Historic Night in Alberta

By Mario Canseco

The recent provincial election in Alberta afforded Insights West a unique opportunity to review the sentiments of a population that had been governed by the same party for more than four decades.

So, what did we learn?

First, we learned that leadership can play a pivotal role in victory. Rachel Notley’s numbers began to climb late last year, and she headed to election night with a thumbs-up from three-in-five residents. Even people who did not vote for her party respected her performance—a feat that is hard to accomplish in Canadian politics.

Second, we learned that no party can claim to have the hegemony on issues. As the campaign progressed, Notley started to be seen as a better economic manager than her theoretically free enterprise minded rivals.

Third, we learned that polling should continue all the way until the end of the campaign. It worked well for us in the Calgary and Edmonton elections of 2013, and allowed us to see that the shift from traditional centre-right voters to NDP supporters was real.

It was a night of redemption, for our industry and for new methodologies, in the face of ill-fated commentary from data-less pundits. At Insights West, we will always stand by our data before, during and after an election.


Photograph: Courtesy of Dave Cournoyer, CC