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Alberta NDP Headed to a Win, Likely a Majority


[Ottawa – May 4, 2015] In what has been the most unusual election campaign in recent memory, Alberta’s NDP appears poised for a historic breakthrough. It seems that Mr. Prentice’s gambit to secure a fresh mandate has backfired and, given the vagaries of Alberta’s first-past-the-post electoral system, the party that has enjoyed 12 consecutive majority governments may very well be relegated to third place.

Of course, the wild card in all of this will be turnout. The NDP do extremely well with younger generations (who are not particularly dependable when it comes to showing up to the polls), but the race for the senior vote – a cohort that consistently and reliably votes in record numbers – is much tighter. However, this disadvantage is offset by the NDP’s enormous advantage with the educated vote (both university and college graduates). In either case, we know that there will be differences between our sample and the final election results given that a significant number of Albertans likely will not vote in tomorrow’s election. Nevertheless, with a 22-point disadvantage and seat efficiency working against them, the Progressive Conservatives have virtually no chance of winning in this election.




Regional differences and seat distribution

Given our extensive testing in the past, we are not going to offer up a “likely voter” model. We have, however, conducted our own internal seat projections and the results are pretty clear. The NDP are poised to sweep Edmonton. The Wildrose Party, while statistically tied with the Progressive Conservatives in terms of the popular vote, sees its support concentrated outside the major cities which gives the party a major advantage in terms of seat efficiency. Support for the Progressive Conservative Association, on the other hand, is fairly evenly distributed throughout the province, meaning that the party could be looking at a single-digit seat tally on Tuesday. Finally, the distant-fourth-place Liberals are largely concentrated in Calgary, meaning there is a good chance they will retain at least some representation in the Alberta Legislature.


Conclusions and implications for the federal horserace

Comparing this week’s results to last week’s release, the numbers are highly stable, although our internal tracking shows a modest uptick in NDP support over the last two weeks. There are no signs of any last-minute shifts and the underlying regional and demographic patterns have not changed. These results are not a blip and even with differential turnout, the NDP are almost certainly going to win and are likely to capture a majority.

This election is going to show the power of a unified progressive vote (bolstered by the labour vote). This election is unfolding in a jurisdiction which, in an exquisite juxtaposition of the federal scene, features a split right-wing vote and a united progressive vote (both of which are absent at the federal level). Furthermore, we have seen a remarkable rejection of Progressive Conservatives by Alberta’s “elite” (i.e., the university educated). Are the latte-sipping elites weary of the anti-intellectualism and indifference – even hostility – to professionalism and science evident in some of the conservative movement in Canada? All of this remains important to watch.




This study was conducted using High Definition Interactive Voice Response (HD-IVR™) technology, which allows respondents to enter their preferences by punching the keypad on their phone, rather than telling them to an operator. In an effort to reduce the coverage bias of landline only RDD, we created a dual landline/cell phone RDD sampling frame for this research. As a result, we are able to reach those with a landline and cell phone, as well as cell phone only households and landline only households.

The field dates for this survey are April 29-May 3, 2015. In total, a random sample of 823 Alberta residents aged 18 and over responded to the survey. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/-3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Please note that the margin of error increases when the results are sub-divided (i.e., error margins for sub-groups such as region, sex, age, education). All the data have been statistically weighted by age, gender, and educational attainment to ensure the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population of Canada according to Census data.

Click here for the full report: Full Report (May 4, 2015)

3 comments to Alberta NDP Headed to a Win, Likely a Majority

  • Reverberat

    AB, just watch out for mailings with incorrect polling locations and robocalls.

    Trickery is afoot.

  • David Cowl

    Fascinating analysis. Your prediction was spot on. Now that the election is over I would be interested in knowing how people actually voted based on age, gender and education level.

  • Monica Kavanaugh

    Now that voting is over, I would love to find out if people fill they made the right choice or not and the reason for there answer. Both in the Alberta Election and the Federal Election.

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