Notley chosen as best pick for premier in poll
But PC leader’s popularity has dropped
One in three Albertans think NDP Leader Rachel Notley would make the best premier — and 44 per cent in Edmonton — but current Progressive Conservative Leader Jim Prentice is nearly as popular in Calgary and rural Alberta.
However, 51 per cent of Albertans say their opinion of Prentice has worsened in the past month — compared with 10 per cent who say it’s improved — while 47 per cent say their opinion of Notley has improved, according to a Leger poll conducted for the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal.
“What is very interesting is how poorly people are perceiving Jim Prentice now,” said Ian Large, Leger’s Alberta vice-president.
“Last year and in the fall he was riding very high in the polls and people very much liked him. Clearly over the last month or so, people’s opinions of him worsened considerably.”
The online survey of 1,180 voters across Alberta was conducted between Sunday and Tuesday.
One-third of Albertans say Notley would be the best premier and 44 per cent of Edmontonians feel that way, but only 28 per cent in Calgary and the rest of the province rate her No. 1.
Prentice was chosen as the best choice for premier by 24 per cent of Albertans polled — and only by 21 per cent in the capital city — but outside Edmonton, he was statistically tied with Notley when the margin of error is considered with 27 per cent support in Calgary and 25 per cent in rest of Alberta.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean was the favourite of 11 per cent of all Albertans surveyed and 12 per cent of Calgarians, while Liberal interim leader David Swann was the choice of four per cent of Albertans and six per cent of Calgarians.
Only two per cent of Albertans chose Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark as the best, but he garnered four per cent in Calgary.
Large said Prentice’s sharp drop in support could stem from his comment in early March that Albertans should “look in the mirror” if they wanted to know who was responsible for the province’s financial woes, as well as his remark to Notley that “math is difficult” during last Thursday’s televised debate.
But he said the Tory leader was doing so well in opinion polls previously that perhaps a drop was inevitable.
“It is surprising he has gone down this far, though,” Large said.
“This is not looking good for the Conservatives at the moment, but that doesn’t mean — as we saw three years ago — that over the next four or five days it can’t change dramatically,” Large said.
The pollster said Notley’s sudden rise in popularity is “particularly interesting” since she was relatively unknown a few months ago.