Saturday, August 25, 2007

Link Byfield Says the Growing Undecided Voters in Alberta is Good for the Wildrose Party

Link Byfield has sent out another call for signatures to help the new Wildrose Party to get political party status. He sees the Cameron Strategies poll last week showing some 37% of Albertans undecided in how they will vote next election as fertile ground for a new, energized far-right political movement. Here is what Link had to say in an e-mail on Friday:

“An astonishing poll this week from Cameron Strategy in Calgary shows that undecided voters are now the largest group in Alberta (37%). The Stelmach Conservatives have dropped to 32%. That's down from 54% in January. Liberals, NDP, Greens and Alliance are all stalled. Highest place are the Liberals, unchanged at 16%. The Alberta Alliance remains at 5%, down from 9% in 2004 election.”

It is actually 30% undecided and 6% who will not vote at all in the polling figures I have seen,but that is a quibble. I wonder if Link remembered this pollster was also an able and key advisor to the Dr. Oberg PC leadership campaign. Speaking of Dr. Oberg, when is he going to release his donor list from the PC leadership campaign – what has it been 9 months? He is the last to do it. Remember Dr. Morton said he never would tell Albertans who bankrolled him.

As for the poll, it does not look good for those of us who believe in the leadership of Ed Stelmach. I have only seen the news release on the poll. I have not seen the questions or the data distribution so it is hard to really comment except in the most general of terms. We all know wording of questions can have an impact on outcomes.

It would be interesting to know how many phone calls in total were made in this poll before they got the 600 participants. Some indications are that as many as 15-20 calls have to be made these days before someone is prepared to take the time to answer pollster. The end result is the group participating is not as random as one might think because people self-select to participate and we can never tell what their motivations are.

We also know how the participants split geographically, a third in each of Edmonton, Calgary and other. We don't know gender, age, education, income breakdowns and if that mix correlates with the representative population characteristics of Alberta. I always like to know that before I rely on the data. Cameron Strategies is very reputable and experienced so I am sure they will soon release all the data and the wording of the questions too.

Regardless of these technicalities, judging by these results, it sure looks like Albertans are disenchanted with politics these days. Stelmach is taking the brunt of this but there is little solace for the Taft Liberals or Mason's NDP, who Link notes are both “stalled.” The Alliance is in free fall too. That and "37%" undecided – maybe the Wildrose Party has some potential to be a force in the next election.

In the mean time the Wildrose Party need signatures to qualify as a political party for the next Alberta election and that is obviously Job 1 for them right now.