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Think HQ survey shows dead heat in Alberta provincial party support

Four in ten Albertans don't really like the UCP or the NDP.

The United Conservative Party and the Alberta NDP are in a dead heat in the run-up to the next provincial election, according to new survey from Calgary-based ThinkHQ.

The survey also shows that nearly four-in-10 respondents don’t like either party alternative.

This was an online survey of 1,144 adult Albertans done between on Jan. 19 and 20 drawn from a random, stratified sample of the Angus Reid Forum panel. It’s been weighted to reflect gender, age, and region of Alberta according to statistics Canada. The margin of error for a similar randomized survey would be three per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The UCP hold the margin-of-error edge 48 per cent to 45 per cent over the Alberta NDP across the province. The NDP has a wide lead in Edmonton, but the UCP have a slight lead in Calgary and a wide lead in the north and central regions (62 per cent, 67 per cent respectively.)

The Alberta Party lags in all areas of the province, scoring no more than five per cent in Calgary.

Men 35+ are more likely to vote UCP, but the 18-34 age group for men drops nearly 20 per cent. Province-wide, the Alberta NDP is favoured by 55 per cent of women.

“As it sits today, the NDP can capture 20 seats out of Edmonton without breaking a sweat, and the UCP can say the same for most of the constituencies outside of the two biggest cities,” said ThinkHQ president Marc Henry in a prepared release.

“But, neither the UCP nor NDP have a clear lock on Government at this point – both are shy of the 44 seats required for a majority without capturing ‘leaning’ or ‘toss up’ constituencies.”

Battleground Calgary

Henry said that Calgary will be the deciding point for the election.

“Calgary will be the real battleground for seats: 26 within city limits, 29 including others in the CMA,” Henry said.  

“It’s seat-rich and very divided today.”

The vote split narrows in Calgary to 47 for the UCP and 45 for the Alberta NDP.

But voters in many parts of the province might be holding their noses when they go to the ballot box for the scheduled May vote.

When survey respondents were asked if they agreed or disagreed with the statement “I don’t really like any of the party/leader choice in Alberta” 37 per cent agreed.

That’s especially pronounced among undecideds, Henry said.

“Eight-in-ten undecided voters don’t really like the alternatives. Even 1/4 – 1/3 of voters looking at the NDP or UCP aren’t especially happy about the decision,” he said.  

“With this in mind, turnout is going to be a decisive factor in the next election.”