Friday, December 23, 2011

Three to five months out, Redford on track

The next province heading to the polls looks set to continue the winning streak for incumbent governments.

But as in Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador, the incumbent party will be led by a new leader who represents both change and continuity.

Alberta's Premier Alison Redford was named leader of the Progressive Conservatives in October. Before the leadership campaign had started, the Alberta Tories were bleeding support away to Danielle Smith’s Wildrose Party, and an end to the uninterrupted period of PC rule stretching back to 1971 seemed possible.

But the leadership campaign itself rejuvenated the party and under Redford's leadership the Tories are on track to win another majority government in the province.

You can read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post Canada website here.

It'll sneak up on us, but the Alberta election might be as near as three months away! I think it might be sneaking up on Albertans, too, as Alison Redford looks like she'll win another majority without any problem.
This is Forum's first foray into the Alberta scene. They have the Progressive Conservatives leading with 38%, well ahead of Wildrose at 23%.

The New Democrats and Liberals trail with 13% and 12% apiece, while the Alberta Party stands at 6%.

Unfortunately, the number for the "other" parties is huge: 9%. If we take that out and distribute the 9% to the other parties proportionately, we get 42% for the PCs and 25% for Wildrose.

That is a solid lead for the Tories, though not completely comfortable for the PCs. However, with the Liberals so low the Tories will likely be able to pick-up a lot of new seats, even if Wildrose does steal a dozen or more from them.

Calgary, however, will be a bit of a battlefield. The Tories lead with 35% to 27% for Wildrose (or 38% to 30% without all the others), while in Edmonton the battlefield is for second. The Progressive Conservatives have the edge with 33%, but the Liberals (22%) and New Democrats (21%) are very much in the race. However, that is quite a drop for the Liberals, meaning they will be hard-pressed to hold on to their seats.

In northern Alberta, the Tories lead with 42% (49% without the Others), well ahead of Wildrose. Southern Alberta is a bit closer, with the Progressive Conservatives at 41% to 28% for Wildrose.

The projection model for Alberta is not yet complete, so for now I am using a simple swing model at the provincial level based primarily on the old boundaries. With that model and these poll numbers, the Progressive Conservatives win 65 seats and an easy majority.

Wildrose wins 15 seats and forms the Official Opposition while the New Democrats win six seats and become the third party in the legislature. The Liberals are reduced to a single seat.

Before the election rolls around, and according to this poll 68% of respondents approve of having fixed election dates (or, at least in this case, fixed election seasons), I'll have the new projection model up and running. It will be quite a departure from what I've used in the past. It'll be regionally based and, if I have the time, sub-regionally based as well. I don't imagine that there will be many, if any, riding polls for Alberta but the model will be designed to be able to incorporate them. The vote projection will also be different, in that it will attempt to estimate how the polls will be off, rather than only averaging them out with a weighting.

It will be an interesting race. Alison Redford, Danielle Smith, and Raj Sherman will all be leading their parties into a general election for the first time - that means that, more than usual, anything might happen.


  1. Which seat do you have the Liberals winning?

  2. The old Calgary-Mountainview.

  3. Forum seems to be making the same mistake Ekos kept making with their IVR polls of prompting people for "Other". In reality only about 1% of people vote for parties or candidates other than PC, Lib, NDP or even Green...(and of course Wildrose in AB) but when you prompt other - yo invariably VASTLY overestimate it and it just drags down all the other party's vote share.

  4. I'd agree with DL, though I think the "other" results do often represent undecideds or people who don't really like the usual parties. I think this is shown by the high "other" result among the 18-35 crowd in this poll, a demographic which votes in far fewer numbers because 'politics as usual' turns them off.

    Thanks for the Alberta update, Eric, and I look forward to more as the election gets nearer and the polling starts to ramp up.

  5. Agree on the "other points" - but is any of that 9 percent here from the Green party? They got 5% of the vote last time didn't they?

    I really think the Liberals picked the wrong leader in Alberta though...

  6. The Greens aren't a registered party in Alberta anymore.

  7. Yes, they Greens are defunct though they are trying to re-organize and re-register as the EverGreen party. Elections AB has not yet made them official though, so it's unknown if they'll have any candidates in 2012 -- but it's possible they could put together a handful if they are registered in time.

    Some of the members of the old Green executive board are now with the Alberta Party (one of them, Will Munsey, will be running in Leduc-Beaumont), and the leader of the party at the time of de-registration, Joe Anglin, is running for the Wildrose in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre.

