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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What Albertan's Want The Next Election To Be About.

What will it take to reassure Albertan’ that their government policy agenda is on the right track and focused on what is important? That is the big question facing the Stelmach government and anyone who looks to replace it come the spring of 2008 and a much anticipated provincial election.
I did a conjoint study on 15 key issues on the minds of some 350 influential Albertans last fall during the PC leadership. By influential, I mean people who are involved in their communities and whose opinions matter to other people. We did not just involve the rich, famous and powerful and we did not just reach out to Tories.

The findings are fascinating. We knew at the end of September, long before the traditional pollsters and mainstream media, that managing the environment issues of water, land and air quality had replaced health care as the #1 issue on the minds of Albertans. Not only was environmental management the most important factor it was well over twice as important as health care quality and access. Equally as fascinating was the need to reduce poverty coming in at #3, topping concerns over education quality, which was in fourth place. Managing growth and providing open and transparent government rounded out the top 6 issues.

The remaining 9 issues were of little importance, relatively speaking, with managing oil and gas royalties (12th) lowering taxes (13th) dealing with resource revenue surpluses (14th). The least important issue on the minds of Albertans was resolving problems facing Aboriginal Albertans.
This study shows the environmental and social agendas facing Alberta today are trumping the economic issues. These top six issues are the key drivers determining what is important to Albertans, and while it represented only 40% of the issues we studied it accounted for 70% of the overall relative importance ranking of concerns on the minds of Albertans.

So Premier Stelmach, there you have it. If you are seen by Albertans as the authoritative, authentic, informed and knowledgeable leader on those six issues you can expect to win with a landslide.

Later in the week I will do another posting on this research and show how Albertans thought their government was actually performing in each issue area. More fascinating results to come.