Yesterday, the Canadian polling firm Angus Reid released the results of a recent poll that found Alberta’s Wildrose Independence Party rising in popularity.
The party, which is less than a year old and still has yet to vote in a permanent leader, received 16% of the support among 502 participants when asked which party they’d vote for if an election were held tomorrow.
That number jumps to 20% among participants who were decided voters or were leaning toward a party.
This is the highest level of support the new Wildrose party has received since its inception last summer after the Freedom Conservative Party and WEXIT Alberta merged.
Last month, the party reached 17% in a Mainstreet poll, and the most recent poll before that had them at only 6%.
Angus Reid’s most recent poll (March) didn’t even give pollsters an option of indicating WIP when asked.
This new development threatens the United Conservative Party’s chances as being reelected with a majority government in the next provincial election, to be held in less than 2 years.
In fact, among decided voters, the UCP received only 30% of responses. This is their worst showing since being elected in 2019. In addition, this polls Jason Kenney as having the lowest approval rating of all the premiers in Canada.
Not only that, but it puts them only 10 points ahead of the WIP. Last month, the UCP were 14 points ahead, and 2 months ago, they were 31 points ahead.
On that note, the UCP are closer to the WIP than they are to the NDP, who sit at 41% support among decided and leaning voters. That’s up 3 points from Mainstreet’s poll last month but unchanged from Angus Reid’s previous poll in March.
The UCP have bungled their COVID-19 response, with only 6% of participants indicating they thought the party has done a very good job and 22% thinking they did a good job, despite at one point having the worst COVID-19 outbreak in North America. By contrast, 28% said they did a poor job, and 38% said they did a very poor job.
NDP supporters and Wildorse supporters think the pandemic response has been poor, but for different reasons, with the former thinking they didn’t go far enough and the latter too far.
But it’s not just the pandemic response that concerns voters.
Participants were asked to rate how their government was handling 12 other areas, and the UCP didn’t receive majority support in any of them.
In 9 of the 12 categories, more people indicated “very poor job” than those who indicated any of the other 3 indicators. On health alone, nearly 1 in 2 respondents picked very poor job, 2 in 3 if you add in those who indicated “poor job”.
The UCP still have just under 2 years to turn things around. They have yet to deliver on their campaign slogan of jobs, economy, and pipeline.
However, once the pandemic winds down, people will likely go back to work, which will drive up unemployment. Even though employment levels will probably be similar to those prior to the pandemic, the UCP will be sure to milk any growth as much as they can, making it seem as though they were fulfilling campaign promises.
As well, the Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline is slated to be completed and in service by the end of next year, just months from the next provincial election. Despite the fact the project was made possible by lobbying from the Alberta NDP and the purchase of the project by the federal Liberals, the UCP will likely frame it as their doing. And another 2019 campaign promise fulfilled.
And if the UCP has enough to time to pump out “Jobs. Economy. Pipeline.” rhetoric and tell everyone, “See? We told you we could do it.”, they might be able to right this ship.
But that’s a pretty big if.