Elections Alberta recently updated the quarterly reports for fundraising by political parties in the province.
As several media outlets have mentioned (see here), the NDP outraised the UCP during the second quarter of 2021. The governing UCP raised $715,886.71, while the official opposition raised more than twice that amount: $1,515,419.87.
And while it’s significant that the party currently in power is being out-raised by the official opposition, this doesn’t really tell the entire story.
For that, we have to go back to the beginning.
According to Elections Alberta records, the UCP didn’t start fundraising until the summer of 2017, so the data I’m going to look at in this article will cover the period between then and June 2021.
What we see in the above chart is that the NDP were outraising the UCP during the last half of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018. Then the UCP overtook them, and they pretty much held a lead over the opposition until last spring
Since the second quarter of 2020 (basically the start of the pandemic), the NDP have outperformed the UCP in fundraising. That’s 5 consecutive quarters where the UCP have consistently been in second place.
Not only that, but they’ve raised so much more than the UCP during that time, that they’ve raised more overall since 2017.
Here, look at this:
|Since January 2020||$7.761 million||$4.984 million|
|Since 2019 election||$10.678 million||$8.488 million|
|Since July 2017||$17.532 million||$17.319 million|
The NDP have raised $2.777 million more than the UCP since last January, $2.190 million more since the election, and about $214,000 more since the UCP started fundraising.
Over the last 4 years, the NDP outraised the UCP, despite the UCP having a combined $3 million lead going into 2020.
And this isn’t a recent phenomenon either: the NDP have been overpowering the UCP nearly the entire time.
Let me show you what I mean.
This chart shows how much each party raised each year. Remember, 2017 was only the last half of the year and 2021 is only the first half of the year.
Clearly, the UCP outraised the NDP in both 2018 and 2019, but there’s something interesting about that. The gap between the two parties in 2019 is significantly smaller than the 2018 gap. Plus the gap for 2021 is larger than in 2020, and both years the NDP turned the tables on the UCP.
Even though the NDP raised less than the UCP in 2019, they narrowed the gap, then continued that trend for the next two years.
Here, maybe this chart will do a better job of showing you what I’m talking about.
In 2018, the NDP raised about 36% less than the UCP. But the following year, they raised only about 12% less. Then last year, they passed the UCP, raising about 26% more. And so far this year, they’ve outraised them by over 54%.
The gap between the two parties is bigger now than it was 4 years ago, but in favour of the NDP.
The NDP outraising the UCP isn’t something that’s unique to this quarter or even to this year. It appears to have been a long-term strategy for several years, perhaps even prompted by the results of the provincial election.
And if the UCP doesn’t do something soon, the 2023 election will be here before they know it, and they may be outspent during the campaign.