Redford Starts Tenure as Premier with Large Lead in Alberta

Redford Starts Tenure as Premier with Large Lead in Alberta

The governing Progressive Conservative Party holds the upper hand in Alberta following the election of Alison Redford as leader, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 802 Alberta adults, 44 per cent of decided voters and leaners say they would cast a ballot for the Progressive Conservative candidate in the next provincial election, while 22 per cent would back the Wildrose Party.

The Liberal Party is third with 16 per cent, followed by the New Democratic Party (NDP) with 13 per cent, and the Alberta Party with two per cent.

The Tories are dominating in Calgary (46%) and are also in first place in Edmonton (38%). The Wildrose Party is clearly the preferred opposition party in Calgary, but is fourth behind the Liberals and the NDP in Edmonton.

The Progressive Conservatives are holding on to 70 per cent of their voters in the 2008 provincial election, while the Liberals keep 56 per cent of their voters.

The retention rate is better for the Wildrose Party (86%) and the NDP (83%), although the Wildrose Alliance only ran candidates in 61 of the province’s 83 ridings in the last provincial ballot.

Issues, Approval and Momentum

Health care (28%) is the most important issue facing the province for Albertans, followed by the economy (16%), government spending (11%), the environment (10%) and education (9%).

In stark contrast with the low numbers of her predecessor Ed Stelmach, Alison Redford holds an impressive approval rating this month (55%), followed by Wildrose leader Danielle Smith (35%), new Liberal leader Raj Sherman (30%), NDP leader Brian Mason (29%) and Alberta Party leader Glenn Taylor (12%). Redford is also the only leader to post a positive momentum score (+30), ahead of Mason (-4), Sherman (-5), Taylor (-8) and Smith (-11).

One third of respondents (32%) think Redford would make the best premier of Alberta, followed by Smith with 15 per cent. The remaining leaders are in single digits, and more than a third of respondents (37%) either select none of the leaders or are undecided.

On issues, Redford is seen as the best suited leader to deal with education (37%), federal/provincial relations (29%), the economy (26%), the deficit (25%), crime (24%) and job creation (22%). Redford is barely ahead of Mason on the environment (16% to 14%), and practically even with Sherman on health care (22% to 23%).

Analysis

Earlier this year, only a third of Albertans approved of the performance of outgoing premier Ed Stelmach. Now, after a few days on the job, Redford has evidently connected with the population, becoming one of the best rated provincial leaders across the country, and giving her party a sizeable lead over the closest competitor.

Redford is also preferred to other politicians on most of the issues rated, although Sherman—whose criticism of the Stelmach government’s emergency room policies led to his departure from the Tories to the Liberals—is regarded as a positive force on the health care file.

While the Tories are ahead of their rivals among decided voters, the party that has governed Alberta during the past four decades is still below their 2008 total of 53 per cent. One-in-four Progressive Conservative voters in the last election are now choosing the Wildrose Party. At this point, the Liberals are not in a position to fight for second place, and while the NDP is above its final result in the last election, their leader holds the highest level of disapproval in the province.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From October 17 to October 19, 2011, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 802 randomly selected Alberta adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Alberta. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.


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AlbertaAllison RedfordPremier

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