Monday, November 12, 2012

Alberta Tories still in control

A few days before this weekend's annual general meeting of the Progressive Conservatives in Alberta, Environics released the details of their latest survey of provincial voting intentions. They show that the Progressive Conservatives remain comfortably in the lead, and have made inroads in rural Alberta.
Environics was last in the field Aug. 10-22 and since then the PCs picked up two points, leading with 45% support. Wildrose was up three points to 29%, while the Liberals at 13% and the New Democrats at 12% each lost one point.

None of these shifts in support were outside of the margin of error of this telephone poll. Environics' report on the poll is compact, but thankfully includes the unweighted and weighted samples of their survey.

Alison Redford's Tories led in both Edmonton and Calgary with 43% and 45% respectively, putting them ahead of Wildrose (23% and 25%). The Liberals did better in Calgary than they did in Edmonton, with 20% to 14% support, while the opposite was the case for the New Democrats (19% to 9%). All in all, this is generally what we've seen in Alberta for some time.

The Progressive Conservatives also led in Alberta's small cities with 49%, while Wildrose picked-up nine points to hit 31%. The New Democrats trailed with 13%, while the Liberals were down 12 points to 6% in the province's smaller urban centres (where they hold no seats).

In the rural parts of the province, the Tories were up 10 points to 47%, putting them ahead of Wildrose. Danielle Smith's party fell to 43%. The NDP managed 6% support and the Liberals were down five points to 4%.

As this poll was taken during the month of October, any of the fallout from recent controversy over MLA compensation or the decisions made at the annual general meeting concerning the party's links with the federal Conservatives was not recorded. It is unclear whether any of this will have any effect - the Tories have been comfortably leading in every poll since the last election and, so far, do not seem in danger of losing many of the centrist supporters they attracted in April back to the Liberals.

Wildrose, meanwhile, has a lot of ground to make up. They've lost about 10 points in Calgary and, whereas they were neck-and-neck with the Tories in the last election outside of the two main cities, this poll puts them about 10 points behind. There is no reason for Wildrose to hit the panic button just yet, however, as the next election is scheduled for 2016.

37 comments:

  1. Hard to believe so many people can be so mis-guided.

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    1. Yeah, can't believe so many people still support Alberta's Tea Party, the Wildrose.

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  2. While I believe the federal NDP and Liberals should not merge into one party, I think the Alberta NDP and Liberals can benefit from a merger.

    Federally, the NDP and Liberals have a unique and entrenched history and political culture. Both parties are very competitive right now with average polling showing 31% for the NDP and 27% of the Liberals, as opposed to 32% for the Tories. There is no need for a merger with those numbers, although co-operation after an election is necessary.

    On the other hand, the Alberta NDP and Liberals struggle to get past 15% of the support each. Together they should be able to allocate their resources and become a stronger left-of-PC party. With strong organization this would be able to work.

    On the other hand, both parties don't have much to lose. The Liberals lost half of their support once Redford became PC leader. As long as the WildRose is present in Alberta politics, the PCs will continue to gravitate towards the centre of the spectrum.

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    1. A merger is unlikely to change the underlying dynamics of Alberta politics. Last election we saw half the Liberal vote go PC- these people are unlikely to switch to a merged NDP-Liberals. Going by the numbers in this poll a merged entity could not expect much more than 20% of the vote . This is only marginally better than each achieved separately.

      In the past the Liberal party has performed significantly better most recently under Lawrence Decore. Politics in Alberta are rightwing by nature so in my opinion it would make little sense for the Liberal party to move leftward. The winning coalition is on the centre-right or right.

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    2. I think a "Liberal Democrat" party can find appeal in Alberta.

      Demographics have changed in that province. The main reason the federal Liberals and NDP lack appeal in that province is because they don't bother being competitive in the province (except for core regions of Edmonton).

      Mulcair benefits politically in other parts of the country by running against Alberta interests. This could be compared to Harper benefitting from running against Quebec interest.

      A united left-of-centre party in Alberta will understand the pulse of the province. Hypothetically, it will be a pro-industry party, but will focus more on education, health, social justice and tame environmental regulations.

      The PCs will eventually run out of steam, and it is tough to see the Wildrose as the only alternative.

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    3. This reminds me of a lot of local council governments in southern England. A lot of Tory control, the LibDems as the official opposition but nowhere near enough in numbers and influence to form government. If this happens in Alberta, even though the LibDems won't form government, at least they could bring more progressive politics to the legislative assembly.

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    4. Frankly, the right wing nature of Alberta politics is changing. Redford and Carter show a prefered shift to the center, something that makes Alberta ripe for the picking for the federal Liberals.

