Friday, May 1, 2015

An NDP majority in Alberta?

Yesterday was poll day in Alberta. First Return on Insight and Léger reported in the morning, then ThinkHQ surprised everyone with some new numbers. EKOS put their poll out in the early afternoon, and finally Ipsos Reid weighed in. Add this morning's Mainstreet poll, and we've seen six surveys in the last 24 hours.

While that would normally be unusual enough, as each poll landed the skepticism people had that the New Democrats were leading in Alberta was chipped away. Of those six polls, not a single one gave the NDP less than 37% support, and only one put the gap between the New Democrats and the second place party in single digits. The others showed a lead for the NDP of between 11 and 19 points. In Alberta.

The projection has now lurched from a largely minority situation between either the NDP or Wildrose to a likely majority victory for the New Democrats. The party leads with a projected 42% of the vote, enough to win them between 43 and 58 seats. Their minimum seat haul is projected to be 25 seats - which would count as a historic best.

Wildrose is narrowly in second with 26% and between 16 and 28 seats, while the Progressive Conservatives stand at 25% and between five and 23 seats.

The Liberals, with two to three seats and 5% of the vote, bring up the rear.

Yes, these are shocking numbers. But a few things should be kept in mind.

First, a lot of the seats the NDP needs to win to get to majority status are marginal. Seven of the 52 seats projected to go to the NDP are projected with less than 60% confidence - a toss-up. We cannot discount the importance of incumbency, and the potential for a snap-back as Albertans consider the prospects of an NDP majority (they could, of course, also like the idea).

Second, the NDP is projected to take slightly more than the average of the most recent six polls because of the projected over-estimation of the Liberal vote (as well as for the Alberta Party). This is due to the number of candidates these parties are fielding. The polls are averaging 7.6% support for the Liberals, which the projection reduces to 4.7%. They are averaging 4.7% for the other parties, including the Alberta Party, which the projection reduces to 2.7%.

As the New Democrats are topping the polls, and those extra votes are distributed proportionally, they get the lion's share. But the polls back this up. The second choice preference for Liberals and supporters of the Alberta Party is the NDP by a wide margin.

We'll see what the weekend and Monday has in store for final polls. It will be very interesting to see if these trends continue, or if they shift. If they do not shift, the NDP could still have problems overcoming their incumbency disadvantage and a lack of a ground game outside Edmonton and a handful of other ridings. However, the NDP didn't have any trouble with that in Quebec in 2011. Is this a wave election?

The tide is definitely shifting in the four polls released since yesterday morning.

Only Mainstreet was a returnee to the field, and showed a remarkable swing to the New Democrats. From 31% in the immediate aftermath of the debate, the NDP jumped to 44%. Wildrose fell six points to 26%, while the Tories were down five points to 21%.

Overall, the polls were very consistent. The NDP was between 37% and 42% in the three polls done over several days between April 25 and April 29. Three of the four polls had Wildrose at either 26% to 27%, while the PCs were in a tight range of between 20% and 24%.

That is a great deal of agreement for such an oddball election. We also have different methodologies at play here, with EKOS and Mainstreet using IVR and ThinkHQ and Ipsos Reid using both live-callers and the internet. Return on Insight used just live-callers, while Léger used their online panel.

And when we take into account the margins of error (assuming a probabilistic sample for argument's sake), we see there is even more agreement.

With the exception of the Mainstreet poll, which is the newest, a range of between 38% and 41% fits within the margin of error of all of the polls. They all top out at 41% or higher.

There is less agreement for Wildrose and the PCs, but the numbers are nevertheless consistent: mid-20s for Wildrose, low-to-mid-20s for the Tories.

The polls also saw eye-to-eye at the regional level, capturing some startling results.

The New Democrats, of course, led in every poll in Edmonton, with the PCs running second and Wildrose third. Looking at all six, the NDP ranged between 53% and 73%, the Tories between 16% and 22%, and Wildrose between 7% and 17%.

Most surprising is Calgary, though. I have read a great deal of skepticism surrounding the NDP's chances in the city, but the polls really can't back that up. The NDP finished in first place in the city in four of the six polls, and in second in the remaining two. They ranged between 25% and 35% (only one poll had them lower than 29%), compared to 23% to 33% for the Tories and 24% to 28% for Wildrose.

The New Democrats also led in four of the six polls in the rest of Alberta, with the PCs finishing third in five of the six. The NDP ranged between 32% and 39%, Wildrose between 28% and 33%, and the PCs between 22% and 35% (and only one poll had the PCs higher than 23%, which is disastrous for the party).

