Mainstreet Research, is back in the field in Alberta after not being in the province since October. The last polling firm to hit the province was ThinkHQ, and the poll showed inklings of a three way race developing, with Wildrose at 33%, the NDP at 29%, and the Progressive Conservatives at 25%. This came with a seat projection of 40 Wildrose, 32 New Democrats, 12 PC’s, and 3 Liberals.
In Mainstreet’s latest poll, Wildrose remains in first at 33%. However, second place now belongs to the Progressive Conservatives, who are at 31%. This is simply stunning. Not only has it not even been a year since they were ousted from 44 years of power, but they do not currently have a permanent leader, which has a tendency to hurt parties in polls. The governing NDP is now in third at 27%. The Liberals and the Alberta Party bring up the rear with 5% and 4%, respectively.
Here is the seat projection with those numbers:
Edmonton: 48% New Democratic (21 seats), 20% Progressive Conservative (3 seats), 18% Wildrose (2 seats), 9% Liberal (0 seats), 5% Alberta (0 seats)
Calgary: 32% Wildrose (10 seats), 29% Progressive Conservative (6 seats), 24% New Democratic (5 seats), 9% Liberal (0 seats), 7% Alberta (0 seats)
Rest of Alberta: 38% Wildrose (20 seats), 35% Progressive Conservative (14 seats), 22% New Democratic (6 seats), 3% Liberal (0 seats), 2% Alberta (0 seats)
Total: 33% Wildrose (32 seats), 31% Progressive Conservative (23 seats), 27% New Democratic (32 seats), 5% Liberal (0 seats), 4% Alberta (0 seats)
The seat projection that comes with these numbers is even more interesting, and telling of party strategies needed going forward. The NDP, despite being third in the popular vote, ties with Wildrose for first place in the seat count. This is due to its wide margin of victory in Edmonton. If the NDP wishes to remain with a minority government, it has to reassert itself in Calgary. Its status in the Rest of Alberta is likely a lost cause for now, but a strategy targeting urban areas would likely be the most optimal right now.
Wildrose, despite being in first, has a significant problem on its hands that reduces the efficiency of its vote share, and that problem is the Progressive Conservative Association. The PC’s are eating heavily into Wildrose’s lead in Alberta outside its two major metropolitan areas, which is key to Wildrose’s success. Wildrose’s main job is to fight against PC gains and consolidate the right-wing vote.
The Progressive Conservatives are in a much better place than they were two months ago. They are now in second place in both major cities and in the rest of Alberta. The problem is that they are not in first place anywhere. They have the launching pad by which to bounce to a victory, but they have to use that launching pad. The Liberals did this in 2015, and it worked.
The centrist vote that the Liberals and Alberta Party are fighting for would be most efficient if the two parties merged. This is not too likely at the moment, given Laurie Blakeman’s loss in 2015, since she was the most vocal proponent of the merger. For what it’s worth, though, the parties if they combined their vote would have gotten 3 seats, which is better than the 0 each of them are projected to have.