NDP Alberta Polls: Will the NDP be able to win the Alberta elections in 2023?
As the 2023 Alberta provincial election approaches, recent polls reveal a tight race between the New Democratic Party (NDP) led by Rachel Notley and the United Conservative Party (UCP) under the leadership of current Premier, Danielle Smith. The election, scheduled for May 29, 2023, will determine the new members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.
In 2015, the NDP, under the leadership of Rachel Notley, formed the government for the first time in Alberta. However, in 2019, the UCP unseated them, and Danielle Smith became the Premier. The upcoming 2023 election will be a test for both parties to prove their strength and appeal to the Alberta electorate.
NDP Alberta Polls: NDP Alberta Platform
During the Alberta NDP campaign launch for the 2023 provincial general election, NDP leader Rachel Notley focused on health care, education, and jobs as the party’s main priorities. Notley promised to attract more family doctors, reduce class sizes, revisit the controversial Alberta curriculum, and diversify the provincial economy. She also criticized the UCP’s proposed tax cuts, saying that her government would instead focus on making life more affordable for lower-income individuals without tax cuts, and put a freeze on any tax increases. Here are elements of the NDP’s Alberta Platform
- Implement Todd Hirsch’s fiscal strategy: Adopt a financial plan that includes fixed non-renewable resource revenues for base budgeting, determining a goal for the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund, and maintaining a maximum net debt/GDP ratio of 30%.
- Enhance competitiveness, job opportunities, and investment strategy: Address stalled wage growth and investment by implementing policies that foster a competitive environment, create good-paying jobs, and promote long-term economic stability.
- No increase in personal income taxes: Commit to not raising personal income taxes, enabling Albertans to retain more money and cope with the ongoing affordability crisis.
- Freeze tuition and reverse tuition hikes: Ensure higher education remains accessible by freezing tuition fees and reversing the latest round of tuition increases enacted by the UCP.
- Protect pensions and support seniors: Safeguard retirement savings and ensure seniors’ benefits, income supports, and AISH payments are maintained or increased, providing essential support to vulnerable populations.
- Improve access to family healthcare: Provide healthcare services to one million more Albertans by expanding family care teams, rural broadband, and building new hospitals, such as the Stollery Children’s Hospital and the South Edmonton Hospital.
- Establish a healthcare innovation challenge fund: Create funding opportunities to find innovative solutions to the crisis in healthcare, improving overall health services and access for Albertans.
- Provide affordable housing: Offer safe and affordable housing options for 40,000 Albertans, addressing public safety and housing issues in cities like Lethbridge and supporting economic growth in areas like Calgary.
- Support Alberta agriculture and protect the environment: Encourage local food production and value-add initiatives, ban coal mining in the Rockies, and work towards sustainable environmental policies.
- Foster innovation and economic growth: Invest in projects like the Lakeview Business District in St. Albert, the Industrial Heartland Interchange, and the Downtown Calgary Campus, promoting innovation and economic growth across Alberta.
NDP Alberta Polls: The Current State of the Campaign
Various polls, such as Ipsos, Abacus Data, and Innovative Research, show a close contest between the NDP and the UCP. However, the seat forecasts predict that UCP’s Danielle Smith may return as Premier. This indicates that while the NDP has gained ground in recent polls, it may not be enough to secure a majority government. The Alberta Party, led by Barry Morishita, will also participate in the election, potentially impacting the overall outcome.
A closer examination of the polls reveals that the UCP performs best among men, older Albertans, and those living outside Calgary and Edmonton. In contrast, the NDP does better with women, younger voters, and Edmonton voters. The two parties share roughly equal support among voters aged 35 to 54. This suggests that the NDP may struggle to win the support of key demographics that typically decide elections.
Both the NDP and the UCP face negative sentiment among the electorate. The UCP’s negative sentiment, at -42%, could be attributed to allegations surrounding Danielle Smith’s office and dissatisfaction with some of her policy proposals. The NDP’s negative sentiment, at -37%, could stem from lingering dissatisfaction with their previous term in government.
Premier Danielle Smith’s approval rating currently sits at 46%, which is close to what polls predict for the UCP. If her approval rating is accurate, the UCP may win a higher share than poll predictions suggest. However, if the party poll predictions are correct, Smith’s approval rating may be lower than reported. NDP leader Rachel Notley’s approval ratings are lower than her party’s ratings, which could hinder the NDP’s chances of winning the election. The party will need to find ways to bolster Notley’s image and present a more united front to appeal to undecided voters.
Calgary is expected to be a pivotal battleground in the next election, potentially deciding the final outcome. Political experts say that the NDP will need a landslide to overtake Danielle Smith’s government in the city. To secure a 44-seat majority, the NDP would require around 24 seats from Calgary, whereas the UCP would only need 3 seats.
A poll reveals that at least one-fifth of UCP voters from 2019 remain undecided about voting for Smith as their Premier again. However, since these undecided voters have not moved to the NDP, they are likely to become stay-at-home conservatives.
The UCP government has released a ‘chicken-in-every-pot’ budget and is spending heavily on campaign ads to promote their plans to ease inflation. However, this effort does not seem to be impacting the polling numbers, with the opposition leading almost all polls in the past month.
NDP Alberta Polls: The Road Ahead for NDP in the Campaign
For the NDP to manage a victory in May, they will have to break a century-old record of Alberta elections by being the left-leaning party to outpoll the more right-leaning party without vote splitting. Since vote splitting is highly unlikely, we might see more of Premier Smith in the upcoming term. To achieve a victory, Rachel Notley and the NDP must devise a strategic campaign that can win at least 80 percent of Calgary seats and make significant gains in rural and smaller communities of Alberta.
As the election campaign unfolds, both the NDP and the UCP will need to work tirelessly to earn the trust and support of the Alberta electorate. With polls showing a deadlocked race, every seat will be crucial in determining the outcome of the 2023 Alberta provincial election.