ThinkHQ, which had a more detailed breakdown for the area outside of Calgary and Edmonton, put the NDP ahead in northern Alberta, Wildrose ahead in central Alberta, and the two parties neck-and-neck in southern Alberta. The PCs weren't competitive anywhere.

Despite all of this, Ipsos found that 50% of Albertans still think the Tories will win, with just 21% thinking the NDP will win. Mainstreet, slightly newer, found it more of a split: 32% thinking the PCs will win and 29% giving the nod to the NDP. It would be interesting to see how that might change in the coming days.

And what effect might it have? It could be exaggerated. ThinkHQ found more Albertans concerned about a PC victory than either a Wildrose or NDP win.

By the election, there will have been five full days of campaigning between the most recent poll and the vote. That makes for a lot of time for opinion to shift. It shifted in that amount of time in 2012, so hopefully we won't be left in the dark again. Because something is happening in Alberta - and missing a whole week of it could be a big mistake for the pollsters.

102 comments:

  1. We need a poll of Albertans from after the 30th, when all the polls showing a NDP win were dumped. Polls can have an impact on voters. We need to see if Albertans react with fear to an NDP win, or whether such a prospect increases the NDP appeal still further.

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    1. It's a fair point, but all the polls in this election have been trending this way, so I can't imagine yesterday's offerings will alter the picture.

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    2. In 2005 the BC NDP support ebbed and flowed based on how close they were to the Liberals, the public was OK with a decent sized NDP opposition but if it looked like the NDP could possibly win their numbers shifted down.

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    3. Exactly what I w as going to say.

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    4. Yet that is clearly not what's happening now in Alberta. The more that Prentice and Jean and their supporters and backers try to inflame panic at the prospect of an NDP win, the more the NDP goes up in the polls. Albertans are angry and disgusted with the PCs, and they don't see the Wildrose as a viable alternative, so that leaves the NDP.

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  2. I do not know how many Albertans lived in Ontario previously, but this is really looking and feeling like the 1990 Ontario election. Time will tell if Alberta is as happy with their NDP goverment as Ontario was with theirs.

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    1. Not really. In Ontario, the Petersen government was really popular and it was quite a shock that they lost. Here in Alberta, the PCs are generally considered to be corrupt, so it's more like the situation in Saskatchewan where Grant Devine's PCs turned the province into a kleptocracy and left the public hanging with 14Bn in debt and an 800Mn deficit every year.

      Will Rachel Notley be like Romanow? She won't have to cut to the bone to even save her province from bankruptcy like Romanow had to, so probably not. She'll be normal, govern normally, and the province won't implode or explode.

      And the myth about other parties being capable of running the province will be forever busted.

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    2. Ahh yes the old story about Ontario and the NDP government that no one one liked.

      I'm sorry but that story is a big load of ****, compared to the the Harris government and the Liberals, Bob Rae and the NDP were great and by far the best of the three options.

      It's high time for right-winger and Liberals shills to get off that one and take a long look in the mirror over there own fiscal and social management abilities lest you all be hoisted by you own petard.

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    3. Ontario in 1990 the NDP did well but won a majority with only 37.6% of the vote, not miles ahead of the Liberals. What the NDP benefited from were a whole bunch of perfect splits to win 74 seats

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    4. Well said, Matthew, and exactly right. And many of us Ontarians, while unhappy with aspects of the NDP, sure aren't any happier after 11 years of Harris and McGuinty (and Eves and Wynne).

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    5. I wonder whether Notley would do something as 'radical' as introducing a 'progressive' sales tax? A 5% PST would wipe out most of Alberta's deficit in a hurry.

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    6. The Ontario NDP lost decisively for the same reason that Bush Sr. and the Mulroney Tories did.

      1990-1995 was a very bad time for incumbent governments in Canada and the USA. Socreds lost after 15 years in power in BC (1991), PC nearly lost after 22 years in power in AB, PC lost in a landslide to the NDP in SK (1991), Ontario went from Liberal to NDP to PC in decisive fashion (1990 and 1995), Quebec went from two Liberal landslides to a decisive PQ victory (1994), Liberals crush incumbent Tories in NS (1993), the Liberals escaped in NB because they had ousted a tired, scandalized PC government in 1987 (winning all of the province's seats) and the NDP has never been relevant there, NL saw the Tories swept out of power in 1989 but since this is NL they were never threatened for at least a decade, PEI Liberals escaped because 1989 and 1993 weren't exactly Tory years.

      So I fudged the Atlantic Provinces a bit, but my thesis still stands: The Ontario NDP was in power for just about the worst period for any government of any stripe to be in power.

