NDP bridging the gap, but not enough, as Alberta election campaign draws to a close: poll

With one day left for those Alberta voters who still haven’t cast a ballot, a new poll suggests the majority of the province’s support remains with the United Conservative Party.

The Global News/Ipsos poll released Monday shows that while support for the NDP has continued to grow through the campaign, it’s not enough to bridge the now 10-point gap between the official opposition.

Story continues below

Of the 1,202 people polled — both online and by phone — UCP support is up three percentage points among the leaning and decided voters, reaching 50 per cent. Support for the NDP has also grown slightly, up one percentage point to 40 per cent.

READ MORE: UCP leads NDP as 2019 election campaign underway, Albertans split on best leader: Ipsos poll

Support for the Alberta Party dropped three points since the last Global News/Ipsos poll was conducted post-leaders debate, which had pegged support for the party at 10 per cent. The Alberta Liberal Party saw a one-point drop in support, to just one per cent.

“I think Albertans have taken a good look at both parties — they’ve taken a good look at the Alberta Party as well — but it’s a two-horse race,” said Gregory Jack, vice-president of Ipsos Public Affairs.

What do voters see as their next government?

Voters have been consistently open to a change in government throughout the campaign, according to the three consecutive polls. Fifty-two per cent of those polled in the most recent survey said they believed the province needed a change in government — a one-per cent increase from the previous poll.

Many of those polled are also thinking that new government would be a majority one, with 40 per cent of respondents saying they expect the UCP to win a majority.

WATCH: Jason Kenney is optimistic he will win the Alberta election on Tuesday

Only 11 per cent said they could see an NDP majority, and few voters again said they saw a minority government in favour of either party as a possibility.

Regional split

Support for the two main players in the election has been varied across parts of the province since the start of the campaign, and the divide is maintained as the campaign enters its final two days.

Of the three major regions that will determine the outcome of the 2019 election, the poll shows the UCP has strong support in two of them: Calgary and the rest of the province outside Alberta’s two biggest cities.

READ MORE: Recession rebound: How Albertans are bouncing back differently by age, gender and region

The UCP has the support of 42 per cent of voters polled in the Calgary area and that number jumped higher to 51 per cent in the rest of Alberta.

“Our numbers would suggest the UCP has a good chance at capturing a lot of seats in those regions,” Jack said,

The NDP have held onto their support in Edmonton, though, with 40 per cent of those polled saying they’d vote for the party. The support drops to 33 per cent in Calgary and is lower again outside the major cities, with 25 per cent of those polled saying they’d vote NDP — slightly less than half of what exists for the UCP.

The key issues and who can address them

As voters cast their ballots, Jack said many are voting with issues in the front of their minds, and according to the poll, those issues are jobs and the economy, healthcare and pipelines.

“Folks are not voting for a person here, they’re voting for a party and a government,” Jack said.

Of the people that participated in the poll, the UCP emerged as the best party to make improvements on those important issues.

READ MORE: Alberta election promise tracker: Where do the parties stand on the major issues?

While confidence in the NDP increased on some issues, the UCP leads by nine points on taking control of job creation and the economy, according to the poll. The NDP is also lagging behind the UCP by eight points on the topic of building pipelines.

WATCH: Unpacking the politics of the Alberta election

The NDP had a 14-point lead over its main opponent when it comes to healthcare, though, with 40 per cent of those surveyed saying they believed that party would be more effective, compared to 26 per cent having confidence in the UCP.

The two are tied when it comes to confidence in improving and maintaining Alberta’s relationship with Ottawa, marking an eight-point jump for the NDP.

“The NDP ran a really good campaign and they did close the gap a little but but in the end it wasn’t enough to put them ahead,” Jack said.

“The UCP is in the lead, they’re in the lead on the issues.”

Leader VS. party

Despite 50 per cent of those polled saying they’d vote for the UCP, Rachel Notley still emerges as the most likeable leader who would be the best premier — a sentiment that’s been consistent through the campaign.

The poll shows potential voters see Notley as being twice as caring as Kenney and also bringing in higher ratings for competency, likeability and honesty.

READ MORE: Alberta Election Fact Check: myths and misconceptions of the carbon tax

Confidence in Notley as a leader jumped five points in the last week of the election to 37 per cent, the poll shows. Confidence in Kenney’s leadership also jumped, by seven points, to close that gap to just two percentage points.

Albertans head to the polls for the 2019 election on Tuesday, April 16.

These are the findings of a Global/Ipsos poll conducted between April 11 and 14, 2019. For this survey, a sample of 1,202 Alberta eligible voters was interviewed, including 801 online via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources and 401 by CATI phone surveys (mix of cell and landlines). These data have been weighted by age, gender, region and education to reflect the Alberta population according to Census figures. The precision of Ipsos polls conducted fully or partly online is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the overall results (1,202 interviews total) are accurate to within ±3.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all eligible voters been polled. Some questions are based only on the sample of 801 online respondents and are accurate to within ±3.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.