Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A minority for Stelmach in Alberta

Environics is up with a new Alberta provincial poll, released earlier this month. It shows that the Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose Alliance are neck and neck.Compared to when we last heard from Environics in May, the Progressive Conservatives have held steady at 34%. The Wildrose Alliance, meanwhile, is up four points to 32%. With a margin of error of 3.1 points, that is a statistical tie.

The Liberals are down four points and are third with 19%, while the New Democrats are up one to 13%.

It's a four-way race in the provincial capital. The Progressive Conservatives are down two to 32% in Edmonton, followed by the Wildrose Alliance at 25% (+9) and the Liberals at 24% (-7). Even the NDP is in it, up two to 18%.

In Calgary, the Progressive Conservatives are up four points and lead with 36%. The Wildrose Alliance is up two to 33%, while the Liberals are down seven to 19%. The NDP is down one to 9%.

And in the rest of Alberta, the Wildrose Alliance leads with 37%, unchanged from May. The Progressive Conservatives are down four to 33%, the Liberals are up three to 15%, and the NDP is up two to 12%.

With a more concentrated and organized vote, the Progressive Conservatives would turn this two-point lead into 42 seats. That's three fewer than the projection quoted in the Calgary Herald (not done by me) from May. The Wildrose Alliance would win 28 seats, up 10, while the Liberals would win 12 and the New Democrats five.

The Progressive Conservatives would win 15 seats in Edmonton, six in Calgary, and 21 in the rest of Alberta.

The Wildrose Alliance would win no seats in Edmonton, 16 in Calgary, and 12 in the rest of the province.

The Liberals would win five seats in Edmonton, six in Calgary, and one in the rest of Alberta.

All five NDP seats would be won in Edmonton.

It would mean a minority government in Alberta, something the province has never seen in its history. If Premier Ed Stelmach is thinking of jumping the gun with a 2012 election, as some have suggested, I think this poll will make him think again.


  1. Thanks for this post, Eric.

    The polls are certainly showing a different political environment than existed during the last provincial election in 2008.

    I believe that one of the biggest challenges will be for the challenging parties to compete with the PC Party machine once it becomes fully operational.

    I have been surprised at how quickly many political watchers have begun to write the political obituary for the long-governing PC Party. At its weakest polling in decades, the PC Party is still the best organized and most well-funded political machine in the province and should not be underestimated by its challengers.

    A big challenge for the Wildrose Alliance will be to attract credible candidates that can challenge the PCs on the ground in some ridings that they have held since 1971.

    An even bigger challenge for the Liberals and NDP is to simply be relevant in an election period which's narrative is being increasingly dominated by the PCs and Wildrose. This could be the difference between the Liberals and NDP electing a combined 17 MLAs or a combined 0.

    Also, I'd like to give a shout out to another blog that is doing some great pre-election coverage and poll-analysis in Alberta: http://albertavote.ca

  2. The next election provides a total new dynamics with a new party (well established, well funded and well organized) and no valid historical data the Wild Rose has 25% in Edmonton and the Liberals 24% and the Liberals win 5 seats and the WRA get 0 in Edmonton???

    Are you making a basic assumption that WRA only can draw away votes from the Cons? That there are no people who voted Liberal just to provide an alternate Point of View voice in the legislature who will vote WRA as an anti-con anti-Stelmach vote.?

    Logical would have it in the less populated non-urban ridings the WRA dominate they would be able to win more than 12 seats. They lead in 37% to 33% over the Cons in the RoA (rest of Alberta but The Cons get 21 seats to 12???

    That is some fancy modelling Eric :)

  3. Alberta is not afraid of changing governments.

    Either the WRA will continue to grow when the election takes place and will be a majority government as the clear alternative to the Conservative-Stelmach train wreck...

    Or they will fizzle out and the Cons majority rolls on for another majority.

    There would be no discussion about this if Stelmach didn't work a flaw the grass roots leadership vote to have a small area Edmonton-Vegreville dominate the party Membership.

    If Dinning were leader/premier the WRA would be a fringe party.

    By election time they may be able to talk Stelmach out of running again and surpassing Don Getty as the worst premier ever.

  4. The WRA exists as a force today because the PCs picked a lousy leader.

    That said, the PCs have shown a lot of signs of being uninspired over the past 20 years (only Ralph's austerity program was truly good governance), and I'd be happy to see them replaced. Especially since I know and like Danielle Smith, and I trust her to be a true libertarian premier.

    I also know that the WRA has attracted much of the PC machine away - fundraisers and organisers - and I don't expect a big organisational advantage for the governing Tories.

  5. And regardless, Albertans vote like a hive-mind. Something in the campaign will cause the electorate to swing strongly in one direction or the other. I don't see a minority government as at all likely.


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