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    7. Fears of the NDP? Just remember Doer and Romanow to feel you are wrong.

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    8. I am not a Dipper, but I am often confused at people dismissing NDP governments in general because of what happened in Ontario.

      If we are to dismiss governments in that context then no brand party can actually be trusted to govern.

      All governments have good and bad. Whether they are NDP, PC, Liberal or any other stripe.

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    9. CommieCowboy
      I think your analysis is absolutely correct. I think the NDP did a pretty good job actually, but for three things: they misjudged the hostility of Bay St to anything on the left and wasted time, money and moral authority trying to please them; they were too doctrinaire in applying Keynesian principles during the deep recession of the early 90s, whilst seemingly unaware that every other jurisdiction was promoting austerity--thus deepening the debt without measurable benefit; and they misjudged the ignorance, apathy and fickleness of their own supporters, who (almost shockingly) voted for Mike Harris in 1995, despite his pledge to screw them all. Which he promptly did. Rae Days and the Social Contract legislation turned out to be too advanced, too logical and too compassionate for folks to understand. So I blame Rae for not recognizing these things, but I also think he is the statesman of the last generation we never got to see leading. It saddens me to think that he had to make way for Ignatieff, when he's 100 times the politician.

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    10. Rae's government was bad inasmuch as it discarded the policies and values of the NDP and governed like the parties they were elected to be an alternative to.

      It's also worth recalling that when the Ontario NDP came to power, then-Prime Minister Mulroney was in Asia on a trade mission and actually telling people there NOT to invest in "socialist" Ontario. Some folks would see that as somewhat treasonous behaviour.

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    11. I'll concede the Rae's Government was in power at perhaps the worst moment for any government to be in power. As CommieCowboy demonstrates the early '90's were a bad time for incumbents. Rae in 1995 lost for the same reason Dix didn't win in BC and Ignatiev was such a failure, they are wishy-washy for lack of a better term. The Province needed to cut back and Rae Days were simply an ineffective way of reducing the deficit. If Rae had shown leadership and made tough decisions whether of a socialist or fiscal conservative nature he may have won re-election, instead he left people feeling as if the Province was chasing its own tail and running around in circles.

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    12. I lived through the Rae election (and defeat) and I can see some parallels here - rising out of third place past an ineffective 2nd place contender, displacing an incumbent govt perceived as corrupt (remember Patti Starr?), taking power during a serious economic crisis - but if the Alberta NDP win, the most disturbing parallel I see is with the 1984 Mulroney tories - scads of unseasoned backbenchers that were never expected to win and were maybe less thoroughly vetted, dropping gaffs like candy wrappers. Mulroney got past all that and won a second majority with the notable advantage of a very tory-friendly media; Notley will not have that advantage. They will eat her alive once the honeymoon is over.

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    13. Good point/ analogy regarding Mulroney. Mulroney also had the advantage of the constitution to distract as well as a very good plan going into the 1988 campaign-Free Trade. You don't need to campaign on your record when you have an election issue that takes up all the media "oxygen"!

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    14. Romanow hardly "saved" Saskatchewan-high oil prices did most of the work although closing many rural hospitals did help!

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    15. That's up for debate.

      But the same should be pointed out about Haris and Ontario, his economic success was due to 90's tech boom not any of the PC policies.

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  3. Totally agree. Hopefully Forum will come out with a poll over the weekend and publish it on Monday. We shall see. However, over the course of the campaign, everything that possibly would've "scared" people back to the PCs has only seemed to drive more support to the NDP. I'm personally predicting there will be a swing pushing the NDP higher and that the final result will be more dramatic than we are currently seeing. I'm predicting 55 seats. I think this is the 1971 moment for the NDP. Just my opinion. Gut feeling only.

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    1. That's my gut feeling, too.

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    2. I'm inclined to agree. The momentum for the NDP has been apparent and powerful from the first day of the election. In the first week I imagined a strong third place finish for the NDP, but from week two on it has seemed more like a majority win. It's a locomotive. Actually, there are two locomotives, the NDP train chugging towards government, and the runaway train of the PCs that's just about to jump the tracks.

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    3. I can't imagine the NDP winning 45 seats let alone 55 seats. The PC advertisements over the next 4 days will help rally the anti-NDP vote. My guess:

      NDP 40 seats,
      WR 25 seats,
      PC 20 seats,
      Lib 2 seats

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    4. LGF, Come Tuesday evening, you won't have to imagine it at all.

