The poll is unique among others that have appeared because it sampled only the City of Calgary, with its 26 ridings
A new poll shows the NDP pulling ahead in Calgary, with heavy support in the inner city and very strong backing in northeast and northwest ridings.
Marc Henry’s ThinkHQ records 49 per support among decided voters for the NDP over the whole city, with 43 per cent for the UCP.
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Henry cautions that the three per cent margin of error means the parties could be closer or possibly tied. Conversely, the spread might be even wider.
The poll is unique among others that have appeared because it sampled only the City of Calgary, with its 26 ridings.
A total of 1,054 participants were questioned, the usual total for the entire province. The large sample size gives some extra credence to this poll.
Henry can’t say if the debate or the ethics finding affected the poll results. But those factors certainly didn’t do much for Smith’s image in Calgary.
Asked which leader would be the best premier, 43 per cent picked NDP Leader Rachel Notley. Only 31 per cent named Smith.
Because of the large sample size, Henry was also able to produce findings by city quadrant.
He finds that the NDP leads in the northwest by 52 per cent to 37 per cent. The margin is even wider in the northeast; 55 per cent NDP, 34 per cent UCP.
The UCP leads in the southwest and southeast by narrower margins: respectively, 49 to 44 per cent, and 49 to 46 per cent.
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The inner-city results almost look like NDP standings in Edmonton; Notley’s party leads the UCP by 60 per cent to 35 per cent.
Henry notes that NDP voters are stronger than UCP backers in both their choice and their determination to vote.
“There’s a bloc of voters who usually vote conservative who just aren’t sure,” he says. “The turnout is what I’m going to be watching on election night.”
The UCP’s standing might be affected by a steady stream of incidents and rejections since the debate.
On Thursday, former Wildrose MLA Blake Pederson became the first person elected with Smith to turn against the UCP.
“From 2012-15 I served as MLA for Medicine Hat in the Wildrose and PC caucuses,” he said.
“The UCP under Danielle Smith and her colleagues have replaced long-standing conservative values and principles with extreme ideology and radical policies.”
Pedersen said he will “lend his vote” to the NDP.
Smith also continues to have trouble with her own candidates.
“When we look at pro-life or pro-choice, the party is pro-life,” she said. “I believe that life begins at conception.”
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Some people in the audience, including Nanton Mayor Jennifer Handley, thought Petrovic meant party policy is now anti-abortion.
Asked for reaction, party spokesman Dave Prisco said of Petrovic: “She misspoke — she was speaking for herself, not the party. The leader’s position is pro-choice. It’s well known.”
Smith said Johnson won’t be allowed in caucus if she wins (it’s too late to remove a candidate from the ballot).
But the riding association, likely worried about losing votes, keeps suggesting Johnson will be admitted to caucus after the election.
All this may be costing the UCP support in the days before the election.
But Henry says his poll doesn’t necessarily mean defeat.
He sees perhaps an extra nine seats for the NDP in Calgary.
That wouldn’t be enough to overturn deep UCP support outside the big cities, unless some ridings shift in places such as Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and the “doughnut” of seats around Edmonton.
One thing seems certain; Monday night will be tense in Calgary.
Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald