Continuing with 2011's incumbent-friendly trend, 2012 seems to be pretty incumbent-friendly as well - so far.
Nowhere is this more exemplified than Alberta, which will need to go to the polls before May 31st, where the Progressive Conservative's still dominate the scene and look set for another majority government, at least according to what I've seen so far.
most recent poll out from Abacus Data has them at just 34%, though that could be due to a higher-than-average Liberal number at 18%. Take away the 4% from the Liberals, and 38% fits well into the current trend. That is, however, not a good number for the PCs, whose lowest has been 44% since 1971.
My projection gives the PCs a decent 42% of the vote so far, though that has trended downward slowly but surely. Quick explanation why: most polls have the PCs above or at 37%, and this 5% difference isn't enough to move the projection that quickly. Hence, it's incremental.
But the PC's are still far ahead of the Wildrose Party in the popular vote, and definitely in the seat count. "Entrenched" is an understatement when describing the PC's situation.
The NDP and Liberals, meanwhile, face an even bigger challenge than Wildrose, though a simpler goal: stay relevant. Luckily for the NDP, all they need to do is increase their presence in Edmonton, and they're guaranteed a seat increase. For the Liberals, who have possibilities in both Edmonton and Calgary, staying above 15% will probably net them a few seats, but fall below it - where most polls have them - and even if they end up in third place in the popular vote, they could end up with zero seats. Liberal Leader Raj Sherman, meanwhile, is likely to lose his seat, as is Danielle Smith of the Wildrosers.
You can check out all of this on my Alberta 2012 page, which I'll try to update every chance I get when new polls are out, or I change the formula to reflect what seems to be going on. The most recent change - aside from the Abacus poll - is handicapping the "Others," who poll around 5% usually, but rarely, if ever, get that far.
Keep up with the news, send me comments and suggestions, and we'll see how it all goes.