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    5. It does seem like we may be at the point where Albertans' other well-known predeliction - voting overwhelmingly one way, with resultant monster majorities - could conceivably kick in for the NDP. From the regionals being reported, it might only take a shift of a couple points in Calgary and in southern Alberta for the results to swing toward Eric's 65 seat max projection. I'm hardly about to expect that, but, at this point, I also wouldn't be surprised!

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    6. While ideally the NDP should have a term as official opposition to gain bench experience and media savvy, I would like to see an NDP majority on Monday night, since I'm not sure when this perfect storm may repeat itself. But I'm inclined to agree with LGF - inefficient vote distribution, an undeveloped ground game and vote splitting outside of Edmonton will likely conspire to keep them in minority territory - his seat numbers are probably close IMO.

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  4. Why no mention of undecided voters? Many Albertans don't actually make their decision until they step into the voting booth.

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    1. Those people are also less likely to vote.

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    2. For modelling purposes, undecided voters are an unknown quantity. If they do show up, it's assumed they will break down according to the choices of everyone else. To assume otherwise is to introduce another bias into the model.

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  5. It's a shame Mainstreet has declared today's poll to be their last of the election. I'm suprised they feel they can't slip one in for Monday...

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  6. If it is an NDP majority it will likely only be a one-time thing because PC's and the Wildrose are in such a state of disarray. So this is the end of the PC dynasty in Alberta but it is not the beginning of another dynasty, I'm guessing Alberta will become similar to Saskatchewan after this election, it will be the NDP vs a centre to right party, there will be times when the NDP has half or more of the province and then there will be a time when the other party has half or more of the province.

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    1. Well I'm not sure I agree with that, if the NDP do form government and manager Alberta well, they will be a second mandate.

      However I agree with the sentiment that Alberta is done with Dynasties, no political party should hold majority power forever. Democracy and progress can't flourish that way. As an Ardent supporter and past NDP candidate, I can say every party need a time of renewal and reflection. But in the end it's the voters who must decide on when that time comes.

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    2. I think the speculation about who will win the next election after this one is pointless. Why not give the NDP time to win this election first, then govern, before jumping to conclusions. For what it's worth, Wildrose and PC don't appear to me to be in a momentary state of disarray, but in a chronic state of ideological rigidity and taking voters for granted.

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    3. The truth is that Albertans are largely centrist. Even Peter Lougheed mentioned this when he indicated that the key to his success was making sure that he occupied the political centre. It's true the centre moved to the right under Klein but it has been drifting leftward ever since Stelmach took over.

      The NDP are campaigning on a centrist platform; the truth is their budget would be better categorized as a more typical Liberal platform.

      The name of the party is immaterial. Albertans want a centrist government and although the PCs have attempted to do this, their platform is not as appealing as that of the NDP. I'm sure the Wildrose would be sitting in front (possibly even more comfortably) if they campaigned on a similar plank as the NDP.

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    4. Painting Alberta as monolithically conservative is ludicrous ans\d reeks of anti-Alberta historical revisionism from the Laurentian "Left":

      Bill Aberhart almost singlehandedly stopped Alberta from becoming the locomotive of Canadian socialism in 1935.

      Earnest Manning's Social Credit governments spent more on social programs per capita than any of its contemporaries.

      Maclean's magazine described journalist and Calgary mayor Ralph Klein as a left-wing (!) opponent of Alberta's status quo as recently as 1982.

      Said Ralph Klein moved the Alberta PCs decisively towards social conservatism and neoliberalism, but they were hardly that radical under Lougheed and Getty.

      Alberta's ongoing hostility to the Liberal Party can be best understood as a resource conflict with the Pierre Trudeau Liberal government rather than as a reflexive hostility towards liberalism or socialism in the abstract. Alberta's indifference to the NDP can be explained by the fact that there was no feeling of need to turf the Tories so long as the oil and money were flowing. Now that that time has come, the people of Alberta know that Wilted Rose is not the answer.

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  7. The Mainstreet poll goes into undecided voters fairly deeply. My take: undecided voters who will actually end up voting will slightly help Wildrose in the Rest of Alberta. If things are on the cusp, that could make the difference between a majority and minority NDP government. Wildrose will undoubtedly be marshalling all possible resources to get out the rural vote.

    Apart from that, the NDP may be slightly helped by late choosers. There's no joy for the Conservatives in the Undecided vote, anywhere.

    The one cold Conservative comfort is that their voters are slightly more committed than those of the other leading parties. Translation: they're down to the rock-ribbed core.

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    1. What evidence do you have that the Wilted Rose Party has a strong ground game and a strong GOTV?

