Today is election day in Alberta and quite a day it will be. I am guaranteed to be glued to my television screen and interweb module well into the wee hours of the morning. I suspect that it will be late before we know who the premier will be and whether they will have a majority or minority government. I pity the people who will have to make projections for the media outlets. They will juggle the balance between trying to be first to call the election, while ensuring that their call is not a wrong call.
Nonetheless, for funsies, I am prepared to make a prediction:
- Wildrose – 45 seats
- PC – 36 seats
- NDP – 4 seats
- Liberal – 2 seats
While I have ended up at nearly the same result as Eric at threehundredeight.com, I feel it is important to note that I have done so by crunching my own numbers using 2008 results and current poll projections. The totals are nearly the same, but the ridings that make up the totals are different.
Having said that, there are a few things that I will be watching closely on election night.
1. Bellwether Ridings – ridings where early results will help determine the scope of the election. Wildrose wins in these close Calgary ridings will help to indicate the mood of Calgarians for change. Similarly, if PC can hold these two close central Alberta ridings, it should indicate that rural Albertans might be less ready to risk it with the Wildrose.
- Calgary Cross
- Calgary Currie
- Calgary East
- Calgary Foothills
- Lacombe Ponoka
- Wetaskiwin Camrose
2. Other interesting ridings
- Edmonton Centre – Everyone is talking about Glenora, but I think it is safer for the incumbent than this seat which is as likely to go PC or NDP as opposed to staying with Liberal Laurie Blakeman. I say Blakeman stays.
- West Yellowhead – Should be a safe PC riding, but has had a strong showing for the NDP in the past. If Alberta party leader Glenn Taylor can convince labour supports to vote for him, he could steal the riding. My prediction is for Robin Campbell.
- Calgary Elbow – Having been the home of former Premier Ralph Klein, Elbow must be getting accustomed to hosting the premier. Will their member be Premier, leader of the opposition or a giant killer in a new Wildrose government? I say Redford holds.
- Edmonton Glenora – Of course, this one is being dubbed as the five way race so everyone will be keeping an eye on it. I believe that Klimchuk will be able to hold it and it won’t be as close as everyone is anticipating.
- Edmonton Meadowlark – It is hard to say how many voters who voted for Raj Sherman as a PC will stick with him as a Liberal, but floor crossers are rarely punished in Alberta and he will have the advantage of being a party leader. I say Sherman holds.
- Edmonton Riverview and Edmonton GoldBar – Both ridings were previous Liberal strongholds, but popular MLAs Taft and MacDonald are not running. The NDP is making big pushes in both ridings, but progressive voters might coalesce around the PCs to stave off the Wildrose. I’m picking PC in both ridings.
- Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville – People here loved Ed Stelmach, some will backlash against the Tories for turfing him and reward the Wildrose who have fielded a strong candidate in Shannon Stubbs (seeking to beat the Premier at home), but others will see the Wildrose as the enemy that got rid of their guy and stay true blue. I think Fenske will keep the riding PC.
We shall check back on Tuesday to see how these predictions hold up.