Notley’s Leadership Pulls NDP Ahead of Rivals in Alberta

Since the start of the campaign, Notley’s approval and momentum numbers have improved markedly, as PC Party loses support from voters aged 55 and over.

Calgary, AB – A large majority of Albertans head into tomorrow’s provincial election believing a new party should be in charge of the Legislative Assembly, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 82% of Albertans believe it is time for a change of government in the province—including 77% of residents aged 55 and over, and 69% of those who voted for the Progressive Conservative Party in the 2012 election.

In addition, 42% of decided voters say they will cast a ballot for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the election, or have done so in the advance polls. The Wildrose Party is second with 27%, followed by the governing Progressive Conservative Party with 23%, the Liberal Party with 4% and the Alberta Party with 3%.

Slide1

“The biggest problem for the incumbent party is trying to re-connect with people who have been there for them in the past,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “The Progressive Conservatives are only holding on to 44% of the voters who supported them in 2012, with more than a third of their base going to the New Democrats.”

The New Democrats are ahead among both male (38%) and female (45%) decided voters, and in every age demographic (53% for 18-34, and 38% for those aged 35-54 and 55+). The NDP remains extremely popular in Edmonton (58%), but is also supported by more than a third of decided voters in both Calgary (35%) and the rest of the province (also 35%).

When asked why they are supporting a specific party, Albertans who will vote for the NDP cite the party’s leader (31%), its ideas and policies (31%) and a desire for change (26%). PC voters are more likely to be motivated by ideas and policies (35%) than their leader (27%), but also say the party’s candidate in their riding has an effect on their vote (18%). Half of Wildrose voters (49%) are inspired by ideas and policies, but a desire for change (22%) and the party’s leader (8%) are not paramount.

Leadership

In a survey conducted by Insights West after the provincial budget was introduced in March, NDP leader Rachel Notley was the highest rated party leader in the province. On the eve of the election, her numbers have improved dramatically, with 62% of residents (+21) approving of her performance.

The other opposition leaders do not fare well on this question, with Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean at 35%, Interim Liberal Party leader David Swann at 33% and Alberta Party leader Greg Clark at 20%.

As dramatic as Notley’s rise is the collapse for Premier and Progressive Conservative leader Jim Prentice. Only one-in-four Albertans (25%) approve of his performance. In late December, following the defection of Wildrose Party members to the Progressive Conservatives, 52% of Albertans thought Prentice was doing a good job. Residents who voted for the Alison Redford-led PC Party in 2012 are evenly split when assessing Prentice (46% approve, 47% disapprove).

Momentum is also favourable to the NDP leader, with 52% of Albertans saying their opinion of Notley has improved since the start of the campaign, while only 11% say it has worsened (for a net score of +41). Prentice’s momentum score is -46, while Jean and Swann are both at -8.

When asked who would make the Best Premier of Alberta, Notley is first with 37%, followed by Prentice with 18%, Jean with 13%, Swann with 4% and Clark with 3%. There is some disconnect between Prentice and his perceived base, with 29% of PC voters in 2012 saying that Notley would be the best head of government (36% select Prentice).

Notley is regarded as the best leader to handle education (43%), housing, poverty and homelessness (also 43%), health care (39%), the environment (also 39%), government accountability (36%), the economy and jobs (28%) and crime and public safety (24%). Prentice is ahead on only one issue category: energy and pipelines (27%, with Notley at 23%).

The most important issue facing the province is the economy and jobs (37%, -9 since March), followed by accountability (19%, +2) and health care (16%, -4).

More than a third of Albertans (36%) believe governments can do very little to deal with the problems caused by the drop in oil prices, while 57% disagree with this statement. Finally, while 35% of Albertans say they would be “very upset” if the NDP forms the government, a majority (51%) disagree with this statement, including 48% of Calgary residents.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has fifteen full-time employees.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from May 1 to May 4, 2015, among 1,003 Albertans who are aged 18+, including 881 likely voters and 803 decided voters in the 2015 provincial election. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Alberta. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points for the entire sample, +/- 3.3 percentage points for the sample of likely voters, and +/- 3.5 percentage points for the sample of decided voters, nineteen times out of twenty. Click to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
778-929-0490
mariocanseco@insightswest.com

 

Photograph: Kurt Bauschardt