Monday, April 2, 2012

Wildrose in majority territory

Two more polls have been released over the last few days, confirming that Wildrose holds a substantial lead over the Progressive Conservatives. Accordingly, Wildrose is now projected to win 44 seats and a slim majority government.

Wildrose is now projected to take 37.3% of the vote, a gain of 0.9 points since the last update of 29 March. The Progressive Conservatives have slipped 1.5 points to 33.7%, putting them almost four points behind Wildrose.

This has resulted in Wildrose being bumped up to 44 seats, the bare minimum for a majority government in the 87-seat legislature. The Tories are down to 36 seats, putting them in the role of the Official Opposition.

The Liberals have gained one point and would be projected to take 14.1% of the vote if an election were held today. This has increased their seat haul to three seats from only one.

The New Democrats are virtually unchanged, their support increasing 0.1 points to 11.1% and four seats.

The uncertainty in the polls is still somewhat high, and will be until newer polls confirm what the last three have suggested. This volatility puts the Wildrose range at between 33.3% and 41.3% of the vote, overlapping positively with the Tories' range of 28.7% to 38.7%. The Liberals are projected to take between 11.6% and 16.6% of the vote, while the New Democrats stand at between 10.0% and 12.1%.
This gives Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives are very wide range, though an outcome close to the projected result is the most likely. Nevertheless, Wildrose's range stands at between 20 and 70 seats while the Tories could take between 12 and 64 seats if an election were held today. That may not be very helpful, but the polls are still diverging wildly. The most recent data, however, points to a Wildrose majority.

The Liberal range has increased significantly, and they could take between zero and 10 seats. The latter result would be quite good for the Liberals, as it would mean an increase in their representation in the legislature. The NDP's range is between two and eight seats, thus ensuring that they will maintain or increase their own representation. In that sense, as the Liberals could still be shut out, the NDP is in a much better position.

Wildrose has made the biggest gain in Calgary, increasing its projected support by 2.2 points to 43%. They now hold a double-digit lead over the Tories in the city, as they have slipped 2.1 points to 31.5%. Wildrose is projected to take 21 seats to only six for the Tories. The Liberals are up 0.6 points to 14.1%, putting their high range in the city at two seats. They are still more likely to win none, however.

In Edmonton, the Liberals have made the most significant gain, increasing their support by 1.1 points to 18.2%. They are still well behind Wildrose, however, which is up 0.4 points to 26.9% in the capital. The Progressive Conservatives lead with 34.5%, down 1.2 points. The New Democrats are up 0.2 points to 16.5%, but could place as high as second with 21.1% of the vote and seven seats.

In the rest of the province, Wildrose has actually slipped. They've dropped 0.3 points to 42.7%, though they have still gained ground on the PCs as they are down 0.9 points to 34.2%. The Liberals and NDP have both gained in the region, though both are also below 10%.

Abacus Data's poll is the most up-to-date added to the model, but like Forum and Campaign they are using the IVR model for this election. They show Wildrose leading with 41%, an incredible 12-point gain since their last poll of 5-7 March. The Tories are down six points to 28%, while the Liberals and NDP are each down two points to 16% and 12%, respectively.

The Tories have shed support in the two cities (though they still hold a narrow lead in Edmonton), but have actually held firm in the rest of the province. There, the Liberals and NDP have dropped away. Have rural Albertans recognized the race as being only between the PCs and Wildrose?

Campaign Research also released a poll, echoing the findings of Forum and Abacus. The firm was recently in the news for the calls to Irwin Cotler's riding, but the level of detail about their methodology is commendable (5% response rate on IVR calls, for example) and their findings are well within the norm.

They have Wildrose in the lead with 39.6% of the vote to 30.3% for the Tories, 13% for the Liberals, and 11.6% for the NDP. Here again the Tories still lead in Edmonton, though it is a close four-way race. Wildrose is well ahead in Calgary and running away with it in the rest of the province.

Undoubtedly, Wildrose has the momentum after Week One. Will they still have that momentum after Week Two? Things are going smoothly for the party, and they are benefiting from the clumsy campaign being put on by the Progressive Conservatives. Unless something happens on the campaign trail, Wildrose might be able to maintain this momentum up until the debate. That could be the turning point (or nail-in-the-coffin) of the campaign.

53 comments:

  1. Its interesting that several polls show that the NDP vote is eroding a bit at the province-wide level but is actually becoming more efficient. Both Abacus and Campaign Research show the NDP dropping in areas where they are not competitive at all like Calgary, but gaining ground in Edmonton where virtually all of their winnable seats are.

