The Calgary Herald Leger Poll is out but what does it tell us we did not already know? Not that it has a duty to show change, when there is none. Here are the results and the shifts since the last poll of those who identified as PC party supports...the key group:
If you could vote for the next Tory leader, who would you support?
Albertans PC Party - Supporters
Jim Dinning 18% 23%
Lyle Oberg 14% 16%
David Hancock 5% 4%
Ed Stelmach 5% 4%
Mark Norris 3% 3%
Ted Morton 4% 6%
Victor Doerksen 1% 2%
Gary McPherson 1% 1%
Other 3% 1%
Don't Know 37% 35%
Refused to answer/would not vote/spoil ballot 10% 4%
Source: Leger Marketing Margin of Error: 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20
© The Calgary Herald 2006
So far "Don't Know" is running the most successful campaign at 35% support. The more extreme anti-campaign reaction of the refused to answer, would not vote or the "message senders" by spoiling ballots is down from 10% to 4% - still a significant condemnation of how the PC Party is doing reflecting and connnecting with its membership.
Dinning looks to be a cinch for a second ballot position and a second ballot looks inevitable as well. Oberg is the "rebel" but with a "cause" and a style of governing that no one feels very comfortable with...and for good reason. Morton is still the sleeper but a real threat for second or third place, depending if Oberg crashes and burns - or not! Morton support is almost subliminal but very substantially grounded in the evangelical movement and old line Reformers. They are below the radar but will show up to vote for their ideology as embodied in Dr. Ted Morton.
The remaining candidates are not out of it and campaigns matter but what happens to the Progressive element in the PC Party if the third place candidate is a distant third regardless of who that is? Alberta will survive but will we be in such a state of political flux that we are unable to effectively respond to the times of great promise - and responsibility - that stretch out before us?
I think the hard core PC party membership better start thinking seriously about how it regroups and progresses forward after the selection process because all signs are pointing to an early election in 2007 - whether Albertans like the idea or not. That means a provincial, municipal and likely federal set of elections next year and another set of revisited leadership issues for those whose party's lose in the elections.
Will all the King's horses and all the King's men be up to the task or do we get a bunch of factions all splitting off and into their own "realities" and the PC machine breaksdown.
I will soon post more "Send 'Em a Message" survey results on the evaluation of the government's performance in key policy areas. A bit of a preview - except for getting some positive credit for cutting taxes - it is not a pretty sight.