New poll suggests more voters support UCP but NDP gaining ground 1 week before Alberta election

While the NDP continues to make up ground on the UCP, the conservative party led by Jason Kenney continues to hold more support from decided and leaning voters than any other single party ahead of Alberta’s election next week, according to the results of a new Ipsos/Global News poll that were released on Tuesday.

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“Alberta is always an interesting place to watch where campaigns happen,” said Gregory Jack, vice-president of Ipsos Public Affairs. “We’re a week out and our numbers are a great snapshot of what has happened in the last couple of weeks.

“We have seen a slight softening in [UCP support in] Calgary and the UCP maintaining their lead immensely in rural Alberta — or anywhere outside of Calgary and Edmonton frankly… and so that’s going to be interesting because… the UCP has a slight lead right now in Calgary and the NDP has a very strong lead in Edmonton.”

The poll was conducted between April 5 and April 9, shortly after the April 4 leaders debate.

The online survey gathered responses from 800 eligible voters in the province. Questions posed by the poll included who people would cast a ballot for if the election was held today and and which party leader would do the best job as premier.

According to Tuesday’s poll results, if an election were on the day respondents answered the survey, 47 per cent of decided and leaning voters said they would vote for the UCP, 39 per cent said the NDP, 10 per cent said the Alberta Party, two per cent said the Alberta Liberal Party and another two per cent said they would vote for another party.

When compared to March 19’s Ipsos/Global News poll looking at how much support each political party in Alberta has, backing for the NDP has risen by four percentage points, while support for the UCP dipped by five percentage points. The Alberta Party saw its support go up by four percentage points while the Alberta Liberal Party saw support slip by three percentage points.

“I’m not going to walk around the fact that we’ve seen certain allegations around UCP candidates on social media posts and what they’ve said in the past, that may have impacted the debate and what people think,” Jack said. “But we also polled on what people think about (NDP Leader) Rachel Notley’s economic policies and we saw that folks also felt a little bit uncomfortable with that, so those are kind of the two things that Albertans are approaching this election with.

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“They’re looking at Jason Kenney and the UCP and they’re asking, ‘Are these guys, or some of the people they’re running, fit to govern?’ At the same time, they’re asking, ‘Is the NDP economic policy something I want to support?’… that really is the crux of this campaign.”

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Jack also suggested the change in support for the Alberta Party is interesting.

“They’re really taking a kick at the tires on the Alberta Party right now and we’ll see if that holds.”

Where in Alberta different parties are getting their support

The UCP continues to have the most support from Calgary voters with 45 per cent of decided or leaning voters saying they would vote for them if an election was held today, according to the poll. However, that number is down from 57 per cent in the last Ipsos/Global News poll while the NDP’s support in Calgary has risen to 40 per cent from 32 per cent in that time.

“We’ve seen a bit of softening of support — in Calgary especially, but across the province — for the UCP,” Jack said. “We’re seeing the Alberta Party pick up a little bit more support in Calgary than we may have thought.

“It’s going to be interesting to see where the people in Calgary actually move their vote or stay where they were at the beginning of the campaign.”

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Meanwhile, in Edmonton, the NDP currently leads the UCP in support by seven percentage points. In the rest of Alberta, the UCP maintains a commanding lead with 57 per cent support compared to 29 per cent support for the NDP.

What are the issues?

Jack said while the latest poll numbers show there has been a slight decrease in the number of people worried about pipelines and a slight increase in the number of people worried about health care, he doesn’t necessarily think those are significant shifts in what matters to Alberta’s voters.

“I wouldn’t say that the fundamental issues that are driving the campaign have changed,” he said. “Albertans care about jobs right now and really this is a contest between the UCP and the NDP in terms of the leader of the NDP versus the issues that the UCP are managing. So it’s kind of like Rachel [Notley] versus the machine.

“I think the issues are the same [as the last poll]. Albertans care about pipeline, jobs and the economy.”

The latest survey found 36 per cent of respondents saw jobs and employment as the No. 1 issue this election, up six percentage points from the last poll. Pipelines ranked second and health care ranked third.

Importance of leadership

When asked who would make the best premier of Alberta, more respondents in the latest Ipsos/Global News survey said Rachel Notley than anyone else. Notley saw 32 per cent support for this question (up two percentage points from the last Ipsos/Global News poll) while Jason Kenney slipped five percentage points to 28 per cent. Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel and Alberta Liberal Party Leader David Khan both saw their numbers rise slightly.

“We polled this the last time too and I said to your colleagues at the time, that Notley was outpolling her party,” Jack said. “We’ve seen Jason Kenney’s numbers go down. We added a new question in this poll on whether or not people’s impressions have gone down or up on the parties and we see the UCP numbers actually pretty high on less favourable toward Jason Kenney.

“There is a shift. Rachel Notley is kind of ahead on the best premier, but not by much.”

Albertans head to the polls on April 16.

Poll methodology: These are the findings of a Global/Ipsos poll conducted between April 5 and 8, 2019. For this survey, a sample of 800 Alberta eligible voters was interviewed online via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources. The precision of Ipsos polls conducted online is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the overall results are accurate to within ±4.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all eligible voters been polled. 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.

You can view the poll results in their entirety below.