Thursday, December 21, 2006

Stelmach is "Da Man!"

A new Ipsos Reid poll shows Albertans are on side with “Steady Eddie” big time. Interestingly the field work was done over a week (December 13 to 19) that included the Cabinet announcement on December 15 and the post-announcement reaction time. The lack of balance and representation of the new Cabinet seems to be an issue for the chattering classes only.

A 76% approval rating on the PC’s choosing Stelmach with 33% rating the outcome as “very good.” Expectations are high too, in that 78% are confident that he will be an effective Premier. High praise and higher expectations means the new Alberta government has to deliver!

As for decided voters, the Stelmach led PC’s get a 10 point bounce to 68% of decided voters taking support away from the Liberals and NPD in equal amounts of 4% each. With the NDP at 6% they are dangerously close to being replaced by the Greens as the third party.

The news release highlights the delivery issue incorrectly. It says “Few (17%) Want to See Stelmach Make Major Changes” implying a stay the course approach to governance and NOT make substantial changes. A deeper dip into the data shows just the opposite. In fact there is an appetite for change. Only 8% who want “no real changes.” Moderate change is supported by 58% and minor change is in at 20%. We are talking 90% what some kind of “real change” here and we are only quibbling as to the degree and depth of that change. We voted for change and we want it!

The divided province seems to be more mythical than factual too. In the “good choice” question, 72% of Calgarians and 78% of southern Albertans agree Stelmach was a good choice. Edmonton is really behind Stelmach with an 81% approval rating. The confidence level over Stelmach being an effective Premier is between 79% and 85% all over Alberta and even Calgary is 70% confident and 22% not confident. Still and all, these are impressive numbers and minor differences in the big scheme of things.

Party support into an immediate election (hypothetical at best) is a blow out for the Progressive Conservatives. The Alberta Alliance Party is even behind the Greens in support so the far right social conservative firewall agenda is the Monty Python “dead parrot” in the new Alberta political reality.

Overall the Greens are at 4% and the NDP at 6% and strongest in Edmonton and the North, where they are tied with the NDP. As the environment has moved and solidified as the #1 Alberta policy issue, the NDP are going to be gasping for political relevance in the eyes of Albertans next election.