Sizeable Majority of Albertans Concerned About Economic Issues

The public’s reception of the latest budget is markedly better than in March 2015.

Calgary, AB – The new Government of Alberta gets good marks on its handling of education and government accountability, but almost half of residents are dissatisfied with its economic measures, a new Insights West poll has found.

The online survey of a representative provincial sample also shows that the public’s reception to the budget presented by Premier Rachel Notley’s government is decidedly more positive than what was observed in March for predecessor Jim Prentice.

Issues and Governance

Three-in-five Albertans (60%) say the economy and jobs is the most pressing issue facing the province, with health care a distant second (13%).

The best rated issues for the provincial government are education (47% of residents say it has done a “very good” or “good” job), government accountability (42%), health care (37%) and the environment (36%).

The rating is lower for the government’s handling of crime and public safety (32%), climate change (also 32%), energy and pipelines (29%), housing, poverty and homelessness (27%) and the economy and jobs (also 27%, with 46% rating government actions on this file as “bad” or “very bad”).

Politics

A third of decided voters in Alberta (33%) would cast a ballot for the New Democratic Party (NDP) if the provincial election were held tomorrow. The Wildrose Party is second with 28%, followed by the Progressive Conservative Party with 21%, the Liberal Party with 13% and the Alberta Party with 2%.

Slide1

The NDP is ahead in Edmonton (41%) and among provincial voters aged 18-to-34 (36%), while Wildrose leads in Calgary (29%) and among Albertans aged 55 and over (37%).

“Both the NDP and Wildrose are holding on to more than four-in-five of their voters from the last provincial election,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “The Progressive Conservatives are definitely having a tougher time, with more than a third of their 2015 voters looking at other options.”

Almost half of Albertans (47%) approve of the performance of Premier and NDP leader Rachel Notley, while 37% disapprove and 16% are undecided. The approval rating is lower for Official Opposition and Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean (39%), acting Liberal Party leader David Swann (27%), acting Progressive Conservative leader Ric McIver (25%) and Alberta Party leader Greg Clark (15%).

Four of Alberta’s provincial party leaders have negative momentum scores (Swann -2, Clark -4, McIver -9, Notley -11), while Jean is even (18% say their opinion of the Wildrose leader has improved in the past six months, 18% claim it has worsened).

The Budget

More than half of Albertans (52%) say they followed stories related to the provincial budget “very closely” or “somewhat closely.”

Across the province, 13% of residents give the budget high grades (from 8 to 10), while two-in-five (41%) offer a moderate rating (from 5 to 7) and 30% say it is poor (from 1 to 4).

Compared to a survey conducted by Insights West after the only budget tabled by former Premier Jim Prentice earlier this year, the reaction of the public is more positive this month. In March 2015, a majority of Albertans (53%) rated the budget with poor marks.

When asked about the impact of the latest budget, at least two-in-five Albertans expect it to be negative on the province as a whole (48%), their household (45%) and their municipality (41%). In March, at least three-in-five Albertans foresaw a negative impact for each of these three levels.

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.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from November 6 to November 10, 2015, among 619 adult Albertans. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.9 percentage points. Click here 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: Premier of Alberta