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  2. I think if these numbers hold it will be very close. But there are many variables: Will potential WR voters actually vote? How will vote-splitting affect the outcome? Will the Liberal vote migrate strategically to the PCs? I agree with Eric: there are still 3 weeks to go and a lot can happen. My sense here in Edmonton is that if the PCs and WR are within a few points of each other just before April 23 it might actually be the PCs who get the bare majority because the progressive vote in Edmonton might swing to them. Regardless, I love this site Eric, many thanks.

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  3. Albertans - particularly leftist Albertans - have a long history of voting strategically.

    Most Albertan voters have never seen an Alberta election where the result in their riding was in any doubt at all.

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    1. The Leftist Albertans have elected the last 2 premiers....Stelmach and Redfern.

      Are you suggesting that the Liberal-NDP voters will vote Conservative instead of Liberal/NDP to keep Redfern in power??

      As a Right wing voter I have to hold my nose to vote Liberal in BC......

      so I can only imagine how difficult it would be to be a NDP supporter and actually mark the ballot Conservative.

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    2. How of those Alberta Liberal and NDP voters were just anti-PC voters and not leftists?

      Looks like quite a few...

      Retired - People have been suggesting changing the BC Liberals' name given that it's mostly made up of federal Conservatives (though with significant numbers of federal Liberals too). I haven't heard a good name to switch to though.

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    3. Ryan: How about We Are Going to Lose to NDP in 2013 Party?

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  4. but the level of detail about their methodology is commendable (5% response rate on IVR calls, for example)

    Do any other IVR polling firms release this sort of data?

    Would the 5% be normal for the IVR response rate?

    Would 700 robocalls actually result in 3-4 people actually responding/being influenced?

    Maynard of Elections Canada suggested that there were a lot of people that answered the robocalls and didn't complained.

    Any more than 3-4 people actually listening to a robo call.... using the Campaign methodology data as baseline, woulkd be a great result of a robocall.

    It would seem that all 7 people who would have actually engaged in the Robocall lodged complaints.

    How hard it is for pollsters to come up with any significant statistically accurate prediction when you have a 95% rejection rate.

    It only takes a slightly different characteristic of a voting base to skew the results. There is likely some possible reason that a WR supporter is more likely to participate in an IVR call than an NDP or Cons supporter.

    Perhaps the traditional Alberta Cons supporter does not engage in politics (answer the IVR questions) as the assumption is that no matter what the Cons get elected.

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  5. Will the federal March averages be coming soon?

    I'm curious to see the effect of those couple polls that showed the NDP tied or ahead of the government. Particularly, will the increase be sufficient to flip seats in the prairies.

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    1. Soon, but I have to wait a few more days because sometimes polls are reported when they are a week old.

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  6. I'm in Calgary Mountain View and I see an ocean of Liberal red David Swann signs. He's beating the PC candidate (C. Low) 3 to 1 and (10 to 1 in many neighborhoods) - with WR and ND are next to nowhere. If your model says the Libs are shut out of Calgary, then your model is wrong.

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    1. Signs can mean little - the Bloc spent $56,000 or so in the riding won by the NDP's Ruth Ellen Brosseau in the federal election. The NDP put up no signs.

      The model doesn't say the Liberals are shut out of Calgary, it says they could win as many as two seats in the city, but that zero is a more likely outcome.

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    2. Your Bloc example doesn't hold here, as the Liberal's are running a cash-lite/volunteer-heavy campaign. Take a drive along 5 Ave from Parkdale to Hillhurst. These are lawn signs on the real voter's lawns - in fact many of the signs are recycled from 2004 as they say "elect" not "re-elect."

      Do you have anyone on the ground here, or are you working from robo-call surveys and clippings from the Calgary Sun?

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    3. My site relies upon, as it always has, polling data. I'm sorry that the numbers don't line up with your personal assessment of things.

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    4. If both parties are spending to the limit and canvassing, the number of signs does give you an idea of how friendly a response they're getting from canvassing. At the very least that means there are a lot of enthusiastic Liberal supporters in the riding.

      Of course that doesn't gauge support accurately if that party's support drops suddenly after the canvassing takes place, or if not all parties are spending equally (both of which were in play for Mme. Brosseau). Still, I don't think either of those factors are at play here.

      CrescentHeightsGuy - Models have error. That's inherent to the process of modelling. The fact that Eric's model shows Calgary Mountain View as a possible Liberal win is actually a positive, not a negative. Even if it didn't, how exactly would you accommodate that kind of information into an empirical model? Drive around Alberta and count all the signs?