      Guy Smiley

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    5. Anon: 22:38:

      The reason the NDP and Liberals lack appeal in Alberta is not because they "don't bother being competitive"-they are not competitive because they don't appeal to Albertans! If those parties have little interest competing why do they do so? It would be far better for both to re-organise into lobby groups. They could keep their charitable status while incurring far less expense.

      Deomgraphics are shifting and the PCs will eventually lose steam but, I have not yet seen evidence to suggest the "left" even if they were to coalesce around a single party, enjoy support necessary to form government. Instead, the evidence is fairly conclusive that the median voter in Alberta is lodged somewhere between the PCs and Wildrose.

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    6. I'd say the median voter lodged pretty firmly right in the middle of the Alberta Tories. In first past the post though. You don't necessarily need to win over the median Albertan to form government.

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    7. Kensingtonian, there is a left in Alberta, it's just very small. You can't make a statement on behalf of all Albertans that the left doesn't appeal to them because not all Albertans are right wing. Some Albertans are left wing as well. The NDP won 4 seats in Edmonton, the Liberals won 2 seats in Edmonton and 3 seats in Calgary. This is ample evidence of the left in Alberta. Perhaps you should get out and see the real world before making such incorrect statements.

      Ryan, in the first past the post system, it's far easier to form government by winning the median voter than not.

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    8. Anon: 22:45:

      Since, you have not provided a pseudonym I must assume you are the same as Anon: 22:38.

      In the previous post you stated the Alberta left lacks appeal "because they don't bother being competitive in the province". I retort, they are not competitive because they don't appeal to Albertans. You have taken the statement too literally instead of critically thinking on the meaning.

      A reasonable person would not conclude my statement had the intended suggestion that all Albertans are "rightwingers" or the "leftwing" does not enjoy the support of a single Albertan. Reasonable people are able to comprehend and interpret generalisations! "Perhaps you should get out and see the real world before making such incorrect statements (sic)".

      The ability to win 9 seats in very specific areas-one tenth of the total membership of the Legislative Assembly, is not conclusive proof that either the Liberals, NDP or another left wing entity is able to mobilise the support necessary to win government. In any case it is debatable whether the Liberal party is on the left side of the political spectrum.

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  3. The pc are now the left wing party of alberta as we slip backwards into debt.

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    1. I think this is a myth that left-wing parties are more likely to cause government debt. A government in any part of the political spectrum can make poor economic choices resulting in government debt.

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    2. Actually, it is right wing parties that create more debt. Look at the Wildrose Party's policies, their method of balancing the budget while lowering taxes doesn't add up. They will no doubt have to increase user fees of services in the province, or worse, take more money from the Heritage Fund until there's nothing left.

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    3. The Wildrose platform included massive spending cuts, just like Ralph's balanced budgets of the mid-1990s. That's how the math works.

      We've seen governments balance budgets before. Ralph did it. Roy Romanow did it. Mike Harris did it. Chrétien/Martin did it. They all make drastic cuts to government spending. That's how to balance a budget.

      Any government that says they can balance a budget without cutting spending (Redford, Harper, Obama) is lying to you.

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    4. Then you get to the point where you're left with nothing else to cut, your economy is still in the tank because your populace no longer has the social programs or government jobs they depended on, and your left with eternal deficit and little to no growth.
      Well then again, we can always cut business taxes, thats bound to help the middle and low income earners.
      -Taylor

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    5. There's a long way to go before there's nothing left to cut.

      Most governments should start by eliminating direct subsidies to businesses. That's billions right there.

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    6. There are limits to the amount of business tax that you can cut as well. If you cut too much business taxes, then corporations will obviously accumulate more money, and often will sit on top of this money without letting it circulate and stimulate the economy, rendering the money dead and stalling the economy.

      And I disagree with Ira's opinion that balancing the budget without cutting spending won't work. It is a good strategy that has proven to work. If the population is increasing, then the amount of tax revenue that you'll get over the yeasrs will also increase. Added on top of it, Alberta has two "rainy day" heritage and sustainability funds. If you keep the spending constant (no increases) or slightly lower, while you receive more revenue from these two sources, Alberta will easily achieve balanced budgets in the near future. So Redford and to a lesser extent, Obama, isn't lying. This is how the math works. Balancing the budget isn't a one-way road with just massive cuts, it has to be matched with both revenue and a spending ceiling.

      Another example of this is the Chretien/Martin government. Yes, they did make drastic cuts a few years into their mandate, but they actually increased spending in the couple of years before a surplus was even met. This is drastically different from Harris, who did cuts all the way and created a lot of problems in society.