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  8. I have never been accused of being short of words. But I am absolutely gobsmacked at these numbers. Am I about to be witness to birth of a new Alberta? At 61 years of age and as a lapsed fiscally-conservative socially-progressive democrat ... I sure hope so. If given the chance and the responsibility I sure hope the NDP will govern prudently. I did my part. I hope others do their's too and get out to the polls.

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    1. You're 61. So Alberta has never changed government while you've been an adult, yes?

      This has to be an incredible experience.

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    2. Ira: Yes, I have only known the PCs as the government my adult life in Alberta. The 1986 election and the subsequent NDP domination in Strathcona is my only reference point for what seems to be happening ... and they seem completely inadequate.

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    3. Minority or majority, the headlines Wednesday morning: Orange is the New Blue

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    4. I figure that's a given and with the addition of PEI it's gonna tax Eric to keep up with the dissection of the results !!

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  9. Eric,

    Now that polls seems to be validating the results of 1ABvote.com does it change your view on their polling and methodology? I know they are a partisan group but do their polls validate the use of Google polling or do you think it's just a one off?

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    1. I was thinking the same. While slightly more generous to the NDP and Liberals, the 1abvote numbers were never that far off. It sugests t me (however tentatively) that the use of Google Survey may (with a little tweaking) be a valid and broadly accessible polling instrument.

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  10. Even if the NDP get the most seats (but not a majority) it is unclear that they will form government. The PCs in 3rd place might support the WR, effectively putting the WR in power.

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    1. I think there is way too much bad blood between the Wildrose and PCs for that to happen.

      Not much benefit for the PCs to prop up a rural based libertarian Wildrose party. Nor, the Wildrose propping up the "corrupt" PCs to extend their dynasty.

      A more realistic possibility is for the PCs and Wildrose to take turns propping up an NDP minority government. During that time the PCs and Wildrose can have their conferences, engage in fundraising, select new leaders (if necessary) and weight the pros and cons of a potential merger.

      It would be good for the Albertan conservative movement in the long term if they are shut out of government for a few years. It can give time for them to rejuvenate.

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    2. If Prentice does not resign it will be up to Wildrose to determine the Government's future. If WR, supports the Throne Speech then a de facto supply and confidence arrangement may emerge. If they vote against it then Prentice will be forced to resign and Notley or perhaps Brian Jean may become premier or the Lieutenant Governor will dissolve the Legislative Assembly.

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  11. Just got back from the advanced poll.

    I voted for my Liberal incumbent, but I wouldn't be upset if the projection is right and the NDP pull it off.

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  12. Thanks for the Blog Eric, really enjoy your synopsis of the polling information. Extremely curious to see what the outcome will be,

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  13. The NDP will win a majority, and you can thank Rona Ambrose for the next NDP surge..A federal Conservative cabinet minister is pulling out the fear card..

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/alberta-politics/Federal+health+minister+decries+risky/11021203/story.html

    Like I posted in your column yesterday Eric...This NDP wave WILL have federal implications.

    It is always a mistake for the federal government to play the fear card in a provincial election...

    Harper`s federal policies are akin to Alberta`s provincial taxation policies.

    Rona Ambrose goes abegging, playing the fear card...This will only drive more votes to the NDP..

    It`s like this, Rona Ambrose is literally calling those thinking about voting NDP stupid, that is a bad mistake..

    Check out the comments, so many Albertans have stated they voted in the advance polls for the NDP..

    A perfect storm, Prentice dumping taxes on the masses, mere months after the official opposition folded up it`s tent and joined with Prentice..Then Jim Prentice told average Albertans that the province`s economic woes were their fault..

    No contrition, just sass....Notely is attractive, well spoken and humbled..

    Albertans are not afraid to test the NDP....If things go sour they can be replaced in 4 years..

    The trend is your friend...What happened to Wildrose during the last 2 weeks in their last election...Bozo eruptions from hard rightwing nutters...That drove voters back to the PCs..

    This election is over!.

    And I predict it will lead to riding losses for Harper during the federal election, that`s why Rona Ambrose was called in to stem the tide..Bad move for Prentice.

    Nothing worse than calling out voters as stupid or misinformed.

    Cheers

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    1. Prentice was right the economic malaise is the fault of Albertans because they elect Governments and it is the poor decisions of subsequent Governments that have put Alberta in the sorry state it is now.

      Having said that, Prentice would have been well advised to keep that particular opinion to himself. I don't know what Rona is doing but, a politician should never call voters stupid-they need those people to elect them and as the old saying goes "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar".

