There's a new poll out for Alberta this week, done by the company "Return on Insight" (ROI), which I don't know very much about but is commissioned by the CBC to do polling from time to time, and have never been particularly crazy with any results.
Their topline numbers fit somewhere in between the recent Forum and Léger polls done in Alberta which gave conflicting results, and set me off against David Climenhaga. In the ROI poll, the governing PCs had 46% to the Wildrose Party's 24%, with the NDP third at 14% and the Liberals stuck at 12%. In terms of seats, this poll alone would give the PCs 77 seats, compared to 5 each for the Wildrosers and the NDP. Thanks to new tweaking of the system, the Wildrosers earn a decent percentage in Edmonton and win one seat (Edmonton-Ellerslie, their best seat seat in 2008 with 4%...?), reflecting the polling reality we've seen so far, compared to the reality we saw in 2008. In other words, instead of keeping the Wildrosers stuck below 10% in Edmonton, the system will now more accurately reflect what polls are saying.
But that poll isn't what this post is about. Actually, I like to think of this as an intervention - an intervention for a political party in dire need of something, anything, to improve its chances for survival before the next election just a few short months away.
I'm of course talking about the Alberta Liberals, who have not once since the last election in any poll gone above 25% (they got 26.4% in 2008), and have polled as low as 11% of the vote, an extremely fatal proposition for a party that only has eight seats to begin with.
Here is just the trendline since just before the last provincial election for the Alberta Liberals:
Now on their third leader since 2008, they've not only failed to reverse the downward trend they've been on since before 2008, but current leader Raj Sherman faces the lowest numbers the Liberals have had since Laurence Decore took over the party in 1988. 1988!! (They got about 12% in the 1986 election.)
If you thought the situation of the federal Liberals was bad, the ALP is practically on the verge of falling off a very steep, very lethal cliff. The federal Liberals compete well in polls, can get quality candidates to run, and are (just now) catching up to the Conservatives in terms of fundraising, and generally there is hope for the future. The Alberta Liberals, as far as anyone can tell, are lagging far behind in nominations for the next election; have poor fundraising (though they're not in debt); and as I've said, their polling is horrendous.
There is no "safe" Alberta Liberal seat at this point. At about 15% of the vote, which is where they currently average out to in my projections, they can only hold on to one seat, that being the seat of former leader David Swann in Calgary-Mountain View, but only by just 5% of the vote. All traditional Liberal seats in Edmonton are lost, including the seats of former leader Kevin Taft and 2011 leadership contender Hugh MacDonald - both of whom are retiring, which makes any hope of keeping them all that much harder.
I don't say this all to just be negative, but this is the seriousness of the situation. No poll disagrees with where the Liberals are. Raj Sherman is getting squeezed by the moderated PCs and the semi-surgent NDP, plus voters who see the Wildrosers as the new main Opposition to latch on to. There could always be an NDP-like miracle during the campaign, but don't count on it. More likely, they'll end up something similar to Ryan Bater's Saskatchewan Liberals, which I don't want to happen - Alberta needs a Liberal Party.
The simple fact is whatever you're doing now, Alberta Liberals, is not working. Scrap it and try something else. It can't lead to results worse than what you're already heading for.