Last month, 338Canada updated their electoral projections for Alberta, and they’re showing a lead for the NDP in both Lethbridge ridings.
In Lethbridge–West, 338Canada projects the NDP winning about 54.7% of the vote. Shannon Phillips, the incumbent in the riding, already represents the party here.
This is the highest popular vote share that the political analysis site has projected the NDP winning in this riding since at least February 2020, as well as the first time the party has been projected to win over 50% of the popular vote here.
Phillips won the seat in the 2019 provincial election with only 45.2% of the popular vote, down from the 59.18% she received when she won the seat the first time, in 2015. The UCP candidate, Karri Flatla, nipped at her heels in the last election, finishing with 44.3% of the popular vote in 2019.
338Canada projects the UCP getting only 27.9% of the popular vote in Lethbridge–West, its lowest showing since February 2020 and the first time the UCP have dropped below 30%. In fact, over the last 10 months or so, none of 338Canada’s projections have shown the UCP with more than 38% of the popular vote.
The NDP and the UCP are so far apart in this latest projection that even with the margins of error, their projections don’t overlap.
The party with the next highest popular vote projection last month was the Independence Party of Alberta, with 7.5%.
338Canada gives the Alberta NDP a greater than 99% chance of winning this riding.
Even though 338Canada is projecting an NDP lead in Lethbridge–East, that lead in the popular vote is much narrower than that seen in the neighbouring riding.
338Canada projects the NDP winning 43.4% of the popular vote in Lethbridge–East, barely beating the UCP, who are close behind at just 41.3%.
That comes with a huge caveat though.
The margin of error for the NDP in this riding is 1.9 points, which could see them winning as little as 41.5% of the vote, only 0.2 points ahead of the UCP.
Plus, the UCP have a margin of 8.4 points, which means they could place as high as 49.7%, which would give them nearly a majority of the popular vote.
Nathan Neudorf, the current incumbent in Lethbridge–East, represents the UCP in that riding. He won the seat in the 2019 election with 52.4% of the popular vote. Maria Fitzpatrick, the previous NDP incumbent, lost her seat and won only 38.7% of the popular vote, down from the 47.49% she received when she won the seat in 2015.
Since February 2020, 338Canada has projected a close race in this riding, with severe overlap between the two parties and neither getting more than 45% of the popular vote since last March.
The party with the next highest projected share of the popular vote is, like in Lethbridge–West, the Independence Party of Alberta, at 7.4%.
Even with no party projected to win a majority of the popular vote, 338Canada predicts the odds of winning the riding at 60% for the NDP and 40% for the UCP. For most of the last 10 months, all but 3 of 338Canada’s projection favoured the NDP winning Lethbridge–East.
This will be an interesting riding to watch in 2023, as it has a varied recent electoral history, with voters choosing representatives from the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, and NDP over the last 20 years.
We can probably expect to see lots of visits from Rachel Notley and Jason Kenney leading up to and during the 2023 election campaign, as they try to swing voters to their candidates.