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    7. Anon is right, these fake Alberta so-called 'fiscal-conservatives' don't understand a thing about the economy. Just wait until Alberta runs out of oil, then we'll see them beg in front of our knees!!

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  4. People seem to believe you can merge the Liberals and NDP like stacking blocks on top of each other. 1/3 to 1/2 of Liberals would go to the Tories if the Liberals and NDP merged.

    In Alberta the Blue Lite Grits have already left although they may just be "on loan".

    Doug

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    1. I believe they are just parking at the PC camp for now until the progressive movement gains some more steam. Whether that happens in 10, 20, or 100 years, nobody knows.

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    2. Anon 22:29, the same was true when the Reform-Conservative Alliance merged with the federal PCs. In 2000 their combined vote percentage equals 38%, after they merged, the CPC got 30% in the 2004 election. Suppose all the Reform support has being held, then of the remaining 12% that the PCs got in 2000, 8% of that left for other parties.

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  5. What would be the seat projection with these numbers?

    Mike

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  6. I just looked at the weights and the methods environics uses. I'm pleased to see they use the 'next birth date method'.

    It looks like they only weighted based upon area? Would they therefore use some other method to ensure accurate gender and age splits? or would those be ignored in the results?

    ap

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    1. Environics also weighs by age and gender, it just wasn't mentioned in the report.

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  7. Just wondering, why is there no seat projection?

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    1. I haven't updated the model yet.

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  8. The Wildrose are also going through a lot of infighting. Don't expect Danielle Smith to survive the next convention. The party's sudden rise really only did them worse, and it was never really an organized party to begin with, now
    They are destined to be a lose coalition in opposition.
    -Taylor

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    1. Danielle is that whole party. Removing her would be idiotic. She's the only reason they're not entirely a bunch of myopic rural social conservatives.

      Without Danielle, liberatarians would abandon that party in droves.

      In the last election, Wildrose was an awkward coalition of fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, libertarians, and populists, none of whome are likely to find a welcoming home in Redford's Tories. But if Wildrose thinks the way to fix the party is to eject the libertarians, they're insane. Quite frankly, it was the social conservatives that lost them that election. It's the social conservatives who should be left behind.

      If Wildrose insists on being a social conservative rump, watch the fiscal conservatives, libertarians, and populists find their way into the Green Party, and watch the Green Party become a legitimate threat.

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    2. I agree 100%, Danielle is a very capable leader and frankly, she has already proven her value by vaulting them to official opposition status. There is a silent majority of Alberta's who agree with a libertarian platform, the social conservatives that are rooted within the party ranks need to recognize this.
      -Taylor

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    3. Couldn't agree more with Ira. Without Smith the Wildrose is back to square one.

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    4. Fiscal conservatives, into the Green Party? What a joke! Most Greens are opposed to fiscal conservatives! Fiscal conservatives has cut environmental regulations and initiated projects that harm the environment! The Greens are very opposed to that! Don't expect fiscal tories to even get their Green party membership cards.

      And Danielle Smith is a completely incomptent leader. The reason Wildrose is the official opposition is because they were able to draw in the support of hardline PCers. Their libertarian support is practically nil, added to the fact that only a tiny minority of Albertans agree to the libertarian agenda. It is the libertarians which threatens to divide Wildrose, along with the populists, they have no sound policy. What the Wildrose needs to do now is to make some solid policies, listen to actual Conservatives, and create a brand, instead of flip-flopping between libertarians and populists. Danielle Smith simply has no substance at all as a libertarian. If this keeps happening, they will be like the old Social Credits who abandoned their line and never came back after the PCs ended their reign.

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    5. It's also very dangerous if a whole party revolves around a leader. Because once that leader steps down, as Smith eventually will, then the whole party is doomed. Wildrose certainly needs some sound and non-conflicting policies to define them instead of having Danielle Smith define them. They should learn the lesson from the Social Credits, once Ernest Manning stepped down, the whole party also stepped down.

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    6. Yes!! Keep up the infighting, Wildrose!! May you be gone from the legislature and never come back!!!

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    7. Anon,

      The former leader of the Greens was previously a Tory. In fact Green principles and fiscal conservative principles are very similar. For example both embrace the idea of sustainability; fiscal conservatives believe government should not spend more than it takes in, while Greens believes we should access renewable resources.

      Alberta has a large libertarian population, today a good portion thereof support Wildrose. Wildrose supports such ideas as property rights a long held libertarian belief. So to say libertarian support for Wildrose is "nil" I can only assume is "spin".

      Tycho

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  9. Just curious, what cities are considered the small cities?

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  10. The Wildrose Party really needs to call themselves The Alberta Republican Party!!! They are all Hard core Republicans!!!

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