The NDP have a growing lead over the UCP in Alberta’s horserace as satisfaction with the Alberta government reaches the lowest point we’ve tracked. This is the finding from INNOVATIVE’s September 2021 Canada This Month survey, with additional results drawn from a parallel survey. Both online surveys were in field from September 10th to 12th with a weighted sample size of 200 Alberta residents for the main survey and a weighted sample size of 175 in the secondary sample. Detailed methodology is provided in the appendix.
Attention to the Kenney Government
Just under half (48%) of Albertans have heard something about Jason Kenney and the UCP government in the last few days, and 72% of them say it was something that made them feel less favourable towards the Premier. Critically, this “negative impact” number is lowest it has been in our recorded tracking. For Kenney and the UCP, this is grim news.
This research finds that 71% of Albertans are dissatisfied with the performance of their provincial government. The public’s general satisfaction is clearly related to their approval of the government’s handling of COVID-19. The Alberta government has reached a new low on COVID approval, with 63% saying they disapprove of the government’s response. Further, 54% of Albertans say the provincial COVID restrictions are “too loose”, up from 49% in our July-August tracking. Dissatisfaction with Kenney’s government’s handling of COVID has allowed the NDP to take aim on this issue.
The impact of the public debate and the government’s management of COVID-19 has allowed the NDP to expand its lead over the UCP. When we look at the results among only decided voters, the UCP has only 31% of vote compared to the NDP’s 44%.
Party ID is the measure of the underlying strength of each party’s brand. Although UCP partisanship is down since the early summer, the party still holds an 8-point lead over the NDP in Party ID.
Although the UCP still has a brand advantage, they’ve lost some of the fervent support of their partisans. Only 63% of UCP partisans say they will vote for the UCP, while the NDP has 98% of partisans saying the same.
Although the UCP continues to have a strong lead on brand affinity (Party ID), the NDP is moving into a significant lead based on growing anger toward the government’s management of COVID. The Wildrose Independence Party is emerging as a meaningful force with 19% of second choice vote and 31% of Populist Conservative support, the party is still a distant challenger in the province at this time. Even a cursory look at the data shows that Kenney’s COVID response is proverbially “on the ballot”, and the NDP seemed poised to take advantage.