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.

Latest Alberta poll shows Redford Conservatives with commanding lead

Alberta Premier Alison Redford, Dave Cournoyer Photo, used with permission

As predicted more than once in this space, a methodologically trustworthy public opinion poll has now been published that shows the Progressive Conservatives under Premier Alison Redford with the support of more than 50 per cent of the province's committed voters.

As argued here, even before the poll by Leger Marketing was reported in the Alberta media yesterday, numbers like this indicate the Redford Tories are on their way to another significant majority, as long as present trends continue.

A strong case can be made that the results of the Leger poll are much more likely to be a true reflection of current voter intentions in Alberta than a group of polls touted by Wildrose Party strategists and supporters that show the Conservatives near historic lows for support and Wildrose support brushing 30 per cent.

The Leger poll of 900 Albertans selected by random digit dialing, conducted by telephone between Jan. 13 and Jan. 18, yielded the following results for decided voters:

Progressive Conservatives – 53 per cent
Wildrose Party – 16 per cent
New Democratic Party – 13 per cent
Alberta Liberal Party – 11 per cent
Alberta Party – 2 per cent

Leger says the poll has a margin of error of 3.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The poll also indicates that 11 per cent of all voters were undecided.

Leger's question -- "if a provincial election were held today, for which political party would you be most likely to vote?" -- associated the party leader's name with each party in the list the questioner read. For example, "Glenn Taylor's Alberta Party" or "Danielle Smith's Wildrose Party."

These results reinforce a number of conclusions that have been argued before in Alberta Diary:

-    That the Alberta PCs have returned to historic levels of popularity since they selected Redford as their leader and premie

-    That Wildrose support has not improved significantly since long-time Tory supporters began returning to the Conservatives after former premier Ed Stelmach announced his intention to resign a year ag

-    That Alberta Liberal Party support continues to sag under the leadership of former Conservative Raj Sherma

-    That the Alberta Party has never managed to get on Albertans' political radar screens, and that what little support they had is evaporating as an election grows closer

The big question, as Leger Alberta Vice-President Ian Large was quoted asking by the Calgary Herald, "is who is going to be No. 2? Who is going to be the Opposition?"

It has been argued here that despite the Wildrose Party's No. 2 position in popular support, the NDP is more likely to form the official Opposition because splits in voter support in the Edmonton area where it is strong are more likely to favour it than the splits in the Calgary area where Wildrose support is strong by Tory support is overwhelming.

I would not be so bold as to suggest these Leger results support that argument -- at least not yet, until Leger provides a complete breakdown of its regional results. However, nor do they rule it out -- so that's my position, and I'm stickin' to it until persuasive evidence shows otherwise.

We now see the very interesting phenomenon of recent polls of Alberta voters' intentions sorting themselves into two groups, one that says the Tories have the support of about half of all voters and one that puts Tory support at 40 per cent or lower and indicates a corresponding boost in Wildrose support.

Which to believe?

Well, the three most recent polls that show strong Tory support -- Citizen Society Research Lab, Environics and Leger -- all used methodology considered to be sound by professional pollsters, telephoned questions over several days.

The three most recent polls that showed the Conservatives weaker and the Wildrose stronger -- two by Forum Research and one by ThinkHQ Public Affairs -- used methodology not considered to be as reliable, automated demon-dialers over a single evening in the case of Forum and a self-selecting on-line panel in the case of ThinkHQ.

This is not a guarantee that the polls in the first group got it right, or the polls in the second group didn't, but it leads a fair observer to such a conclusion. Certainly, back in 2008, online polls did not have a particularly good record for reliably predicting Alberta provincial election results.

Other conclusions from the Leger poll:

-    Satisfaction with the performance of Redford's government is very strong, at about 70 per cen

-    Redford leads dramatically among the number of Albertan who thought she "would make the best premier for Alberta" -- 32 per cent, versus 14 per cent for Smith, 7 per cent for NDP Leader Brian Mason and 6 per cent for Liberal Leader Raj Sherman

-    Two thirds of Alberta voters indicated their voting choice will not be affected by recent allegations of illegal donations made to the PC Party.

The mainstream media, of course, may soon forget the results of this poll because it does not favour the "horserace on the right scenario."

Some journalists, like Calgary Herald political columnist Don Braid are sticking manfully to the journalistic dream of a right-wing slugfest. Things "will change the minute a campaign starts," Braid promised yesterday. "With Tom Flanagan running the show, the Wildrose campaign will likely be focused, smart and extremely tough."

True enough, with "Firewall" Flanagan at the helm, the Wildrose campaign is indeed likely to be tough -- spelled D-I-R-T-Y, as we have already seen -- but I don't doubt the Redford Conservatives have a few dirty tricks of their own up their sleeves.

Anything can happen in politics, of course, so don't bet the house and the Hawaiian holiday on any outcome until election day is a little closer!

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.


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:


  • 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.


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