Brian Jean holds slight lead over Jason Kenney for preferred UCP leader come election time: Leger Poll

Just over half — 51 per cent — of those polled said they would not vote for the UCP at all

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An early poll suggests former Wildrose leader Brian Jean has a slightly better chance as a potential leader of the UCP come election time than current premier Jason Kenney.

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The online Leger poll of 1,000 adult Albertans from Nov. 16 to 29 found that 18 per cent said they would most likely to vote for Jean in the next Alberta provincial election compared to 15 per cent who would chose Kenney. Just over half — 51 per cent — of those polled said they would not vote for the UCP at all.

Former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith placed third with 11 per cent of the vote. Current UCP MLA Leela Aheer and former conservative MLA Derek Fildebrandt received three per cent and two per cent respectively.

Kenney’s popularity has slid throughout the pandemic with the most recent numbers giving him only 22 per cent support across the province. He will be facing a leadership review in the new year which is currently scheduled for April but could get bumped earlier if a contingent of dissenting constituency associations have their way.

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Jean, who lost to Kenney in the 2017 leadership race for the UCP, is currently seeking the UCP’s slot in the upcoming Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche byelection . Jean has criticized Kenney over his handling of the pandemic, going as far as calling for him to resign, and making it clear that he is interested in the top job.

“Something must be done or Rachel Notley will win the next election with an overwhelming majority. That will be bad for Alberta,”   he wrote on his Facebook page in November.

Kenney on the other hand, has taken swipes at Jean’s reliability and political history but said he would approve Jean’s nomination if that’s what the membership wants.

The latest polling, commission by Solstice Public Affairs, suggests Jean’s supporters skew towards being older and living in regions outside of Calgary and Edmonton.

Those who would not vote for the UCP are more likely to be women and Edmonton residents, the poll says.

Among those who said they would for vote for a specific UCP leader in the next election, 23 per cent said they would vote for the UCP regardless of who the leader was and 72 per cent would be more likely to vote UCP if their desired leader was elected.

Online polls cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population. If the data were collected through a random sample, the margin of error would be plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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