're going to be stuck between 25-30%, which isn't enough to form a government. It might not even be enough to knock the PCs out of majority territory.

  24. Volkov its not nessecary for the WRA to make inroads with the ALP provided the swing away from PC is great enough. However, this runs the risk of vote splits if the swing is too small.

    Look at the by-election in Calgary-Glenmore. The Liberals actually increased support by a percent but the swing from PC to WRA was so great that they won their first seat.

    Assuming Ed Stelmach runs a bumbling campaign hampered by constant defections being strategically announced after every mistep or triumph then its likely we'll see a PC collapse.

    Or Danielle Smith will burn out and do so poorly that nothing will come of her stardom.

    I think it will be one of those two scenarios and nothing in between.

    Albertans tend to vote en masse and like majority governments.

  25. Shadow,

    I know, that's why I added "if the PCs bottom out at 30-34%." It means the swing has come to a standstill, and the PCs are starting to bottom out at this point.

    Whether it holds is a completely different story.

  26. The interesting thing is that once the winds of change start blowing it seems to be not alot that stops it in Alberta.

    The people of Alberta generally don't elect governments, the elect dynasties.


  27. We're much better off with 10 competent premiers and one bumbling fool in the PMO than the other way around.

    Geez Eric ?? I thought that was what we have ??

  28. I wouldn't call Charest, Stelmach, and Gordon competent.

  29. I wouldn't call Charest, Stelmach, and Gordon competent.

    Let's just agree there are degrees of competence Eric ??

    Speaking of which how about that PMO letter to the Ethics Commissioner which is a lie from beginning to end ??

  30. Gordon and Charest are competent premiers to an extent. Problem is, they take unpopular decisions and/or get wrapped up in scandals.

    Stelmach is pretty incompetent though.

  31. Volkov I don't see Charest or Campbell as competent. They've done some good things to be sure but i'm not too impressed with them.

    They remind me of Schwarzenegger.

    Too wrapped up in issues like climate change and new feel good schemes to notice the economy. Just jumping from issue to issue without finishing anything.

    They're right of centre guys with left of center voters so they get distracted with all this window dressing.

    Maybe if they lived somewhere like Alberta they'd be more effective premiers because they could spend more time governing than trying to be like.

  32. Shadow,

    Yeah, 'cause thats worked out sooo well for Stelmach.

    I mean, he's only leading his party's dynasty to utter defeat at the hands of a smaller-than-the-Liberals party and have essentially broke the province's vital services... what's so bad about that?

  33. Volkov are you saying that handing Charest and Campbell the power of Stelmach would simply be giving them more rope to hang themselves ?

    They strike me as smarter fellows than Stelmach so perhaps they could have done a better job.

    Of course, this giant economic recession has pretty much screwed everybody.

    Only someone like Brad Wall can be seen as doing well.

    And that's only because his province was in such poor shape before he came to power that even with a recession going on some commonsense reforms have created growth.

  34. Shadow,

    I have no doubts Stelmach is a fairly smart fellow, so I don't know what you were getting at there. The fact is that Stelmach seems more a victim of circumstance than of his own intelligence, or lack thereof. If Charest or Campbell had been in a similar position - and let's face it, Campbell pretty much is - I wouldn't hedge any bets against them falling victim to the same thing.

    As for Brad Wall... interesting fellow, that Wall. Is he doing well? Hm, I dunno about that. He's popular, to be sure, but he's not spectacular. If the NDP put up enough of a fight, they could take him.

  35. New Ekos poll out, essentially agrees with the IR poll. No real change.

    Meanwhile the question of the PMO lying to the Ethics Commissioner continues.

  36. Peter what on earth are you talking about with this bit about the PMO lying that you've repeated multiple times.

    Lying suggests deliberate intent to decieve.

    What actually happened was during a game of telephone some information got misconveyed.

    Snowdy talked to a CPC lawyer who talked to the PMO who talked to the ethics commissioner but when the ethics commissioner talked directly to Snowdy he claimed to have been misunderstood.

  37. Let's see. Snowdy meets with Giorno. Several days later Snowdy gets a phone cal from the Ethics Commissioner concerning a letter Giorno had sent her supposedly detailing what he and Snowdy had discussed. The Commissioner starts to read the letter over the phone to Snowdy and right off the bat Snowdy says "I never said that" !!

    He goes to the Commissioners office, reviews the letter and says it's all lies. He repeats that statement to the Committee. Further Snowdy states that there is stuff in the letter that refers to after he met Giorno and says that Snowdy says thus and such and Snowdy simply says that there was NO second meeting and thus how could Giorno know what Snowdy had said.

    In other words a completely manufactured letter which was all lies.

  38. Peter it doesn't sound like you were watching the same committee meeting I was yesterday.

    Snowdy has NEVER met with anyone inside the PMO.

    He went to a Conservative lawyer he knows. It was the lawyer who passed the info on to the PMO.

    The PMO passed the info on to the ethics commissioner. A game of telephone.

    Snowdy called the lawyer after being contacted by the ethics commissioner and complained to him that he disagreed with the characterization of his information, specifically whether or not he was making criminal allegations against Geurgis.

    The letter wasn't "full of lies". It contained all the info passed along. The only "lie" was a misinterpretation of Snowdy's intent.

    Which, being subjective, can't really be a lie but instead someone's opinion.

  39. Peter it doesn't sound like you were watching the same committee meeting I was yesterday.

    I can't help it if you were watching the Disney channel.

    I was watching the committee coverage, obviously you weren't !!


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