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Momentum not helping two main parties in Alberta election: ThinkHQ survey

One party in the Alberta election has positive momentum, according to a new survey, and it could help them squeak out a couple of critical seat wins.

ThinkHQ’s latest poll shows that coming off the leader’s debate last week, Stephen Mandel and the Alberta Party are the only ones with a net positive campaign momentum. Around 22 per cent of people surveyed say they feel better about the Alberta Party campaign, with 17 per cent saying they feel worse about it, for a net score of +5.

Comparatively, the Alberta Liberals were net zero and the Alberta New Democrats and United Conservative Party were -15 and -24, respectively.

With one week left in the campaign, ThinkHQ president Marc Henry said the modest Alberta Party momentum is a good sign, but the impact is limited, he said.

“It may help in a couple of seats. It may help Mandel get elected in (Edmonton) McClung and it may help Greg Clark (Calgary Elbow),” said Henry.

“Other than that, I don’t think (it will).”

With the two perceived front runners having significant decline in momentum, even though the survey shows more negative momentum for the UCP, it might be too little, too late.

“At this point if (the NDP) haven’t managed to shake conservative voters off their conservative leanings, it’s going to be pretty tough to shake,” said Henry, adding that of all the survey respondents, conservative voters were the most certain in their vote come April 16.

Henry also said voters that are being shaved off the UCP side aren’t necessarily going to the NDP.

“So, it means that if I convince someone not to vote conservative, it doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily voting for the NDP,” he said.

The poll was taken April 5 and 6 and surveyed 1,139 people and weighted to reflect age, gender and region of Alberta population, according to Statistics Canada. Though this online survey has a representative, but non-random sample a margin of error isn’t applicable. A typical survey of this sample size holds a margin of error of 2.9 per cent 19 times out of 20.

The numbers were tallied post debate and Henry thinks the plurality of respondent believe that Kenney did best and Notley did worst.

“If it did anything, what it might have done is stifled or stalled whatever momentum the NDP had going into it, which makes it awfully tough going into the last week,” he said.

Overall in the ThinkHQ poll, the UCP held a six-point lead province wide over the NDP, with the Alberta Party coming in at eight per cent, the Alberta Liberals at two per cent and the Freedom Conservative Party at one per cent. Thirteen per cent of respondents are undecided.

Henry said though the race seems tight province wide, it’s a tale of three area: Edmonton, Calgary and the rest of the province. The NDP hold a huge margin in Edmonton, but that’s flipped in Calgary.

“The province-wide vote share for the NDP, while closing on the UCP, is very inefficient,” Henry said.

“Notley’s problem is both geography and math; they are running up the score in Edmonton, but trail everywhere else. The vote splits that led to 15 NDP seats in Calgary in 2015 just aren’t there today.”

To join the ThinkHQ Ask Alberta panel, visit www.thinkhqconnect.com