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    5. This is a real problem because polls do become prescriptive rather than descriptive. People see enough crummy polls and they stay at home, or vote strategically based on what they see on their computer screens rather than what’s happening on their block. You are rumouring local campaigns into oblivion.

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    6. CrescentHeightsGuy:

      Provincially the Alberta Liberals are polling roughly half their 2008 vote. All things being equal that would place a usually safe Liberal riding such as Mountain View up for grabs.

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    7. Signs mean absolutely nothing. It just means enthusiasm, which can be an inch wide and a mile deep.

      South Carolina was filled with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum signs, but look who won the state and how those two did. I have the only sign in my neighborhood, that doesnt mean my candidate will win my neighborhood. Heck, until recently it didnt even mean I would vote!

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  7. If these numbers hold, I can see a lot of left-wing people voting PC to keep WR out. I would.

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    1. I'm a hardcore NDP supporter... and I am seriously considering this. Makes me cry inside though :(

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  8. I'm a Wildrose supporter and hardly see any signs for Richard Jones in my area - just on my lawn. Run a better campaign guys!

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  9. Commander Data02 April, 2012 13:39

    I am not convinced that Liberal or NDP "leftist" Alberta voters are actually truly leftist. Many of them voted for the Liberals in previous elections because it was the only viable alternative. I know of three people at my work (in Calgary) that voted for the Liberals last election who are seriously leaning Wildrose (this may help explain the polls). Traditional left-right split in Alberta may not apply, especially when you look at strategic voting.

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    1. The traditional left-right split has never applied. Its a distracting fabrication that was outdated in 1790.

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    2. Some Wildrose supporters just want the PC's out because of corruption and incompetence. It's not even ideological.

      I know Liberals that are now Wildrose supporters.
      (Shocking to my princpled sensibilities, but true.

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  10. Surely the Liberals at least are close to their floor now, though? Considering that pre-WR, they were in the mid-20s, much of that 14% would have to be the die-hards who'd pretty much never switch. As for the NDP, it's always been a third party, so if its supporters were into tactical voting, then they'd have gone Liberal in '08 and before to try and get the PCs out. And then, if the Left went PC en masse, then it might push more people over to WR.

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    1. In Alberta, I don't think the Liberals have a floor.

      I live in BC now, and once when asked by a phone pollster whether I would consider voting for Christy Clark (I live in her riding) I responded, "I'm Albertan. Voting Liberal is treason."

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    2. We really need to change our damned name. Sigh.

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    3. The NDP have absolutely not "always been a third party." The Liberals have only been a force in the province since the 90s (since their route way back in the 20s or whatever). Before that the NDP was Opposition, and before that SoCred. Before 1989 you have to go all the way to the 60s to even find a Liberal seat in the legislature.

      Considering we're used to 40+ year political dynasties in this province that isn't exactly a long time ago, and certainly not worth of "always".

      There's a certain element of 1984 in the way political history is portrayed in Alberta.

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    4. The Alberta Liberals got 0.89% of the vote in 1940, 1,01% of the vote in 1971 and 1.81% of the vote in 1982.

      I would describe that as the floor.

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  11. This is almost matching my prediction made many a long time ago with WRA-47 PC-34 NDP-4 LIB-2 and the Tory numbers only holding in ridings where the candidate is strong or has a vote-split advantage (ie - Morton, Horner, et al. most of Edmonton, etc.) The Alliance is going to take Calgary by force and split much of the rest. Every Wildrose "star" candidate will win, (ie - Byfield, Anglin, Carpay) and they'll take any rural riding that they were at least remotely competitive in last time around. NDP brings Eggen and Martin back again, Libs lucky to hold on to Blakeman and Swann (who arguably should be New Democrats anyway). Raj Sherman loses to Bob Maskell by a mile. As many center-left voters (of that whopping 30 or so percent that they make up) will go for it and vote for the sake of change as those who will try to prevent their "evil empire" from taking its rightful place in government.

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  12. I fail to see the logic of "leftwing" Albertan voters "strategically" voting for the PCs to keep Wild Rose from government.

    In the first place a hung legislature would give Liberals, NDP, Alberta party members the most influence upon government and policy direction since-well, ever. For once they would be true players.

    Secondly, all "leftwing" parties in Alberta need a politcal realignment from a one party plus system to a two party system if they are to have any hope of one day forming government. A Wild Rose win would benefit the Liberals and NDP if only because juxtaposed against the libertarian WR they provide a natural and easily understood contrast. In short a WR win would provide the best opportunity for political realignment and a two party system.

