There’s something happening here, What it is ain’t exactly clear

A pair of pre-election polls were released this week, painting very different pictures of the upcoming Alberta election. If you only look at the horse race numbers, there’s not much to be cheerful about in Liberal land – the Strategic Counsel had the PCs at 58% of decided voters, while Leger had them at 49%. I tend to think the former fell victim to a bit of federal/provincial confusion (they didn’t put leader names in the question) but even the second set of numbers leave the parties pretty much where they were at the end of the last election campaign.

Above and beyond that, the Tories should be feeling pretty good since they do better with older Albertans (who vote) and rural Albertans (whose votes are worth more). If you buy the Strategic Counsel poll, just about the only good news for the Alberta Liberals is that 54% of Albertans think 37 years is too long for one party rule (almost half of Albertans don’t?!?!). Even the 39% who think it’s time for a change in that poll is dwarfed by the number who want to re-elect Mr. Ed.

Today’s poll tells a completely different story. A third of voters are undecided and the decided votes breaks down as:

Progressive Conservatives 32%
Alberta Liberals 18%
New Democrats 7%
Wild Rose Alliance 6%
Greens 3%

Not bad if you’re a PC, ‘till you look at this one:

Time for a Change 46%
Re-elect the Tories 35%

Which means the undecideds are, by and large, breaking against the government. Calgary, especially, has got to be an area of concern for them with Taft in a statistical tie with Stelmach on the “best Premier” question.

Of course, I don’t expect the Alberta Liberals to lose Redmonton, even though both polls say they might, so I can see why Conservatives wouldn’t expect to lose a city they have dominated for 40 years. But, I’m telling ya, I was in Calgary for most of last year and there was something in the air. Ed Stelmach has become a punch line…but not in the benign “Ralph Klein is a drunk” way – in the much more dangerous “we hate Ed Stelmach” sort of way.

So, with the writ expected to fall within the next dozen days, it’s looking like this will be an election to watch.

UPDATE: More numbers today, with pretty damning approval ratings for Stelmach on most issues, especially the two biggest in the province right now. On health care, 28% approve and 60% disapprove, while on affordable housing 23% approve and 63% disapprove.

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2008 Alberta Election, Polls

About CalgaryGrit

A former Calgary Liberal, now living in Toronto. My writings on politics can be found at www.calgarygrit.ca and online at the National Post.

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