It’s all rIght

Al­ber­tans like UCP but most think con­ser­va­tives feel en­ti­tled to gov­ern: poll

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - JAMES WOOD jwood@post­ @JamesWoodPress

CAL­GARY — Al­ber­tans be­lieve the NDP gov­ern­ment is way off track and have good feel­ings about the United Con­ser­va­tive Party, though there are still some reser­va­tions about the new op­po­si­tion party, ac­cord­ing to an An­gus Reid In­sti­tute poll.

The sur­vey con­ducted Sept. 5 to 19 shows 63% of re­spon­dents be­lieve that the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives and the Wil­drose join­ing to­gether to form the UCP is a good thing.

How­ever, more than half of re­spon­dents — 57% — agree that con­ser­va­tives in Al­berta feel en­ti­tled to gov­ern.

The on­line poll also shows that 47% of Al­ber­tans be­lieve the UCP will be too right-wing and a cen­trist al­ter­na­tive is needed, with 53% dis­agree­ing.

Shachi Kurl, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the An­gus Reid In­sti­tute, says the poll is good news for the UCP but shows the party should avoid the po­ten­tial pit­falls of be­ing too ar­ro­gant or ide­o­log­i­cal.

“I think what this says is that a dose of hu­mil­ity is go­ing to be im­por­tant to suc­cess for the United Con­ser­va­tive Party,” Kurl said in an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day.

The UCP, formed through a ref­er­en­dum of PC and Wil­drose mem­bers this sum­mer, will se­lect its first leader on Oct. 28 from among Brian Jean, Ja­son Ken­ney and Doug Sch­weitzer.

The poll shows Jean, the Fort McMur­ray-Con­klin MLA and for­mer Wil­drose leader, has an ap­proval rat­ing of 48%, com­pared to 38% for Ken­ney, the for­mer PC leader and fed­eral cab­i­net min­is­ter. Sch­weitzer, a Cal­gary lawyer, was not in­cluded in the poll.

Jean and Ken­ney have a higher ap­proval rat­ing than Premier Rachel Not­ley, who chalks up a 29% ap­proval rat­ing.

In even worse news for Not­ley’s NDP, 70% of the poll re­spon­dents agree that the gov­ern­ment is out of touch with what Al­ber­tans re­ally want.

Kurl said the NDP should be par­tic­u­larly con­cerned that four in 10 Al­ber­tans who voted for the party in the 2015 elec­tion be­lieve the gov­ern­ment is out of touch.

“Politi­cians have come back from num­bers like this. It’s not be­yond the realm of pos­si­bil­ity. But with a rein­vig­o­rated and re­united right-of­cen­tre move­ment in Al­berta, it doesn’t seem very likely today.”

Not­ley’s press sec­re­tary, Ch­eryl Oates, said in a state­ment that the NDP was fo­cused on job cre­ation, af­ford­abil­ity and pro­tect­ing health and ed­u­ca­tion.

“Al­berta is mov­ing for­ward. That’s our pri­or­ity and we’re go­ing to stay fo­cused on that work,” she said.

In a news re­lease, Jean’s cam­paign cited the An­gus Reid poll as only the lat­est to show him as more pop­u­lar than Ken­ney.

But Ken­ney spokesman Blaise Boehmer noted that the polling firm it­self ac­knowl­edged that the find­ings do not nec­es­sar­ily rep­re­sent the sen­ti­ments of the UCP mem­bers who will ac­tu­ally vote later this month.

The poll was con­ducted among a ran­dom­ized rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple of 606 Al­ber­tans who are mem­bers of the An­gus Reid Fo­rum.

On­line polls do not have a mar­gin of er­ror be­cause the sam­ple is not ran­dom but a prob­a­bil­ity sam­ple of this size would have a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or mi­nus four per­cent­age points, 19 times out of 20.

PoSt­meDia file

Ear­lier this year, Brian Jean and Ja­son Ken­ney an­nounce a deal to form a united con­ser­va­tive party in Al­berta.

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