What you think about Alberta’s budget depends on how you feel about political parties more broadly.
On February 28th, the Alberta government unveiled its budget for the 2023/24 fiscal year.
INNOVATIVE conducted a post-budget pollfrom March 2nd to March 20th asking the opinions of 489 Albertans on various aspects of the budget. The results are weighted to 450 by age, gender, region, and education to ensure that the overall sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population according to Census data. A detailed methodology is provided in the report.
We find the government’s core supporters like the budget a lot, with 84% satisfied with the budget. Government opponents are equally likely to be dissatisfied (82%) with the budget.
However, it is the ambivalent voters who are the most significant factor in the equation. When voters were asked whether they feel it is time for a change, 65% agree and just 19% disagree. However, when asked if the United Conservative Party (UCP), despite its flaws, is still best suited to form the government, 43% agree. We use these two questions to segment voters as consistent government supporters, ambivalent voters, and consistent opponents.
Almost half (49%) of Alberta voters are consistent government opponents, while only 26% are consistent government supporters. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the government is headed for defeat. The Liberals, Alberta Party, Greens and Wildrose parties are all taking some of those government opponents, leaving the UCP and the NDP tied.
In the end the deciding factor will be the almost a quarter (24%) of the voters who have ambivalent views. Among these, some (8%) are unsure about the ‘time for a change’ questions and are less likely to vote. But the majority (16%) are ‘time for a change’ government supporters who want the government to perform better, yet still view the UCP as the lesser of two evils.
The key fact is that ambivalent voters are just not that ‘into’ this budget. Just 23% say they have read, seen or heard anything about it, meaning the views of most ambivalent voters have not been impacted by the budget. Those who have an opinion of the budget have mixed views. Over half (55%) say they are more satisfied with the government after the budget and 45% say the budget will lower unemployment. On the flip side, 49% think they will pay more in taxes, and 54% expect to pay more in fees.
The bottom line is that the budget seems to have confirmed the pre-existing opinions of both government supporters and opponents. Those who paid attention and had an opinion were divided, and the mixed reviews suggest that the budget has not swayed the minds of ambivalent voters.