Welcome to the Home Stretch
Posted on April 8, 2019
Welcome to the last full week of the Alberta election campaign!
The first three weeks have come and gone and all that matters now for candidates and leaders is bringing home the win. Last week’s biggest story was Thursday’s leadership debate. Despite facing attacks from all sides, the leader coming out of the debate in the best position was Jason Kenney. Kenney managed to navigate the debate without stumbling into any traps and effectively pushed his party’s key messages. The UCP did not need to win the debate, but rather defend their position,and Jason Kenney accomplished this. None of the leaders were able to deliver a knockout punch to any of their opponents, and while the debate was at times fiery, decided voters are unlikely to have been swayed from their party of choice.
While the first three weeks of a campaign are about message development and proposed policy, the final week is all about the ground game. Candidates will be out door knocking in full force hoping to sway the remaining undecided vote. Expect the party leaders to spend time in the ridings that are expected to be tight come election day. You can also expect both the NDP and UCP to focus on Calgary.
After three weeks, Alberta’s largest city remains the key battleground in this election campaign. The party that captures the vote of Calgarians on April 16 is the party that will form the next government of Alberta. Conservative parties have historically had a lot of success in Calgary, and recent polling has suggested that trend is likely to continue. In response, the NDP will be pouring resources into Calgary over the next week of the campaign, fighting to hold on to some of the seats won during the 2015 election.
While horse-race polling should be treated with some level of skepticism, polling on the issues affecting the electorate is usually more viable. Navigator conducted some polling regarding top voter issues in January and found that Albertans were primarily concerned with jobs, the economy, and pipelines. Research companies are still collecting the same resultsthree weeks into the election campaign. Despite the NDP’s attempts to frame this election as a referendum on the leadership quality of the candidates and a message of potential cuts to services, Albertans still believe that jobs, the economy, and pipelines are the three biggest issues facing the province. Unless there is some earth-shattering development in the last week of the campaign, the question Albertans will face when they go to the polls next Tuesday is, “Which party is best positioned to handle those issues?”
Navigator’s daily top 5 news story picks
UCP targets key ridings in lead-up to election, as NDP continues to campaign in Calgary, by Yolande Cole with the Calgary Herald
- Yolande Cole discusses how the UCP has identified 12 key ridings the party intends to focus its efforts on in the final stretch of the provincial election campaign.
Notley, Kenney pitch job strategies as Alberta’s unemployment rate holds steady, by Sammy Hudes with the Edmonton Journal
- On Friday, parties clashed over newly released job numbers from Statistics Canada, which show Alberta’s March unemployment rate was slightly down month-over-month, coupled with an increase in the number of jobless people across the province who have given up trying to find work.
Conversion therapy stances, sexist book, put candidates under spotlight, by Emma Graney with the Edmonton Journal
- Emma Graney highlights how some of the questions surrounding the character and religious backgrounds of certain candidates continues to drive discussions in the third week of the campaign, putting a handful of these candidates under the spotlight.
Varcoe: No easy solutions for Albertans facing long-term unemployment, by Chris Varcoe with the Calgary Herald
- Chris Varcoe discusses the state of long-term unemployment in Alberta by sharing the story of geologist Gord McLellan, who was laid off a year ago, the same day his wife lost her job.
5 things to expect from an NDP or UCP government, by CBC News
- This article discusses the mainstays of both the NDP and UCP election platforms. If the UCP win, we can expect farming and labour changes, tax cuts, and a fight against the carbon tax. An NDP victory would see more emphasis placed on pipeline construction, child care reform, and education sector growth.