New poll shows UCP winning next election, yet most voters want new government

UCP have been losing support since they were formed in 2017, while NDP have been gaining support.

Innovative Research Group released today the results of a recent poll they conducted regarding the Alberta government.

The 54-page report is too long to cover every question they asked, so I’ll just highlight a few findings from it.

First things first. If an election were held today, more respondents indicated they’d vote UCP over any other party. However, at only 35%, the UCP don’t have particularly strong support. That being said, the next popular party was the NDP at only 27%, and ultimately, where the UCP’s competitors sit is far more important in an election than where they sit.

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That number is but a snapshot in time of voter intention, so what happens if we look at a longer trend?

What we see above is that since the formation of the UCP nearly 3 years ago—other than a couple of blips—they have consistently been losing support among Alberta voters. Conversely, the Alberta NDP have been trending upward in support.

When asked how satisfied they are with the provincial government, half of the respondents reported feeling dissatisfied, with the majority of those being “very dissatisfied”. The satisfied camp were at 43%, with only 1 in 10 respondents being “very satisfied”.

Interestingly, despite being largely dissatisfied with the provincial government generally, most respondents said that they approved how the government has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically regarding Jason Kenney, Alberta’s premier, most respondents said that they had remember reading, seeing, or hearing something recently about Kenney. Of those, more than half claimed that their impression of him worsened because of what they read, saw, or heard. Only 19% had an improved opinion of him because of what they read, saw, or heard.

The singlemost recalled issue among respondents was the treatment of doctors by the government, and nearly 4 out of 5 of them reported that their opinion of Kenney was worse because of what they read, saw, or heard about the way the government’s treating doctors.

In light of that, just over a year into the UCP’s 4-year term, a majority of respondents already want a change in government. Although those who think the UCP are still the best option (40%) are neck and neck with those who think they aren’t (42%).

When compared to other party leaders in the province, Kenney has the highest unfavourability rating. To be fair, the leaders of the Alberta Party and the provincial Green Party are quite new, and 3 out of 5 respondents didn’t recognize their names. Even David Khan, who ran in the last election and participated in leadership debates was unknown to a third of the respondents.

Between Kenney and Rachel Notley, however, Kenney is the least favoured of the two, with a unfavourability rating of 46%, compared to 39% for Notley. Likewise, only 37% of respondents saw Kenney in a favourable light, whereas 42% favoured Notley. Kenney’s height of favourability, since becoming leader of the UCP was this past May, when it sat at 45%.

On specific leadership qualities, Notley and Kenney are basically tied for strong leadership, competency, positive change, and standing for what respondents believe in. Notley, however, had a 10-point lead over Kenney on caring about people like the respondent. Kenney, on the other hand, outperformed Notley by nearly 20 points on being the most dishonest of the party leaders.

Since last May, Notley has improved on her leadership scores, while Kenney has worsened.

The poll was conducted 14–20 July 2020, with 344 Alberta adults participating. Results were weighted by age, gender, and region to ensure the overall sample reflected the provincial population, according to national census data.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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