Wednesday, January 6, 2016

More Albertans have negative view of Notley, positive view of Jean

An interesting poll by Abacus Data for Progress Alberta, a progressive interest group in Alberta, was released this week about the views of Albertans on themselves, their leaders, and some of the policies the new NDP government has put into place.

Where Albertans place themselves on the political spectrum, and where they place other Albertans, is particularly interesting. You can check out the full report from Abacus Data here.

But for our interests, the views Albertans have on the province's party leaders is notable. For one, Rachel Notley is seen as more progressive than the NDP, while Brian Jean is seen as more centrist than the Wildrose party.

Overall, 61% of Albertans said Notley was progressive or leans progressive, compared to 16% who thought she was conservative or leans conservative. Jean scored 15% on being progressive, while 47% thought he was conservative. The remainders considered these leaders to be in the centre.

Of the three main party leaders, Notley did score the highest on Albertans having a positive impression of her. She had 32% on that mark, but 38% said they had a negative impression of her. Another 25% were neutral while 5% did not know.

Not terrible numbers for Notley, but the honeymoon does seem to be over. Her best results were in Edmonton, where she had a 43% to 27% split on positive/negative impressions. That worsened to 30% to 36% in Calgary, while between 49% and 57% of Albertans outside of Calgary and Edmonton had negative views of the premier.

Jean is still largely unknown, with 35% saying they have a neutral impression of the Wildrose leader and another 23% being unsure. Of those with a firm opinion, 24% had a positive impression of Jean and 18% had a negative impression.

Ric McIver, interim leader of the Progressive Conservatives (who may be mulling a run for the permanent position), is much more unknown: 65% were either neutral or undecided on him. Another 16% had a positive impression, while 19% had a negative impression.

The poll has some interesting findings on some of the moves the NDP has made, and I encourage you to check out the Abacus report. There are, of course, the caveats that this poll was commissioned by a group with a political point-of-view, and that should be taken into account when reading Progress Alberta's own analysis. But the Abacus report itself is about the numbers, and there some fascinating ones there.


  1. It's not hard to understand that with non-stop mainstream media bashing of Notley in Alberta and enough publicised death threats against her that even Brian Jean felt compelled to call for "toning down" the hostility that her popularity has dropped. And it's a sad commentary on the Alberta political culture that the Notley government's policy to regulate farm workers - in a province that saw 40 children die in farm-related accidents last year, and that has a real problem with the exploitation of migrant farm labour - has been seen as an unreasonable, authoritarian imposition on farmers.

    1. I wish it was just the mainstream media. The truth is far worse: poor decision making: Holding a royalty review in the deepest oil (commodity) recession Alberta has experienced is: a poor decision. A carbon tax during an oil slump and a recession is: a poor idea. Raising the minimum wage during the worst recession in living memory however, well intentioned, is a: poor idea. Notley and the NDP have nobody but, themselves to blame for their falling poll numbers.

      Brian Jean and Ric McIver shouldn't take comfort their 24% and 13% respectively is dismal. The PCs are looking for a new leader but, at 24% one wonders whether The Alliance has found the right leader or not? Lots of time left for Notley, Jean and McIver to improve of course. I suspect this poll and others will increase the pressure on Nenshi to enter provincial politics. Had Manmeet Bhullar not died tragically last month he likely would have run for PC leader with his passing Nenshi could be well placed to be the next PC leader if he wants the job.

    2. The farmers want to be allowed to run their farms as they see fit. It's their farms. It's their kids. They don't see how it's any of the government's business.

      I'm inclined to agree with them.

      I also think the PCs are done. No defeated Alberta government has ever returned, and I don't expect this will be any different.

    3. So if a farmer were to kill his child, cut up the body, and put it in a suitcase. That's their right because "it's their kids" and it's not "any of the government's business"? Or would you make the same arguement with an oil-rig owner-operator? The arguement seems very similar to slavery, in my mind. They raise their children, they don't possess them.

      Part of the dramatic rise in life expectancy in the 20th century was due to the fact we moved away from child labour. At 40 deaths per year, that's 6% of all child deaths in Canada (663 in 2009), which could be prevented.

    4. On the oil & gas sector, royalties and government revenues, for many, many years the NDP has been calling for the government to wean itself off of the boom & bust cycle of oil & gas revenues, and to take action to ensure the people of Alberta get full benefit of the economic rents from their non-renewable resources. One of the keys to that is to review the royalty structure, which is exactly what this government is now doing. It is certainly unfortunate timing that all this is going on while the Saudis are engaged in flooding the world market to create a glut, but I'm sure the review panel is fully cognizant of those external forces as they finalize their report, which should be out very soon.