  8. Hmm... Forum's last federal poll at "others" at 5% too. I can't find the full poll breakdown anywhere though. What was "others" at in Albersaskitoba? And what were the Greens? Because the last Harris Decima poll had the federal Greens at 8% in Alberta, so I'm thinking that a chunk of those others here are really Greens that may be planning to support the new "Evergreen Party" (

  9. Greens and Others have been over represented in federal polling for years.

    Since there has been a growing one direction, statistically significant, undeniable trend to underestimate the Conservatives in the polling over the last four elections ('04 slightly over, '06 about right, '08 slightly under, '11 way under) a good rule of thumb for future elections would be to just add Green and Others to the Conservative forces.

    Not sure what you'd do for a provincial Alberta poll though !

    Although Wildrose probably will have a turnout advantage since it appeals to the older males crowd who are more likely to vote.

  10. Anonymous said...
    "a good rule of thumb for future elections would be to just add Green and Others to the Conservative forces."

    So when the Green Party is at 10% in polls we should just add that to the Conservatives because you think they have been under polled? Great logic.

  11. Thanks for this. Not surprising that the Tories would still form a massive majority with only 38% support.

    The 9% support for "Other" makes me question this poll. In Alberta, the only "other" parties in existence that were not already listed in this poll are the Separation Party, the Social Credit Party, and the Communist Party. All of which are morbid or essentially defunct.

    2012 will be an interesting year. If the Tories are set to form government, then the real race may be for who will form the Official Opposition. Other polling firms, including Environics, have placed the Wildrose at around 19% support, so if this becomes the case in the next election they may be fighting for Official Opposition status with the NDP.


  12. What I don't get is where this Dipper revolution in the areas outside of Edmonton are coming from.

    I mean, in 2008 they got 18% in Edmonton - this poll says 21% now. In Calgary they got 4%, but this says 13%, while in the rest of Alberta they managed I think 5-6%, but this now says about 10%.

    So, really... is the Dipper revolution coming out of Calgary?? That's one heavy concept right there.

  13. I see the NDP's vote share growing, and wouldn't be surprised if they get 4-5 seats, but I have a hard time thinking they can grow beyond that. They don't have much traction outside of Edmonton.

  14. I know that the NDP is targetting one of the Lethbridge seats where the party did very well federally. Also, keep in mind that the NDP actually won some seats in Calgary in the 1980s and there are probably a lot of votes in Calgary that are essentially "anti-PC" progressive votes that mightshift from Liberal to NDP if the feeling is that the Alberta Liberals are in total disarray (which they are) and that the NDP is emerging as the main opposition.

  15. DL,

    Normally I would agree with you but I don't think many ALP votes in Calgary are switching to the NDP - not, at my best guess, over 50% of all voters who've abandoned the ALP, anyways - simply because "progressive" means little to Albertan politics. "Opposition" means more, and the NDP will get votes because they're seen to have credibility, mostly thanks to the federal surge. It's not Brian Mason, anyways, who is about as sharp as a tack as Lorraine Michaels is.

    The problem is, the Wildrosers are going to see this trend and start gobbling up whatevers left of the ALP support and then say to these people parking their votes with the NDP who are not necessarily Dippers, "hey, we're the real opposition, come to our side."

    That's what happened during the 1980's that collapsed Martin's NDP, and its what brought Lougheed's PCs to power. The NDP are, as always, a "we don't like the Liberals right now" option, except in this era, that holds a lot more weight. Issue for you guys in Alberta, versus Nova Scotia or Newfoundland and Labrador, there's another party to contend with in the Wildrosers.

  16. @Brandon E. Beasley

    I think if you look into the election results you would see that the NDP was within 5% of the Conservatives in the City of Lethbridge itself. But when you include the county and surrounding towns they voted conservative enormously. With a relatively well-known professor at the University.

    Keep in mind the demographics of Lethbridge: one of the youngest populations in the country considering 44 per cent of residents are less than 25 years old.


COMMENT MODERATION POLICY - Please be respectful when commenting. If choosing to remain anonymous, please sign your comment with some sort of pseudonym to avoid confusion. Please do not use any derogatory terms for fellow commenters, parties, or politicians. Inflammatory and overly partisan comments will not be posted. PLEASE KEEP DISCUSSION ON TOPIC.