      Is it stupid to vote NDP? Perhaps. In the short term the increase in taxes in oil and gas particularly will add to the lay-offs and reduce investment. The NDP has a poor "brand" and I suspect investment in general will dry up. Over the longer term a NDP government may be able to diversify the economy so that it is more than simply a one trick oil and gas pony. Or at least build some refineries-I mean come on-what are Albertans waiting for?

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    2. Grant G,

      Yeah, what a waste of all those French lessons...there goes her leadership ambitions.

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    3. Grant G,

      You have mis-characterized Ambrose's statements: She says it is "risky" to vote NDP for a host of economic reasons, she does not intone or call the electorate "stupid". In fact, the only voters who would be stupid are any that take your comment at face value!

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    4. Frankly Grant G your comment about Ambrose make you appear misogynistic and that you hold a personal vendetta against Rona Ambrose for some reason.

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  14. You can't compare this to Ontario 1990. The ndp came from 4th place, averaging around 10% and never cracking 20% in any poll. They never even lead in Edmonton before. This is historic no matter the result, and it is thanks to Notley. She has proven to be a great politician. Don't forget we are talking about Alberta. I predict 60 seats.

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    1. Notley has performed well but, is she a great politician or is Prentice simply one of the more incompetent politicians of recent memory?

      Before he dropped the writs there were a number of polls that showed the PC numbers and Prentice's approval rating falling: Angus Reid's premier approval numbers of March 6th had Prentice at +4, Mainstreet poll of March 31 showed WR and PC tied at 30% with both the Liberals and NDP doing well at 17% and 18% respectively. Hindsight is 20/20 of course and perhaps the PCs can pull it off, but, one wonders why he didn't wait until the Autumn or Spring since, he had a year left in his mandate? For a party that has governed for forty years to be tied with the Opposition going into an election is a pretty risky prospect.

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    2. What do you define as great?

      More often then not great people are made by the times they live in. It's truly the great person that makes the times we live in.

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  15. Eric,

    This is not in your preferred area(s) but, have you encountered any polls on the Metro Vancouver transit referendum?

    Thanks,

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  16. With my simulator, using the latest aggregate, I would have:

    57 NDP
    21 WR
    5 PC
    3 ALP
    1 AP

    The PC is quite unfavoured in my model compared to Eric's. I also have an almost sure bet for the AP's leader seat in Calgary-Elbow (due to a riding specific poll, otherwise it would be an easy NDP win). WR and ALP are almost identical to Eric's, which validates the numbers I guess.

    As I stated in another blog, the NDP needs 38% in my model to hope for a majority (with the PC and WR at around 27% and 28% apiece). At almost 42%, this makes it an easy majority. We'll see if the weekend and numerous polls will change the minds of Albertans, but if the trend continues, this would be an historic and, I believe, game-changing election in Canada.

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  17. Eric,

    In some of the close three-way races like Calgary-Bow and Calgary-Acadia, you've listed a 50% probability of calling the winner correctly if an election were held today, but that seems too high to me (though I may just be wrong). Are there no ridings with a 40/30/30 split in winner probability? If so, is there some advantage to making 50% the minimum in your model?

    Thanks.

    Scott.

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    1. The probabilities are based on the lead between 1-2 only, not taking into account a third party. So it isn't about a party's chances of winning, it is about the model's chances of being right.

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    2. Thanks, Eric. That's helpful, but I'm a bit confused about the difference between the leading party's chance of winning and the chance of the model being right. It seems like those should be the same thing.

      In Calgary-Acadia, for example, isn't it true that the model would only be right if (currently) Wildrose wins? With two other parties (currently) less than two points behind in the model--and thus very much a threat to take the seat--wouldn't you want to factor them both in when describing the model's chance of calling the riding correctly?

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  18. You know its bad for the Conservatives when the Harper government starts interfering with a provincial election. I am starting to think the NDP might win federally too. I'm sure that is what Harper was thinking too, when he sent out the attack dogs to fear monger about the NDP..

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    1. The playing field is really stacked against the NDP federally both by FPTP and donation limits/ fundraising. I suppose anything is possible but, at the moment it looks like they'll lose half their Quebec caucus and unless the Liberals throw in the towel I think it will be difficult to pick up the requisite 100+ seats they'll need to form Government.

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    2. Monday polls will be especially important because there were a number of highly visible endorsements of Prentice in both the Journal and the Herald. Comments make it clear that many readers were unimpressed, but how will the public at large respond?

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    3. The Harper government has been crapping all over the Ontario Liberals for years. It's a complete abdication of the leadership the federal government is supposed to show towards the provinces. His relentlessly nasty partisanship often reminds me of a spoiled kid that takes control of the monkey bars at the playground and starts telling the other kids who can and can't play on them.

