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Prentice Holds Early Edge in PC Leadership Race


Good morning all,


As valued clients and Eye on Alberta subscribers, we’re pleased to provide you with this “sneak peak” at material being released through PostMedia this morning related to the provincial PC leadership election.  These are excerpts from our May Edition of the Eye on Alberta report.


Please note: These materials are embargoed until 5:00 a.m. (Mountain) this morning (June 2, 2014) – please do not share them publicly until then.


The detailed May edition of the Eye on Alberta provides more in-depth analysis of the PC leadership race, along with a comprehensive overview of public’s view on provincial politics today.  It will be available for clients/subscribers to download later this afternoon (Monday June 2).


PC Leadership Highlights

There’s really only two horses in this race, and one starts with a significant lead.


Ric McIver, currently a distant 2nd place, would need to work very hard between now and September to WIN.  Jim Prentice, currently the front-runner, would need to work very hard between now and September to LOSE.  And Thomas Lukaszuk would need a miracle to win.


The regional dynamics are interesting.  None of these candidates, even home-town boy Thomas Lukaszuk, seems to be capturing the imagination of voters in Edmonton.  It will be interesting to juxtapose Edmontonians’ views on the NDP leader race, taking place simultaneously this summer/early fall.  The NDP has no hope of forming government, but a new Edmonton-based leader could garner enough new support in the Capital to make a number of races interesting in the next election.


Here’s how the PC leader candidates break out:


Jim Prentice

  • He may have been out of politics for a few years, but of the three contenders for the PC leadership, Prentice is currently the best known and liked.  Prentice garners 34% approval among the public vs. 23% disapproval, while 43% don’t know enough to rate him.  Opinions are more split in Edmonton, where slightly more voters disapprove than approve of the Calgary lawyer.  However, among likely PC voters (i.e. a reasonably accurate surrogate for party members) Prentice dominates with 62% approval.
  • Prentice wins the “mock ballot” handily. Among the general public, he captures ¼ of the vote for PC leader (a number equal to those saying they wouldn’t vote for any of the candidates), but 30% of those interviewed are not sure whom they would vote for.  Translated into “decided vote”, Prentice currently enjoys 55% from voters writ-large, but 69% of likely PC voters say they would vote for him.


Ric McIver

  • As a former 3-term alderman and mayoralty candidate in Calgary, Ric McIver enjoys a strong base in Alberta’s largest city (and southern Alberta), but his profile and approval elsewhere are marginal.  Province-wide, his stature is inert – roughly as many approve of him as disapprove, and almost half don’t know enough about him to offer an evaluation.  His approval tilts negative north of Calgary, but he’s well liked among likely PC voters (and even modestly positive among likely Wildrose voters).
  • McIver’s standing on the “mock ballot” is interesting.  Among the general public he only trails Prentice by 10 percentage points (20% decided vote), but Prentice’s lead is much larger among likely PC voters.


Thomas Lukaszuk

  • Conventional wisdom might suggest that the former Deputy Premier would benefit as the only Edmonton candidate in the race, but an assessment from the public suggests “not so much”.  Edmonton’s hometown boy suffers from a combination of obscurity and “strong negatives”.  Fully 41% of Albertans disapprove of Lukaszuk as PC leader, while 47% don’t know enough about him to offer a rating.  Only 13% offer any degree of approval for Lukaszuk.  Even in Edmonton, his “net approval” sits at -24 (much worse than either McIver or Prentice), and is a -1 with likely PC voters.
  • According to the “mock ballot”, Lukaszuk is not a serious contender at this stage, nor would his vote likely change the outcome of a 2nd ballot.  Only 11% of Albertans would vote for him as PC leader (and only 5% of likely PC voters).  In a 2nd ballot scenario, Lukaszuk voters split relatively evenly between Prentice and McIver.


Bottom line, barring something seismic happening between now and September 6, Jim Prentice will likely take the PC leadership on the first ballot.  That said, the real race to replace Alison Redford has just begun, and campaigns are all about “seismic” events.




Marc Henry


ThinkHQ Public Affairs, Inc.


Click here to see the poll results:  PostMedia EOA Release May 30 2014