Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Detailed breakdown of Alberta federal support

On Friday, the Citizen Society Research Lab of Lethbridge College put out its yearly report on the voting intentions of Albertans. While the results are hardly surprising, they do give us the opportunity to look more closely at how support is divided throughout the province.
The poll by Lethbridge College is about a month old, despite it having been released only a few days ago. Lethbridge reports on a yearly basis, and compared with October 2011's results the Conservatives picked up 1.5 points to reach 59.2% support in the province. That puts them well ahead of the other parties.

The New Democrats slipped 5.6 points to 15.4% and the Liberals were down 0.8 points to 11.9%. The Greens were up 1.6 points to 7.5%.

Another 6% of Albertans, a gain of 3.3 points, said they would vote for another party. This is unfortunately high, and on first glance it appears to be the result of respondents saying they would vote for Wildrose. I say this because the best result for the other parties was in southern Alberta (11.7%), where Wildrose has its strongest concentration of support. If most of this "other" support is indeed for Wildrose, we can probably safely assume that those votes would go to the Conservative Party.

But I think pollsters should do a better job of weeding out these sorts of results, especially when they are using live callers (as Lethbridge did). A respondent who says they will vote for Wildrose is simply mistaken - they cannot vote for Wildrose in a federal election. I wrote about the odd results you can get from respondents back in 2010 when it comes to "the Others", and it just seems like a waste to even include them.

Back to the poll: Edmonton is the closest thing Alberta has to a battleground, and the poll suggests that the Conservatives had 52.8% support in the city. That puts them well ahead of the New Democrats, who registered 23.4%. The Liberals were third with 14.5%. This score for the NDP is not good enough to give them more than their one seat of Edmonton-Strathcona, so the Conservatives would likely win all but one of the seats in the province once again with these results.

The Liberals placed second in Calgary with 12.5% support, well behind the Tories' 67%. The New Democrats were third with 9.7%.

In northern Alberta, the Conservatives led with 60.4% while the NDP dropped 8.3 points over the last 12 months to 14.5%. The Liberals were third with 11.3%. In southern Alberta, the Tories led with 54.7% while the NDP was down 7.5 points to 14.5%. Excluding the high "others" result, the Greens placed third with 11.2% support.

Alberta remains the region of Canada most resistant to political change. The New Democrats could make big inroads in the next election in British Columbia, the Prairies, and Atlantic Canada, Ontario remains in flux among all three parties, and the Liberals are shaking things up in Quebec. Meanwhile, Alberta has hardly budged and the only real question at this stage is whether the New Democrats can manage to win a second seat in the province. Nothing lasts forever, though, and it is interesting to think about what it will take to finally move the dial a little.


  1. I must admit it's pretty boring from a political enthusiast's perspective how Alberta remains so hopelessly uncompetitive. In contrast, Forum just released a new Canada-wide poll that, like Nanos earlier this month, shows a spread of only 5 points between the 1st and 3rd place parties. Now that's exciting!


    1. Charles Harrison30 October, 2012 17:48

      Whoa! I thought the NDP was dead! That poll puts them in the lead!

  2. Charles Harrison30 October, 2012 17:46

    Why didn't they add a Trudeau-led poll to the list, too?

    It may finally make the Alberta race more interesting!

    1. Charles, Don't think the name Trudeau and Alberta mix very well

  3. I have a question and keep in mind I am not trying be divisive, it is a legitimate question.

    Is nobody in Alberta afraid of corruption?

    I mean the longer a party is governing the more likely corruption might occur. I agree it may not, but nevertheless, there is a possibility.

    Now I realize this is a federal poll, but even provincially, how can a province continue to support only one party. I mean for 40 years? To me that just raises red flags for the issue of democracy. Sometimes it takes a change in government to see the corruption or other scandals. If there is no change can it all come out as it should?

    That being said, how can Albertans continue to elect members of the same party over and over and not doubt their MPs?

    Also a legitimate question:

    How many people's voices are not being heard? Last election in many ridings only half of people voted, some even less. How do we know their sentiment? Do they feel overwhelmingly left out of the democratic establishment/process? Do they feel it pointless to vote?

    Regardless of opinions, this study is an interesting one and I thank you for posting the information Eric! It makes us all step back and think about our right to vote.


    1. well, interestingly, although Quebec is often nailed for having a particularly corrupt political culture, there's an argument (with at least some legitimacy) that corruption is highlighted here (Qc) simply because it comes to light and is prosecuted, while it remains hidden and underground in the other provinces... As someone raised in Alberta, I was always convinced there was more crap going between business and government than was ever acknowledged (we are, after all, talking about the oil business, not known for shying away from grisly policies in such places as Nigeria, et al).

    2. Corruption, influence peddling, nepotism, favouritism etc... are rarely talked about in Alberta. Partly, I think this is due to the "transient" aspect of the population. Many people if not an outright majority are from overseas or out of province this leads to the perception that "it is not my problem since, I'm not an Albertan".

      The second factor is Alberta's books are always pretty robust (although many arguments can be made as to the effectiveness and efficacy of fiscal and budgetary policy); if it ain't broke don't fix it and many if not most Albertans think nothing is broken.

    3. While 41 years is quite a long time, the PC's predecessors ruled for 36 years. So long dynasties aren't a new thing there.

      Albera has changed governments three times ever.

  4. I think a poll including Trudeau-led Liberals would also be a disappointment: I'm willing to bet he'll actually drag the party's already dismal prospects down even further here. Both names remain toxic and will until the NEP has faded from memory (if it ever does).

  5. Trudeau gets 21% in Alberta in Forum's latest 'what-if' poll.

  6. Alberta is a solid Conservative province, but there is always potential for the opposition.

    The biggest problem is the anti-Conservative vote is split three ways between NDP, Liberal and Green. The split is more noticeable in Alberta, than any other province. Even if the Conservatives drop 20 points, they will still sweep most of the province.

    If they opposition want to go anywhere they need to start microtargetting voters like the Conservatives did successfully in the Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver areas. The opposition need to tout star candidates and have more presence in the province.

    Lastly, the NDP and Liberals should have an agreement in Alberta to concede a few seats to each other. The worst case scenario is that it would be just an experiment. It's better to try a risky electoral alliance in Alberta than another province where are you poised to gain seats.

  7. "it is interesting to think about what it will take to finally move the dial a little."

    Same as last time: a Western party, rallying against the decadent conservative incumbents.

  8. The issue of voter turnout is a good one. I feel it would honestly take the oil industry in Alberta to totally tank or for an incredible oil-related environmental disaster to actually hurt Conservative numbers in this province.

    Federal election turnout here is very low because it's so uncompetitive. A lot of people who would normally vote Conservative don't bother because they know they'll win, and a lot of people who would normally vote something else don't because of the same reason.

    Look at the provincial election this year, the highest turnout in 20 years. Why? Because the race was actually competitiv, the closest thing to competitive that this province has seen in a generation.

    1. and, sadly, it was merely a competition between two factions of the same pro-business party

    2. All of $430,000 donation to Alberta PCs now linked to Katz associates

      Today's Globe & Mail


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