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Alberta Election: UCP still leads by a wide margin, but gap with NDP has narrowed since election call

With early voting underway and less than a week until election day, the 2019 Alberta general election is still the United Conservative Party’s to lose, but the governing New Democratic Party has the momentum.

This, according to a new public opinion poll from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute, which finds the UCP lead has narrowed by about 12 percentage points since the beginning of the campaign. That said, Jason Kenney’s party still leads Rachel Notley’s NDP by 13 points.

Underlying this shift are huge advantages for the NDP in Edmonton and among younger and more highly educated voters – especially women – while the UCP finds its strength among older voters and those with lower levels of formal schooling – especially men.

With these trends in place, the question is whether this Alberta election will look more like 2012 – when the Wildrose Party held a polling lead throughout the campaign, but ultimately lost to the long-governing Progressive Conservatives – or 2015 – when Notley’s NDP converted its polling lead into a majority government, ending four decades of PC rule.

Late campaign surges for governing parties are hardly unprecedented. In 2013, the BC Liberals trailed the opposition NDP for weeks leading up to election day, but the deficit shrunk from double digits at the start of the campaign, and it evaporated completely once vote intention became vote reality.

More Key Findings:

  • Economic issues top Albertans’ list of key concerns as election day draws near. “Oil and gas/Pipelines” (45%), “the economy” (37%), and “jobs/unemployment” (30%) are seen as the top issues facing the province, dwarfing the next highest concern: “environment/climate change” (16%)
  • Jason Kenney and the UCP are seen as the best leader and party to deal with these key economic questions, while most Albertans (57%) say Rachel Notley “hasn’t done enough to stand up for Alberta’s oil and gas industry”
  • Whatever the outcome, Albertans overwhelmingly see this election as more important than previous ones. Fully eight-in-ten say this (83%), including six-in-ten who say it is “much more important”

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