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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Whether to Vote in Bad Weather Key to Third Place

Leger Marketing Poll of PC party members of record as at November 6th and polled between November 18 and 21 has some telling findings. We all know it has limitations because many campaigns have not turned in their memberships and many that were turned in did not have phone numbers so they were not contacted. The randomness is not in question but there is some self-selection at play all the time and especially here. Like do we know how many calls they had to make to get 801 who were prepared to answer the questions? Were the no-phones from a specific region? It all could have an impact on the results.

That aside, there are some interesting findings and scenarios that could emerge. Long shots with a chance result in big payoffs when they come in. Looks like Dave Hancock is a long shot with a chance with a strong second position showing in Edmonton.

The analysis is later in this posting but the question is will Edmonton deliver for Hancock given his base in the Capital City? Will Edmonton come to realize that with local support that he can make a real difference in the second ballot outcome? Will Edmonton show up for Hancock? If so he could be on the second ballot.

First: It is a two horse race between Dinning and Morton and both are likely to be on the second ballot. Now they have to see how committed their support really is and will they get out the vote in bad weather? It is a momentum game too and Morton has “MO.” The key question now is who is going to be the third man on the next ballot. Here we can say with great confidence that anything is possible.

Secondly Oberg is down and with the news today – he may now be out of the running. Today the Auditor General commenting on a 2004 provincial election campaign contribution from a “wholly owned corporation of Metis Settlements” to Minister Pearl Calahasen, an Oberg supporter. That contribution was, according to the Auditor General, “...contrary to the Elections Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act.”

The AG has referred the matter to the Chief Electoral Officer and I woujld not be surprised if Alberta Justice is looking at it too. This is not about Dr. Oberg directly but Oberg did not need more grief and yet another credibility “incident” to raise questions about his suitability to govern. He will have to comment on this publicly and in the final days of the campaign. Will this cause his soft supporters to stay home, the undecideds to discount and any potential for new growth to evaporate.

Thirdly, who is third? The candidate's regional differences are starting to show up in the Leger poll. Calgary is a two horse town with Dinning at 30% and Morton at 23%. Everyone else is out of it but therre is still an undecided of 28% four day before the first ballot - OUCH!

Outside of Edmonton and Calgary is also a two horse race with Morton at 20% and Stelmach at 18%. Dinning and Oberg are 13% and 12% respectively. Nobody else is in the hunt outside the major cities. The undecided is 27% and if the rural voters dessert Oberg and show up for Stelmach then Ed could be the third man in.

Edmonton is the least undecided at 21% but the most volatile. Arguably also a two horse race with Dinning at 20% and Hancock at 14% but the pack range from 9% for Stelmach, 10% Norris and 11% for each of Oberg and Morton.

This Edmonton showing is encouraging to the Hancock campaign. They have this much Edmonton support and they had not yet turned in their Edmonton memberships. Their supporter base was not polled and they are still a strong second place. If Edmonton show up for Hancock and Oberg’s Edmonton support stays home or goes to Morton, then Hancock could catch and pass Oberg and make the cut for the second ballot. That would be interesting.

Lots of “ifs” and a long shot for sure but this is politics and strange things happen all the time. It may all come down to the “weather” and the “whether.” Bad weather and indifference by people as to whether they feel they make a difference by voting are all at play here.

Showing up for Hancock in Edmonton and showing up in rural Alberta for Stelmach can make a big difference to the end result on December 2nd.