rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

New Alberta poll: Tories way up; NDP up a little; everyone else down... So what else is new?

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $1 per month!

Environics poll results

Alberta's political classes were abuzz last night with news of a credible new poll that shows the province's eternal Progressive Conservative government back in the driver's seat even before a replacement is found for retirement-bound Premier Ed Stelmach.

The results of the poll, conducted for a couple of local newspapers by Environics Research Group, also suggest that with support for both the far-right Wildrose Alliance and the Liberals imploding, and that for the NDP surfing a bit of a youth-powered Orange Wave, any of the three parties with seats in the Legislature could emerge as the Official Opposition after the next general election. The fledgling Alberta Party barely registered.

But any joy the two-MLA NDP might get from these results must be tempered by the fact that, with Conservative support at well over 50 per cent and the possibility of a three-way opposition split in many ridings high, the Tory edge is so overwhelming that the Orange Wave could easily turn into the Orange Crushed.

The poll of 900 Albertans conducted between July 15 and July 24, also sets the stage for an early fall election, since the post-Stelmach Conservatives are bound to want to take advantage of their astounding levels of support before Alberta voters get to know their new leader -- whomever he or she may turn out to be.

In addition, the poll results clearly show a Trend Research poll commissioned by pollster Janet Brown and political newsletter editor Paul McLoughlin in March was on the right track. That poll was bitterly denounced by the Wildrose Alliance, which released a survey of its own four days later on which the right-wing party made the claim it was within "striking distance" of the Conservatives. Pretty clearly, unless something changes dramatically, it is not.

In other words, for all the media fantasizing these past couple of years about the Wildrose Alliance coming out of right field to prompt generational change in Alberta politics, nothing of the sort is likely to happen.

Other probable interpretations of the Environics data include:

-    Albertans are uncomfortable with and distrustful of the Wildrose Alliance's far-right program of privatization and other doctrinaire market-fundamentalist nostrums, and will return to the safe old Conservatives unless given a strong reason not to vote for what they're used to.

-    The Liberal brand has less and less allure for Alberta voters, notwithstanding the party's attempt to generate interest through a leadership race in which anyone can vote, whether or not they are a party member.

-    Albertans' dissatisfaction with the Conservative Party was really just dissatisfaction with the leadership Ed Stelmach, who failed to connect with voters.

-    It probably doesn't matter whom the Conservatives pick as leader -- if he or she runs a cautious campaign and "low bridges" it, the Tories could win an even bigger majority than they have now.

-    Even with its collapsing support, with more money in the bank for advertisements and support concentrated in Calgary, the Wildrose Alliance could still emerge as the Opposition.

-    With support concentrated around Edmonton and higher among young people, the NDP will improve its chances if it can get out the youth vote.

-    If the Alberta Party is going to make any difference, it won't be in the next Alberta general election.

None of this is particularly good news for Opposition parties who had hoped to make big gains from sinking Tory fortunes, media companies who wanted to portray the contest with the Wildrose Alliance as a horserace, or members of the Alberta politerati who just wanted an election with a little excitement for once.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.