It’s all rIght
Albertans like UCP but most think conservatives feel entitled to govern: poll
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.
Earlier this year, Brian Jean and Jason Kenney announce a deal to form a united conservative party in Alberta.