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  13. Looks like an interesting game on now for the election, Seems more likely there will be a minority government now, with 5 seats or so each for the Liberals and NDP, which might make for interesting agreements after the election.

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    1. Which 5 do the libs get? LOL

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    2. I cant see Liberals really picking up new seats except the leader (who was elected PC) - Just my view but best shots for liberals are West-Central Edmonton.

      Edmonton Centre (long term liberal incumbent- downtown mixed neighbourhood)

      Edmonton Riverview (leans liberal/NDP -former leader riding - affluent riding beside the University)

      Edmonton Goldbar (liberal riding for many years but long term incumbent not seeking reelection - a less affluent DT neighbourhood)

      Edmonton Glenora (a mixed neighbourhood west of DT.. this one is hard to pin down because it has something for every party - has a left wing bend but they will also vote in red tories in)

      Edmonton Meadowlark- the leader of the liberals is an ER doctor and could win here again (this time not as a PC). He gained popularity against his battle with the PC party on healthcare issues and doctor intimidation. It depends on which way Edmontonians go - Last election I think the sense was the election was a foregone conculsion and the city wanted representation in Gov't. We'll see if they vote PC to keep WA out, or vote for their natural leftish (provinically/municipally) ways.

      Calgary- last election they picked up seats in North-Central Calgary (neighbourhoods that actually mostly mirror Edmonton's) but I think it will be tough holds - Calgary Buffalo has the most Liberal history and would be the strongest hold. Calgary Mountainview is alot like Edmonton Glenora and had the leader bump last time but is just as likely to elect red tory.

      In the past liberals have taken an Edmonton bedroom community or two - their only seat outside the 2 major cities was Lethbridge East (the richer and poorer neighbourhoods in Leth - most of middle class is in Leth West)which really had Blue liberals represent them - the incumbent is a popular former city alderman who switched to PC a couple months ago and her competition will be the WA

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    3. Calgary Mountain View will return David Swann. He will hold his 2004/2008 vote meanwhile the second-place PC vote is getting halved by the WR.

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    4. Kent Hehr will will Calgary Buffalo again.

      Not because he's Liberal, but because he's a great MLA.

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    5. just to clarify - Lethbridge isnt a Edmonton bedroom community - but in Southern Alberta

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  14. As someone who supports the NDP wholeheartedly, if I lived in Alberta I could just not bring myself to vote for the PCs... at all. 40 years is way too long already.

    Yes the WRA is pretty much everything the NDP stands against... but I would rather them win, the PCs suffer a massive defeat, and then the WRA going through 4 years of completely incompetent government while the left wing parties reorganize to form a proper opposition... then in 4 years time actually have a chance to be elected.

    The PCs cannot govern anymore... period. If that means the WRA wins, so be it. They'll be exposed for who they are in government, and the right wing in Alberta will be weakened substantially.

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    1. This is exactly my position in BC. I would rather see the NDP elected rather than endure another 4 years of milquetoast Liberals, even though the Liberals offer what I see as better government.

      The problem with this approach in Alberta, though, is that they tend to stick with one party for quite a while, no matter how crazy it is. The early years of Aberhart's Socred government were completely insane (issuing their own currency, having 3 money bills refused royal assent), and yet he won re-election with 63% of the vote.

      Moreover, I think Wildrose represents exactly the sort of government Albertans want. I don't see any meaningful difference between Smith's Wildrose and Klein's Tories.

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  15. I voted Liberal last time and I will vote PC to stop the WR in my riding, I know many people who have said the same thing to me.

    The political system in Alberta needs a realignment anyways. NDPs and Liberals need to fold and form a new party where the name doesn't possess negative memories to many people. That way they'd actually stand a chance outside of a few ridings.

    I'm fairly conident this WR lead won't remain.

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  16. CrescentHeightsGuy - This guy's modelling is based on (mostly) non partisan polling/prev results. Yours is based on lawn signs you see and assumptions in your mind (albeit a common one ... signs=votes). I scrutineered for the NDP in a former provincial election - there were NDP lawn signs on private lawns up and down my street - I was curious to see how many voted NDP at the related poll - answer:1 (me).

    Anecdotally, I'm one of these Leftish Albertans being spoken of - Ive voted strategically and ive voted non strategically depending if Federal/Provincial election and ability to affect the result. I used to live in Edmonton Centre - so was easy to vote lib provincially (lib riding) and federally was confusion in the last 2 elections over who was the stronger strategic choice to unseat conservative Laurie Hawn. Both times I went Liberal but would have rather chose NDP/Green. As it turns out 2nd was NDP in both races.

