Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tories lead by 22 in ROI poll

Over the last few days, Return on Insight (ROI) has released a series of Alberta polls via the CBC, analyzing voting intentions, leader approval, and where Albertans stand on the issues. The poll shows the Progressive Conservatives to be in a dominant position.
ROI finds Alison Redford's Tories to have the support of 46% of Albertans, with 24% opting for Wildrose, 14% for the NDP, and 12% for the Liberals.

These numbers generally echo, or at least fall in between, what we've recently seen from Léger Marketing and Forum Research. They also agree on where the parties stand in each part of the province.

In Edmonton, the Tories have a solid lead with 49% support, while the NDP comes up second with 17%. The Liberals and Wildrose are tied with 16%.

In Calgary, the Tories have a solid lead as well but are being trailed more closely by Wildrose: 48% to 28%. This is also the case in the rest of the province, where the Progressive Conservatives hold a 43% to 29% edge over Danielle Smith's party. This closer race outside the cities and a competitive Wildrose in Calgary is what other polls have reported.

This poll has been added to the Alberta projection. It has given the Tories an extra 0.6 points and they now lead with 45.9% support, compared to 23% for Wildrose (down 0.2), 13.1% for the Liberals (down 0.3), and 12.4% for the New Democrats (up 0.2). Minor shifts, but thanks to gains of 1.8 points in Edmonton and 1.5 points in Calgary, the Progressive Conservatives are now projected to win 76 seats, with seven going to Wildrose, three to the NDP, and one to the Liberals.

In this ROI poll, the leaders all get net positive approval ratings. Alison Redford tops the list with 59% approval to 22% disapproval, with her best numbers coming in the two main cities and among women.

Danielle Smith has a 46% approval rating with 26% disapproving, her best results coming in Calgary and among men.

Brian Mason of the NDP scores a 39% to 29% split while Raj Sherman manages 37% approval to 33% disapproval. Both leaders have their best results in Edmonton.

Glenn Taylor of the Alberta Party has the highest "unsure" result, but still got 24% approval to 10% disapproval.

On the issues, Albertans identified healthcare (41%), the economy (31%), oil and gas (27%) and education (25%) as the most important ones facing the province. The Tories are well placed on these issues, however. They received top marks on healthcare (26%), education (33%), and the economy (43%) in terms of which party was chosen to be best able to handle these issues. Wildrose came second (19%) on the economy while the NDP came second (also with 19%) on healthcare and education.

These are not particularly strong indicators for Wildrose. They are not making big gains in voting intentions and on the important issues Albertans think other parties are stronger. If the campaign is about healthcare or education, the NDP might make gains. If it is about the economy, the PCs are best positioned. Where Danielle Smith finds her niche is difficult to see. But it appears that Albertans are generally comfortable with the Tories. Wildrose will need to turn the population against the governing party before they can work on bringing new voters into their tent.


  1. Eric,

    In order to have a point of comparison and measure the "swing", what was the popular vote in the last election in Edmonton, Calgary and "rest of AB"

  2. DL,

    EDMONTON: 49.4% PC, 29.9% LIB, 14.4% NDP, 3.6% GRN, 1.7% WRP

    CALGARY: 46.9% PC, 32.7% LIB, 9.5% WRP, 4.9% GRN, 4.1% NDP

    REST OF ALBERTA: 61.6% PC, 16.9% LIB, 9.5% WRP, 6.5% NDP, 5.2% GRN

  3. I'm not sure sure that healthcare and education play into leftist hands. Remember, this is Alberta. Albertans who object to Redford's decision to end the skills assessment testing of grade 3 students, for example, will only find support for their position in Wildrose. Similarly, if Albertans are concerned about the sustainability of healthcare funding, again Wildrise could be their answer.

    I don't think we can apply typical Canadian patterns of support based on issue identification to this election.

  4. Quite possibly, but I was using the figures of the poll. On health and education the NDP out-polled Wildrose. Now, if the Tories drop it might only go to Wildrose on these issues, but nevertheless the polls show the NDP is second on these issues.

  5. Even though not many people know him, +14% net approval is still pretty good for Glenn Taylor. I wonder if he has a pretty good shot of holding that seat...

  6. I think that the Wildrose mistook frustration with Ed Stelmach in Calgary for broad support for a Tea Party like far right populist movement. Now that Ed Stelmach is gone, the Calgary support for Wildrose seems to be disappearing as well. I find it interesting that Heather Forsyth's website doesn't display a Wildrose logo prominently: http://www.heatherforsyth.com/

    In some ways, this reminds me of the 1993 election, where Lawrence Decore's Liberals looked like they had a shot at unseating Don Getty's Conservatives - and then the Conservatives got a new leader, and more or less ran on a platform of change.

    One possible outcome of this election is a stronger voice for the cities, and less influence for rural ridings, if the rural / social conservative Tories move to the Wildrose and elect more or less irrelevant opposition MPs...

  7. Reford is looking a lot like Clark these days.

    Let me explain. A new leader is like a fresh coat of paint over a rusty vehicle. It only gives the appearance of things being fixed and only for awhile.

    BC Liberals jumped back up after Clark was chosen and she had her honeymoon period.

    Now she's fallen to earth again, weighted down by the baggage of her government and its past.

    The same thing will probably happen in Alberta in the next six months or so.

  8. Hi Eric,

    I've been reading your work for awhile, and thought I'd inquire as to your methodology for this most recent projection.

    For the ridings drastically altered by redistribution, how did you go about recalculating the base support by riding? You offered the base numbers by region, but have you run the numbers by riding?

    I'm playing with something similar, but far less sophisticated than what you've developed. Would it be possible to get a copy of the projected results by riding in Excel or CSV? If you have them, I'd be happy to map it out for you.

  9. The Alberta election is probably going to be one of the least eventful of the recent elections given that the PCs are guaranteed to cruise to another landslide majority given Liberal voters dislike Sherman enough to be happy with Redford as Premier. The Liberals will be hard-pressed to keep one seat while the NDP will definitely get no more than 4 as it seems a majority of their efforts are in those ridings. Wildrose should pull off Official Opposition if they manage to have a good campaign (though it is doubtful they will get as much as 90% in Cardston-Taber-Warner).

  10. Anonymous 6:07, yes, Cardston-Taber-Warner's high range for Wildrose is a bit extreme. It's a product of the system - Wildrose's polling volatility is high and their projected support in that riding is already high, putting their high range extraordinarily high.

    Justin, I have a transposition of votes for the new riding boundaries.

  11. Hi Eric,

    Which polls did you use for this projection and when were they taken? What accounted for the high and the low? I haven't seen a riding-by-riding breakdown for Alberta yet, so I'm just curious.



  12. Fred, at the very bottom of this page the polls used for this projection are listed. The regional breakdowns of these polls can be found by going through the posts I've done on them (click on the 28th Alberta General Election tab to see them).

    As for the high and lows, it is determined by polling volatility. So, recent polls put the NDP at between 13% and 14%, giving them low volatility. The PCs have been between 38% and 53%, giving them high volatility. Ranges are narrower when volatility is low, wider when it is high.

    For the projection's riding-by-riding breakdown, you can click on the "Alberta Riding Projections" banner at the top of this page.

  13. Anonymous: I find it interesting that Heather Forsyth's website doesn't display a Wildrose logo prominently: http://www.heatherforsyth.com/

    That's her gov't-funded MLA website, silly. It's not allowed to use the Wildrose logo.


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