Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Momentum with Notley's NDP in Alberta

The numbers continue to amaze, as a new poll this morning puts Wildrose and the New Democrats neck-and-neck in Alberta's provincial election campaign. The governing Progressive Conservatives, gunning for their 13th consecutive electoral victory stretching back to the Nixon administration, have dropped out of the three-way race.

The projection still gives Wildrose the lead with 31% support, or between 29% and 33%. The New Democrats overlap a fair bit, with between 26% and 31% support (or 29% more precisely). The PCs are in third with between 24% and 28% (or 25%), while the Liberals trail at length with 10% to 12% support.

Wildrose also has the edge in seats, and is projected to take 35. The PCs come up second by a hair with 24, while the NDP takes 23. 

But the ranges tell a more nuanced story. While Wildrose is comfortably ahead with between 27 and 44 seats, the NDP is more solidly placed to form the Official Opposition with 18 to 34 seats (and they could even conceivably win a plurality). The PC range tops out at 33, similar to the NDP, but bottoms out at just nine.

The Liberals stand at four seats and a range of four to nine, though that is likely to change this weekend once the official candidate list is out. The model currently assumes every party is running a full slate. The numbers will be adjusted once it is known exactly where each of the parties will have a candidate running.

Note that the projection now gives the other parties a range of zero to one seat, and 5% support. That seat belongs to the Alberta Party.

I'd also like to address the polls being done by 1ABVote (or 1Question, as they appear on Wikipedia), since I have received a lot of inquiries about them. I've spoken with Brian Singh, the man behind the polls, in the past, and I don't doubt that his polls are genuine. But this site does not and never has included polls commissioned by interest groups or political parties. As 1ABVote is an organization that is trying to unite progressives in Alberta, it does not qualify for inclusion in the aggregate. 

But let's get to the poll that was added to the aggregate this morning. It was done by Mainstreet Technologies and published by the Calgary Herald.

Mainstreet was last in the field on April 7. It recorded no change for Wildrose since then, as the party remained in first with 31% support.

The NDP picked up four points and was second with 30%, while the PCs were down three points to 24%.

The Liberals were down two points to 10%, and the Alberta Party was up two points to 5%. The number of undecideds ticked down by a point to 23%.

Turnout is unlikely to boost the Tories, as Mainstreet finds only Wildrose gets a boost among those who say they are certain to vote. The party is bumped up to 35% among these Albertans, with the NDP dropping to 29% and the PCs holding at 24%.

The poll showed the Tories have weakness not only in voting intentions but on the issues, as they led in none of the categories investigated by Mainstreet.

Wildrose led on the issues of taxes and healthcare, while the NDP was ahead on the environment. The two parties were nearly tied on education, and the only three-way race was on job creation. That the PCs could not poll better than Wildrose or do much better than the NDP on this issue is particularly problematic for them.

At the regional level, the race is closest in Calgary. Wildrose was narrowly ahead with 29%, while the Tories were down six points to 27% in the city. The NDP was up to 25%, the Liberals to 13%.

The New Democrats dominated in Edmonton with 51%, followed at a distance by the Tories at 21%, the Liberals at 13%, and Wildrose at 10%. There were only marginal changes since April 7.

Wildrose held a wide lead in the rest of Alberta with 39%, with the NDP gaining six points to surge into second place at 26%. The Tories were down to 23%, while the Liberals were down six points to just 7%.

These polls still boggle the mind, but it is hard to deny that they are pointing to something very real in Alberta. The real question is whether it will endure until May 5, of course. It would also be useful to have a few more polls from more established outfits to help confirm the trend.