Friday, September 16, 2011

Wildrose may not be out of it after all

Earlier this month, I noticed mention of an Alberta poll in an article from the Edmonton Journal. It was a poll done privately, but the results were provided to Graham Thompson of that newspaper.

ThinkHQ Public Affairs did the poll, a firm I am not familiar with but is apparently run by someone who used to work with Ipsos-Reid. It was taken in early July, so it's quite old, but it is noteworthy nevertheless as we don't get many polls from the province.
The poll pegs the Progressive Conservatives at 39% support, compared to 30% for the Wildrose Party, 14% for the New Democrats, 11% for the Liberals, and 4% for the Alberta Party.

These results are consistent with an Abingdon Research poll that was released in May, but is at odds with an Environics poll that was conducted in the second half of July. While support for the Liberals and NDP is generally the same, Environics had the PCs at 54% and Wildrose at 16%. Clearly this is a very different result, but aside from ThinkHQ being a newcomer to the political field there isn't much to doubt about this poll. With the permutations of the PC leadership campaign, it is understandable that polls could differ to this extent.

This nine-point gap isn't very useful to Wildrose, as the Progressive Conservatives would still win a large majority with 63 seats. Wildrose becomes the Official Opposition with 18 seats, while the NDP wins six. The Liberals, who at the time of this poll were still leaderless, are booted from the Legislative Assembly.

Obviously, with a new leader at the helm of the Alberta Liberals and a new leader to be chosen by the Progressive Conservatives in October/November, things are bound to change. But this poll does give us an indication that things aren't as smooth for the PCs as many may have thought. This makes the choice of their next leader very important - Wildrose is still well-positioned to take advantage of any misstep.