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Alberta Votes 2019 – The Provincial Political Horserace

Posted April 9th, 2019 in Alberta Election, Alberta Politics, Media Release, News, Uncategorized by Marc Henry

As the Alberta provincial election enters its final week, province-wide vote intentions have narrowed nominally, but mask regional variations in party support which would lead to a decisive outcome according to a new ThinkHQ survey.  With advance polls opening today, fully 13% of Alberta voters are undecided and many are still mulling their final decision despite their current party leanings, but if the trends hold for the next week, the UCP will form a new provincial government with a comfortable majority.


The Horserace


On a province-wide basis, the United Conservative Party holds a 6-percentage point lead over the New Democrats (46% vs. 40%), followed by the Alberta Party (8%), Liberals (2%), Freedom Conservative Party (1%) and various other options (3%).  Just over one-in-ten (13%) voters remain undecided. Since the start of the campaign, the NDP vote share has inched up by 2 percentage points, while UCP vote intentions have slipped 3 percentage points.


That said, the race looks much closer than it is, due to regional disparities which would heavily influence the seat count in the legislature.


  • The NDP continue to dominate Edmonton, with a 20+ point lead over the UCP, but trail significantly everywhere else in the province
  • In seat-rich Calgary, a place where the NDP need to retain/grow their seat count, they are trailing the UCP by 16 percentage points – 51% UCP vs. 35% NDP
  • Notley’s NDP does well with younger voters, capturing 48% of the decided vote among those under 35 (compared to UCP at 39%), but support declines with age
  • Meanwhile, UCP support increases substantially with age, and they are heavily preferred by male voters


Will there be an Election Day surprise?


Maybe, but doubtful. Elections are about getting ballots in boxes, so party GOTV (Get out the Vote) efforts are critical, and in this, not all the parties are equal. As well, 13% of voters are undecided, and there is still a bit of “softness” in voter preferences at this stage.


  • Likely UCP voters are the most certain of their intentions at this stage, with 75% of the party’s vote considered “firm” compared to 68% among likely NDP voters
  • Those leaning toward the Alberta and Liberal parties are least set in their intentions, with over one-half considered “soft” supporters at this point


For the NDP to win, they will need to “move the needle” more in the last week than they have in the first three, but at this stage they do not have positive campaign momentum.  One bright spot for the NDP is that UCP momentum is even more negative than their own.


  • In the final week of the campaign, only Stephen Mandel and the Alberta Party have positive campaign momentum. Just over one-fifth (22%) of Alberta voters say they feel better about Mandel/Alberta Party than they did a week ago, compared to 17% saying “worse” for a net momentum score of +5
  • David Khan and the Liberal Party score a “net zero” in campaign momentum
  • All of the other parties, including the two front-runners are mired in negative campaign momentum with a week to go: NDP (-15), FCP (-16) and the UCP (-24)


Commenting on the survey results, ThinkHQPresident Marc Henry noted:


“The 2019 campaign is one of the nastiest ones I can recall, and as the advance polls open, barring a significant shift in campaign momentum in the final days, it looks like we’re getting a new government on April 16th. 


The province-wide vote share for the NDP, while closing on the UCP, is very inefficient. Notley’s problem is both geography and math; they are running up the score in Edmonton, but trail everywhere else. The vote splits that led to 15 NDP seats in Calgary in 2015 just aren’t there today. The NDP are tracking at levels similar to the last election, but the UCP are managing to hold on to three-quarters of the former Wildroseand PC vote, yielding a substantial lead in Calgary. If the NDP can’t win the majority of seats in Calgary, it doesn’t matter how many seats they get in Edmonton; they won’t be able to form government.


Notley has been quite successfully in targeting Jason Kenney – his personal disapprovals have jumped – but his approval is holding, and this type of campaigning hasn’t enhanced the Premier’s reputation with voters either. 


Most importantly, the emphasis on Kenney hasn’t drawn voters away from the negative impressions they have of this government’s record; over one-half say Notley’s government has had a negative impact on their lives personally and that appears to be the ballot question for many.”


Click here to view the full release and methodology: Provincial Political Horserace Release April 9, 2019



Marc Henry, President ThinkHQ Public Affairs, Inc.



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