Tag Archives: PARTIES

IMPORTANT RACES TO WATCH AND MY PREDICTIONS

It is election day in Alberta and before I have anything else to say, I have this important thing to say: VOTE!

It will only take a few minutes but it is fundamentally important to our province. Before the campaign started, many pundits were predicting a strong PC majority and very low voter turnout. But, by today, we have laid witness to one of the most profound and interesting campaigns of the last 44 years. Be a part of it.

Without further adieu, I would like to outline a few close races to watch for as the results pour in and also to offer my predictions for the final tally.

Bellwether Ridings

Keep an eye on these ridings, which appear to be some of the closest competitions in the election. The results for these bellwether ridings will help to indicate how well any particular party will do and what the end result may be across the province.

Three Calgary area ridings will be close three-way races between the PCs, WRP and NDP. Each has a PC incumbent, but no real star candidates. These results should indicate the relative strength of any of the three parties in Calgary

  • Calgary-Hawkwood
  • Calgary-Lougheed
  • Calgary Northern Hills

One more riding in Calgary will be close, although the NDP will likely be further behind. It also features a former Wildrose party president dropping the gloves against the Redford-era bullying minister.

  • Calgary-North West

Edmonton is looking like an NDP sweep, but if the Tories can hold a few ridings here, albeit with high profile candidates, it will show some potential strength. Watch these ridings:

  • Edmonton-Millcreek
  • Edmonton-Rutherford
  • Edmonton-Whitemud

A few races outside of the big metros should be quite close and results could be extrapolated to show the provincial trends:

  • Ft McMurray – Conklin: Wildrose leader takes on PC minister with a strong NDP campaign. Three way race.
  • Lesser Slave Lake: Long term PC MLA in a three-way race.
  • Sherwood Park: Two former mayors fight with NDP hot on heels.
  • Spruce Grove-St. Albert: @308dotcom projects NDP win in Horner country, but I’m not convinced.

Other Interesting Ridings

These ridings may not necessarily be the closest ridings, but for one reason or another offer a compelling reason to watch.

Calgary Buffalo: Incumbent Liberal MLA Kent Hehr has decided to take a run at federal politics. The Liberals put up a strong candidate in David Khan, but so did the PCs in Terry Rock. The Orange Wave could still play spoiler.

Calgary Elbow: This rematch of the fall 2014 by-election pits PC Education Minister Gordon Dirks against Alberta Party leader Greg Clark in a traditionally strong conservative riding. Polls and pundits have called this race neck-in-neck.

Calgary Mountain View: Interim Liberal leader, David Swann, is a confident, smart, respectable and well-liked MLA, but he could fall victim to an NDP surge in one of the few ridings that will be fought on the left end of the spectrum. It would be a shame if Swann were to be kept out of the leg.

Edmonton Centre: Laurie Blakeman is an outstanding MLA and deserves big kudos for the victory on GSAs, but she is facing stiff challenge from the NDP’s David Shephard. If the leg were to lose Blakeman it would be a big blow but it would not be her fault.

Both Chestermere-Rocky View and Calgary Acadia have had interesting candidate stories, so they will be fun to keep an eye on, but I suspect they both go Wildrose.

My Prediction

Just because it’s fun to do, I’m guessing we will see an NDP minority.

  • NDP: 37 seats
  • Wildrose: 29
  • PC: 19
  • Liberals: 1
  • Alberta Party: 1

We’re in Alberta and we have a rare close and exciting campaign, so at the end of the day, Albertans will win.

MY MLA? OL’ WHAZHIZFACE?

I have a question for you, dear reader. What factor was the biggest factor that drove your voting decision in the 2012 Alberta election? Did you base your vote on a platform, a leader, a party, a local candidate or was it a combination of two or more factors?

The 2011 Canadian Election Study asked a similar question of 2500 voters after they voted in the 2011 federal election. Responding to the question, “Which of the following was most important in your decision to vote for  this party,” most voters said they liked the policies of the party they voted for and the next largest group said they didn’t like the other parties.

CES2011
-2011 Canadian Election Study

Much of the conversation after the 2012 Alberta election focused on how many progressives voted for the PC party because they liked Redford, liked the policy positions advanced by the Tories, or moreover, voted to stem the surge of the Wildrose party.

I would suspect that, like in the 2011 study, few people would say that they voted for the local candidate.  This is interesting because what we’ve learned since 2012 is that the only part of the vote that really counts at the end of the day is the local candidate.

Allow me to elaborate.

Perhaps you voted for one or more of the planks of the progressive platform promoted by the PC party. You were likely dismayed by their lack of action on things like a poverty reduction strategy or full-day kindergarten. But despite the almost wholesale abandonment of their election platform, you’re vote still stood. So, voting for the platform does not count.

15170423231_5b61b47957_z
Jim Prentice (credit: Dave Cournoyer)

Perhaps you are a PC voter who voted for the leadership of Alison Redford. You were likely upset by all of her controversies and, by the time of her eventual resignation, grew quite disillusioned by her leadership. But despite the party appointing a new leader, you were not given a new vote. So, voting for the leader does not count.

Danielle Smith (credit: Dave Cournoyer)
Danielle Smith (credit: Dave Cournoyer)

Let’s say you voted for the Wildrose party because of the party; because you were rejecting 40-plus years of one-party power in Alberta. You were likely upset by the mass defection of 12 MLAs from your party of choice – perhaps you watched your own MLA walk over to the party you were rejecting. It doesn’t matter; your vote still stood. So, voting for the party doesn’t count.

Dave Hancock (credit: Dave Cournoyer)
Dave Hancock (credit: Government of Alberta)

However, if you were one of the people who voted for Len Webber, Dave Hancock, Ken Hughes or Alison Redford as your local MLA, then you were one of the few people in Alberta, since 2012, who were asked to make a new choice. You got to vote again because your local candidate changed.

Policies change, leaders change and party affiliations change, but so long as your MLA is still prepared and able to sit in the house then your vote remains cast. To put it simply, in our parliamentary system, despite how you decide to cast your ballot, the only thing that legally matters at the end of the day is the local candidate who received the most votes.

This is important to keep in mind as we prepare to screen a new set of candidates, leaders, platforms and parties in another provincial election.

 

P.S. – For what it’s worth, by the way, I’m predicting that the writ will be dropped on March 16 for an April 13 election date.