Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Race narrows in Alberta, provincial NDP makes gains

Last week, the Edmonton Journal reported on a provincial political poll conducted by Abingdon Research for the Wildrose Alliance. Obviously, polls paid for and provided by political parties need to be taken with a grain of salt. We do not know how the questions were worded, in what order they were placed, and whether the Wildrose Alliance has kept more negative polls under wraps. But the results jive generally with the last polls we've seen from the province, so I think we can proceed with only a little bit of caution.
The poll is now almost a month old, but it showed the Progressive Conservatives leading the pack with 33.5% support, ahead of the Wildrose Alliance at 28.6%.

The Liberals trailed with 15.1%, tied with the New Democrats at 14.7%. The Alberta Party stands at 5.2%.

We don't really have a previous poll to compare this to, but if take the two polls that were released in January by Environics and Trend Research and average them out, we can see that the PCs have dropped almost six points since the beginning of the year. The Wildrose Alliance is down one point while the Liberals are down five.

The New Democrats are the ones who have gained, up almost six points since January. It could be a coincidence, but the party's success at the federal level may be trickling down.

The Alberta Party and others are up four points since those January polls.

With the results of this poll only, ThreeHundredEight projects a Progressive Conservative majority of 51 seats. The Wildrose Alliance forms the Official Opposition with 22 seats, while the Liberals and New Democrats take seven seats apiece.

This would be a bit of a breakthrough for the NDP, giving them their most seats since 1989 when they won 16 and formed the Official Opposition.

The Progressive Conservatives win 16 seats in Edmonton, with the NDP taking seven and the Liberals two. In Calgary, the Wildrose Alliance dominates with 15 seats, with nine going to the PCs and four to the Liberals.

In the rest of the province, the Wildrose Alliance wins seven seats, the Progressive Conservatives 26 seats, and the Liberals one.

The successor to Ed Stelmach, who should be officially gone in the fall, will hold the advantage against Danielle Smith. But with a very small gap between the two parties, the Wildrose Alliance is in a good position to make some serious gains. Swap the two parties and the Wildrose Alliance could form government. But being a relatively new phenomenom, the Wildrose Alliance would really need to pile up the votes in order to win a majority. The PCs should be more effective in turning votes into seats.

The next leader of the Progressive Conservatives will be faced with a serious challenge, and with the potential renewed strength of the New Democrats and the wildcard of the Alberta Party, the next election in this province should be exceedingly interesting.


  1. Will you be looking at the federal Nanos poll?

  2. It's rare that an Alberta election can be described as exciting, but I agree that the next one probably will be.

    I think Alberta has had two exciting elections since WW2.

  3. It's strange how the left (NDP+Libs+Greens together) have more votes than the PC, but the PC has almost 4x more seats.

  4. The Wildrose Alliance (in green) is to the right of the PCs, not to the left. There is no active Green Party in Alberta.

  5. Ok. So what is the second green bar, there at 5.2%?

  6. I think they meant the Alberta Party.

  7. You could include the Alberta Party in the "centre or left of centre" group and say that combined they have more votes than the PCs but that the PC's get more than almost four times the seats. But it wouldn't mean anything.

    That's the way the cookie crumbles in a first past the post system when you have three parties representing the centre and left, one party representing the centre-right and one party representing the far right.

  8. Yes, the 5.2% is the Alberta Party, as explained in the post.

  9. Democracy at its finest: The leading party is at 33.5% and would get a majority in seats. And as someone mentioned, the centre or left parties together have more support than the leading party but a quarter of the seats. FPTP is the most democratic and fairest system there is (catch the sarcasm?)

  10. But the Ctr/ctr right parties have 62.1% of the vote. and therefore should get the majority of seats.

  11. Anon:

    FPTP is the most democratic and fairest system there is (catch the sarcasm?)

    Yes indeed. When it comes to democracy we take a back seat to everyone.

    Let's see what the last national election would have given if we had a decent system.

    We all know what the parties got as seats,

    Party Vote % Seats

    CPC 39.6 122

    NDP 30.6 94

    Lib 18,9 58

    Bloc 6.2 2

    Green 3.9 1

    Seats are rounded off so probably doesn't = 308

    But it does show just how bad our "democracy" is !!

  12. I see the latest CROP poll in Quebec has the NDP up to 53%!! I guess that would mean the NDP getting something like 73 out of 75 seats! Like i said - the NDP has not even reached its ceiling in Quebec. Next time it will be as safely NDP as Alberta is Tory.

  13. One month down, only 52 more to go!

  14. Long before the next election, there could be some interesting byelections in Quebec. There are a few Liberal war-horses who are likely to seek greener pastures like Irwin Cotler, Stephane Dion, Denis Coderre etc...each of those ridings could have some interesting dynamics at play.

  15. If there are any by-elections in Quebec in the next few years, they will be BIG tests for the NDP (and the Bloc).

  16. The Alberta Green Party amusingly lost its party status by failing to fill out the relevant paperwork.

    As for the 33% support winning a majority, I don't foresee anything like 33% support for the winning party when the election finally comes.

    Here is the winning vote percentage in Alberta's general elections (let's go back until we find one that was close):

    2008: 52.7%
    2004: 46.8%
    2001: 61.9%
    1997: 51.2%
    1993: 44.5%
    1989: 44.3%
    1986: 51.4%
    1982: 62.3%
    1979: 57.4%
    1975: 62.7%
    1971: 46.4%
    1967: 44.6%
    1963: 54.8%
    1959: 55.7%
    1955: 46.4%
    1952: 56.2%
    1948: 55.6%
    1944: 50.5%
    1940: 42.9%

    There. 1940. In 1940, Social Credit defeated the Independent Movement by only 0.4% of the vote. That was the last close election in Alberta.

  17. I think that in 1993 and before that in 1971 - the popular vote in Alberta was relatively close even if the seat count was not.


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