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Wildrose could win a majority: Poll

By Bill Kaufmann, Calgary Sun

CALGARY - 

The Wildrose Party appears poised to win Monday’s election -- possibly with a majority, states a fresh poll.

The survey of decided Alberta voters conducted Wednesday and Thursday shows the Wildrose with a 41% to 31% lead over the PCs -- almost completely due to the softening of support in Calgary where it’s fallen by half over the course of a week, said Dr. David Coletto of Abacus Data.

“Most of the change we’ve seen overall has happened in Calgary ... Wildrose is trending down only in Calgary,” he said, while noting Wildrose still has a 15-point advantage over the PCs in the Stampede city.

According to an Abacus poll from a week earlier, the Tories trailed the Wildrose province-wide by 17%.

But Coletto said while their main foes have dived, the PCs haven’t managed to pick up much of that slack.

The NDP and Liberals have held their own and even slightly increased their level of support, at 13% and 12% respectively, states the poll.

“It could be the undecided voters are starting to make their decision ... it’s gotten so negative and personal now, lots of New Democrats and Liberals are saying, ‘Wait a minute -- I’m not going to vote Tory just because they want me to,’” Coletto said.

The loss of Wildrose support could have been triggered, Coletto said, by racial and homophobic issues surrounding two party candidates, and leader Danielle Smith’s refusal to publicly censure them.

But the bottom line is that, if the latest numbers hold, the Wildrose are headed to a majority.

One calculation of Abacus’ numbers has them winning 59 out of 87 seats, he said.

“It’s the Wildrose’s to lose -- the Tories are moving up but it’s not enough,” he said.

On Thursday, PC strategist Stephen Carter conceded his party’s doing badly in rural southern Alberta but that overall, the Tories have enough momentum to clinch a minority win.

Coletto wouldn’t dismiss Carter’s contention.

“If it continues to happen for the next two days, it’s trouble for the Wildrose,” he said.

The latest Abacus poll shows the PCs leading in only one major market -- Edmonton -- where the Wildrose trails by seven percentage points.

Carter’s Wildrose counterpart, Vitor Marciano said the PCs are running out of road.

“There’s not much left for them to defend,” he said.

The negative campaign has taken its toll on both front-running leaders, Coletto said, with Smith’s favourability falling by 5% and Redford’s by 4%.

The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


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