Reboot Alberta

Monday, November 27, 2006

Can Stelmach Catch Morton?

Edmonton will be a battle ground this week to select the next PC leader and pro tem Premier. No guarantee that this week will be anything like the last week in Edmonton or Alberta for that matter, but there are some interesting facts that indicate strengths and potential for growth.

The Edmonton vote was split up all over the place. Dinning had 5575 in Edmonton and Hancock had 4995. No doubt some Hancock votes will bleed to Dinning. Oberg was third in Edmonton with 3228 and they have no reason to go to Dinning but will bleed some to Morton who had a respectable 2739 total in Edmonton. Norris was fourth in Edmonton with 3125 and Stelmach was only 200 votes behind him at 2925.

So let’s make some assumptions and see how this all shakes out. Let’s presume Hancock and Oberg bleed 30% each to Dinning and Morton respectively and the rest goes to Stelmach. We don’t know where Norris is going yet but we know a big part of the motivation for his backers was an “anybody but a Calgarian” leader. The question is will they show up for Ed or just go through the motions? So let’s say Norris delivers 60% of his vote to Ed and the rest splits evenly between Morton and Dinning. No reason to think Stelmach would see any of his core Edmonton support drift away.

So Stelmach has 2925 and he gets 3500 votes (rounded) from Hancock, and 2300 (rounded) from Oberg and 1875 from Norris. His total “presumed” second week Edmonton base is therefore 10600.

Dinning has 5575 and there is no reason to think he wouldn’t keep that base. He gets 1500 from Hancock and 625 from Norris for a “presumed second week Edmonton base of 7700.

Morton has 2739 and gets 625 from Norris and 970 from Oberg for a “presumed second week Edmonton base of 4350 (rounded). I think there is a chance for a small amount of Morton’s Edmonton support to stay home but not enough to make a difference.

Stelmach can win if he can be in second place on the first count on December 2. The first ballot totals were 25600 Morton and 15,000 Stelmach so he needs 10600 more votes to break even from the first ballot and another 1600 from bleed to Morton in Edmonton for an Edmonton shortfall of 12200 going into the second ballot. He has a good chance to pick up 7700 of those in Edmonton alone from Hancock, Oberg and Norris. Which leaves him 4500 short of catching Morton just coming out of the endorsement adjustments in Edmonton.

The rural vote is interesting too. Morton is very strong with 15460 votes to Stelmach’s 10470 for a shortfall of 5000. My sense is Oberg has already lost whatever rural vote he had to Morton based on the kind of campaign he ran and the idea of we need to change the old boys network in the party. I am assuming Oberg’s remaining 5353 voters are not going to bleed to Morton and really are rural voters who will en masse to support another rural candidate like Stelmach. I think all Hancock and Norris rural voters go to Stelmach because there is no reason to go Morton or Dinning.

Coming out of Edmonton Stelmach is facing an adjusted shortfall to catch Morton of 4500 plus the first vote rural shortfall of 5000. Stelmach needs to make up 9500 votes to catch Morton before we face Calgary. He gets Hancock’s rural vote of 2000, Norris’ 3000 and Oberg’s 5300 which makes 10300 and effectively puts him even with Morton going into Calgary.

I will do an analysis of the Calgary vote implications for Stelmach journey to catch Morton tomorrow. Fact is Dinning “owns” Calgary butMorton is strong. How much does the allocation of the “also- rans” voters help Stelmach catch Morton?

Then there is the momentum and growth factor and the “Who really wants it” factor and who is going to go out and get it like Klein did last time.

Stay tuned.


  1. Just wondering Ken,

    What do you think would happen to the Tory party if Morton won? Do you think the caucus would rally behind him, or would enough bolt and form a new party, and perhaps if enough left, a new government? There must be quite a few MLA's who would lose their seats if Morton led them into an election, and they aren't going to like that notion too much. If Morton is the "anti-establishment" candidate, and he wins, one has got to figure that the "establishment" will put up one hell of a fight. My guess, and hope, is that a Morton government would not last very long.

  2. It seems like a rather large assumption that the candidate's endorsement means much of anything in a system which is one member one vote. The candidate can really only guarantee his own vote. That aside i think your over estimating the ability of Hancock and Oberg to deliver their voters. I'm fairly sure in both cases that the voters will defend in percentages over 50% to Dinning and Morton respectively.

  3. Interesting analysis Ken.

    You didn't account for Hancock/Norris/Oberg voters who will stay home instead of casting their ballots for a second choice. I'm wondering how many of those candidates' supporters you think fall into that category?

  4. Anonymous12:04 pm

    Good analysis, Ken.
    I would hope that rural voters have little in common with a university prof (Morton) or a big corporation executive (Dinning.) As a consequence, Edmonton and rural voters will turn en masse to Ed and bring him over the top. A repeat of 1992 where Klein's appeal to rural voters and Calgarians brought him to the front. This time it could be rurals and Edmontonians.

  5. Anonymous2:00 pm

    Interesting analysis, Ken. My thoughts are that based on endorsements and vote leakage that Dinning stands at approximately 33%, Morton 32%, and Stelmach 28%. I believe that Stelmach has significant growth potential in northern Alberta and Edmonton. A lot depends on what Norris decides. My sense is that Norris cannot control all his supporters and that some will migrate to Dinning and some to Stelmach. If Norris makes a formal endorsement of Stelmach, I believe Stelmach picks up at least 50% of Norris supporters in Edmonton. The corporate base probably goes to Dinning.

    Then it all comes down to recruitment of new members. Ed needs to recruit a significant number of new voters to keep a strong third place, hope Morton attracts new members in Calgary, and stays out of the crossfire between Dinning and Morton. Ed is obviously second choice for both Dinning and Morton voters. If Dinning and Morton are held at around 35-36% on second ballot and Stelmach is within 5% of the leaders, he's got a very good shot at this thing.

  6. Anonymous11:38 pm

    You know (snicker) somehow the evil twin in me would love to see Morton win just to sit back and see Lukaszuk sweating in a corner wondering how he's going to get out of the "Alabama" quotation that seems to have slid all over the province and outside. His employment options are limited outside of government....gosh that really could be a delimma LOL


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