      As for the carbon tax, it is probably due, but it will be a hardship on those residents that do not live in one of the two big cities, for whom there is little alternative to driving for the daily commute (transit in smaller cities is abysmal). Hopefully, the next budget will contain measures to support improvements in transit in the smaller centres.

      Finally, the farm safety bill, while absolutely necessary and long overdue, was very poorly rolled out. I don't know if it was ignorance of local conditions and incompetence on the part of political staffers, many of whom aren't from around here; or covert sabotage on the part of an entrenched bureaucracy inherited from the 44-year PC dynasty; but it was a shit show from Day One, and gave the inevitable opponents far too much ammunition with which to attack it and to fan the flames of hysteria in rural Alberta. Had it been introduced properly, there would still have been opposition, but it would have been much more muted and marginal.

    5. Mapleson,

      Clearly, you don't understand the issue in regards to Bill-51. Ira is not claiming he has the right to murder his child and do an indignity to the body-both crimes (An outrageous statement meant for notoriety not serious discussion).
      He is questioning the scope of the law. If one asked their son to "mow the lawn" should health and safety rules apply? You seem to think so and what is more you believe needless regulation a good idea.

    6. Capilano,

      I'll let Ira clarify exactly what the position was when saying "It's their farms. It's their kids." Using that logic, 40 Albertan children died while working on the family farm.

      If 40 children died after being asked to "mow the lawn" then, I would agree that health and safety rules should apply. I believe that needless child death is a bad idea, but maybe you disagree.

      If you are making money by performing an activity and then have a child perform that activity, the child should be protected with all the same rights and obligations as a paid adult.

  2. I'm not surprised that Alberta isn't as conservative as it's often described. This is a province elected Redford in 2012 and Notley in 2015. Nenshi and Iverson got large mandates in their respective cities.

    I believe Alberta's leaning towards the Reform/Conservatives on the federal level is as much based on regionalism (defend provincial interests/resources) as it is on ideology.

    It will be interesting to see how Rachel Notley performs over the next three years. Albertans generally support Notley's ideas. I think its the NDP's style and communication that is the issue with a segment of the electorate (i.e. Bill 6).

    It's too soon to speculate whether Notley can take the NDP to another victory. It really depends on whether Notley can mobilize progressive voters who are not beholden to the NDP (majority of people who supported Notley in May supposed Trudeau in October). The NDP would also need to do a bit better in regards to fundraising.

    It also depends on who is leading the right-wing opposition in the next election. I can't see Brian Jean taking the Wildrose to a victory. A high profile conservative that can unite the right has a better chance. Albertan conservatives would have the concede the province has changed a bit over the last decade - and adjust accordingly.

    1. It also depends on who ends up winning PCs' and the Liberal's respective leadership elections and also on whether any of the rumours of a Liberal Party/Alberta Party merger or a PC/Wildrose merger come to frution. There are way too many variables for anyone to predict anything at this point. Exciting times to be an Albertan.

  3. As you point out, the analysis looks wildly biased, but the data looks good.

  4. The NDP are a one trick pony, 'Take from everybody and give to public sector unions.' The NDP are very good at raising unemployment and causing people to leave. Been there when SK and BC elected NDP governments ~20 years ago. Construction and Engineering jobs did and will move to a more business friendly climate.

    1. That's like saying the CPC are a one trick pony, "Take from everybody and give to the rich." You can't look at and judge specific governments from ~20 years ago without taking macro-economic conditions into account.

      Looking at Saskatchewan, the CCF/NDP were in power from 1944 for 47 of the following 71 years (12 of 20 elections). They gave Medicare to SK and Canada. The Romanow NDP of the 1990s was much more fiscally conservative that the NDP had been historically and were cutting spending and privatizing assets to reduce the inherited budget deficit and debt from the previous PC government.

    2. Well said, Maple. This the type of one sided Rush Limbaugh type of Republican thinking that's crushing the right wing parties in Canada right now. Whether the OP wants to acknowledge it or not, but we live in a very progressive Canada, where Canadians have seen programs like welfare and National health insurance work, even when far right wingers at the time said the whole system would come crashing to the ground. Because of the right wing freeze of thinking, things like raising the minimum wage - where studies have shown actually brings unemployment down as it creates new economies, just like welfare did - have not been able to be properly discussed. It's just attack the socialists in the left wing at all costs. I'm an economic right of centre, but I'm also willing to look at new ideas and things that have worked in other countries to help our country grow.


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