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  19. Are there likely to be any more polls before election day?

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  20. Waiting with bated breath to see how thinks look on Monday. I'd have to imagine that pollsters are uneager to miss a weekend shift of the type that left them so thoroughly embarrassed three years ago and will be doing as much as they can to get another set of numbers in. Right? Right?

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  21. Not knowing enough about Alberta politics I've stayed away from commenting but if the NDP does win majority Govt. the national shockwave will be astronomical !!

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    1. Why? Seems to me Alberta will simply be catching up to the rest of the country, most provinces have had NDP governments before or very left wing governments a la the PQ.

      If anything a NDP win is bad news for young Trudeau as it appears the split on the left is a permanent feature and the suppossed junior centre-left party is able to form government in hostile territory.

      Do you think the Liberals will merge with the NDP before the next federal general election?

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    2. As an Albertan I don't see a whole lot in terms of federal implications.

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    3. If the NDP merge with the Liberals you will see a party on the left of the NDP form to counter it because many in the NDP are diehard supporters and do not want to cater or simply agree with liberalism as the de-facto option. Canadians I believe are also against a two-party system and would not welcome less parties. Competition is healthy in a democracy.

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  22. Eric, did you see the new Poll this morning done by Forum on May 2nd? It shows the NDP at 42%, Wildrose at 245, and PC's at 21%. I have to admit that's the poll that has shocked me the most. I thought for sure there would be at least some buyers remorse after 5 polls in a row showing a big NDP lead, or at least a traditional historical tightening up, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I almost can't believe this is happening.

    Eric, do you believe that many PC voters are the types that won't do polling, or do you think Forum and Mainstreet have it right? As we learning in Ontario, those not in power are much more enthusiastic to talk to pollsters than those who are just OK with the party in power.

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  23. I hadn't seen that poll 11matt11, thanks.

    There could be a shy Tory effect this time, but I don't know for certain.

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    1. Otoh I wonder if there could now be an opposite effect in the sense that for PC and Undecided/PC voters, it looks like there is basically no way that the PCs can catch up in votes, so they might as well stay home and watch the flames game?

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    2. Half of Albertans still believe the PCs will win, so I don't think PC voters are going to be demotivated due to poor poll performances.

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    3. Both would appear to be a waste of time. No way the Flames will beat Anaheim!

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  24. The "shy Tory" effect would hypothetically be more of an issue when doing a live interviewer poll and there being a "social desirability bias" when it is embarrassing to say you would vote Tory - but in IVR you are just punching a number on a keypad in response to a computer - therre is no reason to be shy about how you vote

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    1. so the 1-3% of the people that actual answer their robo poll are likely honest.

      However just answering a robo-poll isolates them as distinct sub group that most likely does not have the same characteristics as the universe.

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    2. I think that depends on what is implied by "shy"...

      I always presumed that had to do with not bothering to answer polls of whatever kind in the first place.

      Let's not forget that polls have, once again, for better or worst, been a big part of the election itself, which could affect the enthusiasm with which different people and different kinds of voters respond to said polls....

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  25. Some people believe that the NDP is left wing when left wing in most countries does mean by my time of studying ideologies does mean usually democratic socialist. The NDP has by all accounts rejected socialism in their party charter federally. The provinces tend to be way ahead of the NDP on rejecting socialism. Socialism does mean the workers owning the means of production. I see no socialists parties in Canada that have real strength. I feel that Albertans have nothing to worry about. They are now by all accounts in every province third way social democrats in the Tony Blair mould. That means they are all New Labour parties. As for what will happen to big oil and corporations, it is just fear-mongering about the NDP being bad for business. All parties now are so close that you cannot get anything between them. They are simply too close and lack real differences. As bad economic times are now the new normal, people will want new parties and quite frankly it could mean radical politics of the nationalist kind, socialist kind or communist kind.

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  26. I am hoping that a minority government will happen for Alberta. They tend to be the most accountable and transparent governments and it will probably cement the NDP as a party for Alberta since it will show they can work with other parties and there can be a lot of give and take.

    That was one of the reasons why the NDP I believe will never be a factor in Ontario other than being a third place party which could keep parties out of government.

    The problem with Rae back in the early 90's was that there was a huge recession from I believe 1991 to 1994 that took a long time to deal with and it wouldn't have mattered who was in power. All governments hoping for re-election would have had a hard time getting back in.

    The NDP just had bad timing.

