Philippe J. Fournier: The latest projection shows that if an election were held now, the UCP would almost be wiped out by urban Alberta and would even lose part of its rural base.
The Alberta equalization referendum has come and gone, and although the main results appear to significantly favor the Yes team (full results should be disclosed later this week), it is far from clear that this victory will help Jason Kenney turn the tide of his premiership battle, at least in the short term, according to the latest Alberta poll.
Two Alberta polls were released earlier this month by Search on the main road (for the Western standard) And Innovative research, and both indicated that the NDP increased its lead over the UCP in voting intentions. In fact, both polls gave the NDP 45 percent support among Alberta voters to just 29 percent for Jason Kenney’s UCP. (Innovative was on the field in late September and Mainstreet, in October):
Additionally, a new Common Ground / Viewpoint Alberta poll, conducted between late September and early October, shows a similar and worrying trend for united conservatives: Rachel Notley’s NDP rises to 50 percent support among Alberta voters decided, a whopping 23-point lead over the government UCP, which drops to just 27 percent. (Full details of this survey will be posted earlier this week.) In its previous poll in March 2021, Viewpoint Alberta had the NDP 10 points ahead of the UCP at the provincial level.
How could the UCP vote go from 54% in the last general election to a vote of 30% or less just two and a half years later? Could there be so many UCP to NDP switchers in the province? While this hypothesis is implausible, another possible explanation for this dramatic drop in the UCP would be a growing number of disgruntled UCP voters who would be less ready and / or willing to share their views with pollsters. Equally worrisome for the UCP: disaffected voters generally show up on voting day in far fewer numbers than motivated ones.
These hard numbers for UCP don’t come out of a vacuum – poll after poll of several professional polling firms over the past 12 months have all measured growing dissatisfaction with Jason Kenney’s handling of the pandemic and new numbers made available in the past. weeks have shown no signs of recovery: in the last few North American Tracker, Léger is still satisfied with the UCP’s handling of the pandemic at a paltry 26%, the lowest level of approval among provincial governments in Canada:
In this Léger survey, satisfaction with the federal government’s handling of the pandemic is 52 percent in the province. You read that right: roughly twice as many Alberta voters are satisfied with federal liberals than the UCP. Even taking into account the uncertainty of the survey, these are mind-boggling numbers. And Léger is not an anomalous: in its latest Premier approval round, the Angus Reid Institute measured similar overwhelming results for Jason Kenney.
Angus Reid Institute Premieres Approval Degrees
– Philippe J. Fournier (@ 338Canada) October 13, 2021
Using this latest data, the 338 Canada Alberta model calculates that, unsurprisingly, the Alberta NDP he would be heavily favored to win the most seats if provincial elections were held this week. The model currently shows the NDP with as many as 60 seats in the province (on average), well above the threshold of 44 seats for a majority in the Alberta Legislative Assembly:
According to these numbers, the UCP it would almost be wiped out by urban Alberta and could potentially lose even a fraction of its rural base. Without strong third-party support in Alberta (neither the Alberta Party nor the Wildrose Independence Party would be favored to win a single seat), the NDP would most likely get the majority with strong numbers from both Calgary and Edmonton, and pockets of support outside rural Alberta.
As I said in last week’s Ontario columnProjections of seats outside of an election campaign have no predictive value and simply offer a general representation of the current political landscape. Unless UCP government falls unexpectedly before the end of its current term (which would require several steps of UCP plans and / or MLA sitting as independent Other voting against their former party in a vote of confidence), Albanians will only go to the polls in the spring of 2023, about 18 months from now. As they say, it’s a long time in politics.
However, we mentioned this same idiom last spring when Léger, Mainstreet, Angus Reid, Janet Brown Opinion Research, and Viewpoint Alberta all measured the NDP leading UCP by significant margins. No one seriously doubts that several events and breakthroughs could happen before then, but many months have passed and the UCP has not yet managed to get out of this hole.
The equalization referendum may have given Jason Kenney the opportunity to return to a recipe that served Alberta’s premier well in the past: fighting against Justin Trudeau’s federal liberals. However, with little coast-to-coast appetite for a reopening of constitutional negotiations (which elimination of equalization would require), the referendum is increasingly unlikely to give Kenney the leverage he expected to gain from it. One way or another, in the coming months, Kenney will have to switch to government during the pandemic to push back not the Prime Minister, but the provincial rivals of the UCP, or risk sinking the UCP experiment that helped to create four years ago.
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