The first known poll after the historic 2015 Alberta election has been released. What a truly historic election it was – the longest-lasting political dynasty in Canadian history (Progressive Conservative Party) was taken down after 44 years by the New Democrats, a party that only a handful of years earlier was eyeing third place or possibly a weaker Official Opposition. The NDP swept to power with 54 out of 87 seats and 41% of the vote, beating the Progressive Conservatives (28%) and Wildrose (24%) by a landslide, and has been governing for a little over a month now. However, it appears that the swell of support for Rachel Notley’s NDP has ended, and the honeymoon is over for Premier Notley.
Currently, the Wildrose Party, which came second in seat count and third in the popular vote in the 2015 election, is leading with 33%. Notley’s NDP is in second place with 26%, the ousted Progressive Conservatives are in third with 20%, and the Liberals and Alberta Party trail with 3% and 2% support, respectively. 17% are undecided. Among decided voters, this breaks down to 40% Wildrose, 31% NDP, 23% Progressive Conservative, 4% Liberal, and 2% Alberta.
Here is the seat projection using my model:
Calgary: 37% Progressive Conservative (15 seats), 31% Wildrose (6 seats), 19% New Democratic (4 seats), 8% Liberal (1 seat), 5% Alberta (0 seats)
Edmonton: 63% New Democratic (21 seats), 17% Progressive Conservative (0 seats), 13% Wildrose (0 seats), 4% Liberal (0 seats), 3% Alberta (0 seats)
Rest of Alberta: 54% Wildrose (31 seats), 26% New Democratic (7 seats), 18% Progressive Conservative (2 seats), 1% Liberal (0 seats), 1% Alberta (0 seats)
Total: 40% Wildrose (37 seats), 31% NDP (32 seats), 23% Progressive Conservative (17 seats), 4% Liberal (1 seat), 2% Alberta (0 seats)
According to my model, Wildrose, with these numbers, would be forming a minority government with 37 seats, the NDP would take Official Opposition with 32 seats, the Progressive Conservatives would decline to 17 seats, the Liberals would keep their one seat in Calgary, and the Alberta Party would be shut out of the legislature.
Regionally, each party faces a huge conundrum. The incumbent NDP is still remaining strong in Edmonton – so strong that it still sweeps Edmonton. However, their appeal has been significantly lost in Calgary and the Rest of Alberta. Edmonton simply does not have enough seats to sustain the NDP’s governance, so they will have to up their game. However, it won’t be easy with two highly competitive parties leading in each of those regions. Wildrose has a potential stronghold in Alberta outside its two major cities, but in order for it to secure a majority, it will have to make gains in Calgary, because the NDP has Edmonton under lock and key. The Progressive Conservatives, likewise, can find a stronghold in Calgary once more, but it faces severe trouble without Edmonton and the Rest of Alberta, regions in which they are lagging. It is extra-difficult for the party as well, since they have just gotten out of government, and voters are not likely to warm up to them again in the near future.
The centrist parties, the Liberals and Alberta Party, face a huge problem for their survival – their respective support bases are small. The Alberta Liberals have been the victim of infighting for some time, and currently do not have a permanent leader. It remains to be seen whether interim leader David Swann will run for the permanent leadership. He is the only Liberal MLA, which would normally make him a shoe-in, but he will be 70 years old the next time the 2019 election rolls around, and there is no guarantee that he could win the party anything other than his own seat, like what happened under his watch in 2015. The Alberta Party under Greg Clark is still low on support, and will have to become more competitive in Calgary in order to retain his seat. With word flying around about a possible merger, it can be said with these numbers that it may be in the interest of both parties to discuss such a move.