Opposition Wildrose Party Riding High in Alberta

PR Image - Alberta Legislature by Marcel Schoenhardt

Danielle Smith holds an impressive approval rating, as questions on health care and accountability continue to plague the provincial government.

Calgary, AB – The Wildrose Party holds an overwhelming lead in Alberta, as many voters are abandoning the governing Progressive Conservatives, a new Insights West poll has found.

The online survey of a representative sample of Albertans also shows that health care and accountability are the most important issues for residents, who are particularly critical of the way the current government has handled both files.

Voting and Leaders

Across the province, 50% of decided voters would support the Wildrose Party if an election took place tomorrow. The ruling Progressive Conservatives are a distant second with 21%, followed by the New Democratic Party (NDP) with 16% and the Liberal Party with 11%. One-in-four Albertans (25%) are undecided.

Slide1

Wildrose is particularly popular with decided voters over the age of 55 (55%) and those aged 35-to-54 (53%). The Progressive Conservatives are only holding on to 56% of those who supported the party two years ago, and are losing three-in-ten former voters (28%) to Wildrose.

Along with the high level of support for Wildrose, three-in-five Albertans (60%) approve of the way official opposition leader Danielle Smith is handling her duties. The rating is lower for Liberal leader Raj Sherman (42%), NDP leader Brian Mason (39%) and Premier and interim Progressive Conservative leader Dave Hancock (33%).

Smith also holds the best momentum score, with 22% of Albertans saying their opinion of her has improved over the past six months. The remaining leaders are in single digits on this indicator.

Issues and Government Performance

Health care (29%) is regarded as the most important issue facing Alberta, followed by accountability (22%), the economy and jobs (11%) and housing, poverty and homelessness (10%).

Three-in-five Albertans (61%) are satisfied with the way the government has handled crime and public safety, and half are content with its performance on the economy and jobs (50%) and the environment (49%). The level of satisfaction is lower for other files, including energy (44%), housing, poverty and homelessness (38%) and education (35%).

The top two issues for residents—health care and accountability—get the lowest ratings. Only one-in-four Albertans (25%) are satisfied with the way the government is handling health care, and even fewer (15%) say they are doing a good job on accountability.

“The striking figure on the performance question is that only 23% of Albertans who voted for the Progressive Conservatives in 2012 are satisfied with accountability,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “This shows that, despite Alison Redford’s decision to step down, a lot of work needs to be done to regain the confidence of the voters who gave the current government its majority mandate.”

Next PC Leader

Respondents were provided with a list of 13 politicians who may consider running for the Progressive Conservative leadership this year, and asked if they thought each one of them would be a good choice or a bad choice for the job.

Among all Albertans, former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice holds the highest marks (26% regard him as a good choice), followed by current finance minister Doug Horner (24%), current infrastructure minister Ric McIver (22%) and former energy minister Ken Hughes (17%).

When the views of those who voted for the Progressive Conservatives in 2012 are reviewed, Prentice is still first (33%), followed by Horner (32%), Hughes (27%) and McIver (26%).

“The notion of Prentice as the saviour of the PC brand holds some truth when it comes to name recognition and familiarity,” continues Canseco. “Still, he is not too far away from three other possible contenders who have provincial cabinet experience.”

 

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has ten full-time and five part-time employees.

 

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from April 23 to April 26, 2014, among 622 residents of Alberta who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
778-929-0490
mariocanseco@insightswest.com

 

Photograph: Marcel Schoenhardt