    Of course, I am anti-mainstream and my problem with the systems we have is that Canada, just like the USA, is against a strong democracy, a well-informed public, and the ability to create new parties easily. The mainstream are oligarchs and do not wish to let go of their power. It is a problem that should be dealt with so that we can have better democracies and better run societies.

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    1. Canada is very favourable to new political parties: Wildrose in Alberta, Conservative party of BC, the Green party now has a seat in New Brunswick, BC and Ottawa; Social credit came out of nowehere and won Government in Alberta in 1935 and BC in 1952; the UFA and UFO came out of nowhere and won Government; the CCF-NDP etc... Canada does promote a well-informed public hence, our free public education available in every Province, subsidized university tuition once again in every Province and a host of other education programs for both citizens and new arrivals-available in every Province!

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  27. As for the polls that have come the last little while, I tend to believe they are not accurate but they do force people into groups.

    It also guesses on trends because that is basically what polling is.

    It is not a science but basically hypothesizing.

    As politicians say, the only poll to trust is on election day.

    As for what I believe the result could be is that I think it will most likely be a minority government with the PCs having the minority. The NDP will be the second place party in seats, but I believe the Wildrose will be the party to prop up the PCs.

    Alberta is not going to change overnight in one election.

    The PC party has been around for 44 years and its party will not end so easily.

    Of course May 5th will decide and I expect a lot of people not just in Alberta but across the country to tune in.

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    1. John, though your opinion makes sense historically, your last sentence occidentally might have predicted the outcome in a completely different way. Yes, many are extremely interested in this election, and that's why the NDP have a good chance to win.

      Remember last election's turnout? 54.1% compared to 40% the previous election. Why? Because so many left of the PC's came out to vote to keep the Wildrose out. That and strategic anti-Wildrose voting kept the WR to 17 seats and gave the PC a surprise victory. This time progressives actually have someone to not only vote for, but actually win. 10's of thousands of Albertans who have never voted for a winning left of PC candidate actually have some incredible hope here. And on top of the disdain for this PC gov't, even by those who have PC values, I suspect that largest turnout in two generations. My prediction is between 39 - 48 seats NDP. It'll be an exciting night to see if Notley can get there. If she gets 42, between the Alberta Party and the Liberals, that should be enough. But you're right, it's going to be an incredible night.

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    2. For clarity, there are two Johns posting comments. I'm the one who cited the Mainstreet treatment of undecided voters. I'm a long-term commenter, but didn't post much for some time.

      The other John is somebody else, so if you were thinking that John is displaying multiple personalities, you're correct.

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    3. It's not changing overnight. It's been changing for years. We're just going to see the evidence all at once.

      It was clear to many in the mid-to-late 1960s that Lougheed was going to be Premier one day, but for that to happen he needed to defeat a government that had been in power for more than 30 years (36, by the time he defeated it).

      Change doesn't happen overnight. But that we keep getting similar results from elections is not evidence that Alberta hasn't changed.

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  28. I haven't seen a poll regarding the PEI election yet, but, the polls open and close tomorrow so, I'll make a prediction.

    Big News: On the Wikipedia PEI election page there appears to be polls!

    Liberals: 18 seats, 46.82%
    Conservatives: 8 seats, 41.12%
    Greens: 1 seat, 6.53%
    NDP: 0, 2.44%

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  29. Éric,

    Hopefully, we will hear from bede before election night! Right, Peter?

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    1. Nah Ron. Don't need that kind of laughs !

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    2. I suppose when one isn't clever enough to write something interesting they must comment on others. Right, Ronald?

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    3. bede dunelm,

      I apologize to you if you were offended by my comment. It was not meant to denigrate you or your view of the political world. I actually enjoy reading your posts.

      I put Peter into the mix as a lark given that he has crossed swords with you in the past. Again it was not my intention to belittle your views. I'm sorry for being a smart ass.

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  30. Alberta elections are always difficult to predict because of turnout. 50-54% is probably the average post-1945. 2012's 56% was high which flies in the face of traditional wisdom that high turnout will hurt incumbents and help the "time for a change movement". The other problem with Alberta is the high number of "non-Albertans" in the Province, those people from other parts of Canada who are eligible to vote but, have little connexion to Alberta and little interest in its politics.

    My prediction:

    NDP: 34%; 33 seats
    WR: 31%, 31 seats
    PC: 28%, 19 seats
    LIB: 5.6%, 3 seats (Calgary-Mountainview, Calgary-Buffalo, Edmonton-Centre)

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  31. Éric,

    Congratulations on reaching 100 Posts. Please keep up the good work. We appreciate it.

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  32. Éric,

    Sorry about that. 100 Comments. LOL.

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