    Now I live in the innercity NE Calgary riding of Calgary East. I have no clue what i'm going to do or perhaps not even vote for the first time. It will be a 2 horse race between WA/PC here. I dont like any of the 4 candidates to be honest - the best being the PC incumbent, but I can never willingly vote for PC's.. I do want someone to get them out- even if it's the WA - I dont philisophically agree with the yahoos/old corrupt opportunity seeking pc slime that belong to that party but Smith is a social Libertarian and thats a little better than social conservative (and her ranks)? I know Redford is social moderate - but don't like how any of her months as Premier have panned out. This all being said my polling station is 2kms away (for inner city i'm no more than 200 metres from pretty well much anything - talk about disenfranchisement) so while is my duty to vote theres not really any motivation to do so.

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  17. Can you highlight the winner on the riding projections like you used to?

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  18. Danielle Smith is going to press to have the equalization formula changed. Quebec would get a huge cut in their payments until they raise University tuitions, cut the number of doctors and raise day care to the Canadian standard .... which is what the equalization payments are supposed to be about.

    Tuition to McGill for Quebec residents (3,729.18) is about 60% of what tuition is to McMasters (6,278) for Arts and Science.

    Ontario gets 2B in equalization... Quebec 8-9B.

    This time around Ontario will be cheering Alberta on.

    This sort of common sense thinking is what Canada needs. How does a structural have-not province provide better benefits than have provinces?

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    1. Saskatcheweigian03 April, 2012 12:36

      Retired in BC:

      Not to say Danielle Smith and Alberta don't have a point in regard to equalization. However, one of the reasons Quebec can charge low tuition is because they have high taxes. 0-39K=16%, 39-78K=20%, 78k+=24%. By contrast Alberta has a flat 10% income tax and zero consumption taxes. Arguably Alberta's tax rates are too low, they have a dramatic skill shortage that is growing yet high tuition that hinders peoples' ability to get training and employable skills. They also (along with other provinces) follow an economic boom-bust cycle of natural resource prices.

      I would also remind you that Alberta was a have not province until the "60's. The source of Alberta's wealth-oil was originally owned by the federal government. Sub-surface rights were given to Alberta and Saskatchewan during the 1930's because both provinces were bankrupct.

      Alberta is not known for providing generous or particular high quality public services. The inability for residents to get a family doctor being the most high profile example.

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    2. The thing that contributes most to Alberta's labour shortage (and Saskatchewan's labour shortage) is Employment Insurance.

      Why move west to get a job when the government pays you to live in the Atlantic provinces without one?

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    3. Transplanting yourself from one side of this huge country to the other, cutting links with family and friends, is also a tad daunting.

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    4. Saskatcheweigian03 April, 2012 18:35

      Ira,

      People have bbeen leaving the Maritimes since Sir John A. introduced his National Policy disrupting the natural North-South trade routes that existed between the Maritimes and New England.

      Both Saskatchewan and Alberta suffer from skill shortages not simply labour shortages. I doubt one could transplant a resident of an outport in Newfoundland and expect him to be a skilled rig pig without some sort of training.

      An aging population has far more influence on skill or labour shortages than EI. I read a report a few months back that stated some 800,000 jobs in Canada remained unfilled due to lack of skilled workers (I think it was from the Conference Board of Canada but, I may be mistaken).

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  19. So when as 'strategic voting' ever really worked?

    I'm thinking NEVER!!

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    1. It worked just fine in Joe Clark's last campaign, when "Liberals for Joe" swung it.

      And, come to think of it, it worked well enough for the "ATA for Allison" in the PC leadership race.

      And, guess what? It was the same Tories, now close to Allison Redford, who managed both of these.

      Expect to see it again soon.

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  20. Meanwhile today's Auditor General report on the F-35 fiasco is creating a firestorm of bad press for the CPC !!

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  21. The only thing the Wildrose feared was Ted Morton as PC leader during an election.

    Thanks to the Albertas Teachers Union buying PC cards and voting in Redford the Wildrose is very likely to form the government. Now the AFL is telling their members to vote NDP.

    Looks like the backroom dealing has backfired on the PC party. Perfect!

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  22. Does anyone remember any polls forecasting the NDP overwhelming wins in the 2011 federal election? Any polls at that time predicting the Liberal decimation or the BQ routing? I don't put any stock in polls!

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    1. Aside from under-estimating the Conservatives by about two points - the difference between a strong minority and the majority they actually got - all of those things were indeed forecast.

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