Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Alberta's (Probable) Election 2015 Projection

With the signs looking as if the people of Alberta are going to the polls today, I've decided to just add a little projection page to the site for those interested. Its a little basic for the moment, but I'll add in riding-level numbers as soon as I can make them look halfway presentable.

With every new poll or major campaign update that comes out, I'll try to do a quick post just to keep people abreast of the goings on - starting with the current state of elections readiness among the parties, as far as I can tell.

Progressive Conservatives

As expected for the governing party with a super majority calling an early election, the PCs are pretty much on track to nominate candidates in all 87 ridings (in fact, I believe they're just missing one in Calgary-McCall, held by the Liberals) and are well prepared. There was some news about internal wranglings within the party organization, but I doubt its anything serious or will have much of an impact.

In terms of fundraising, as should also be expected, the PCs likely have a huge advantage over the opposition parties. According to last year's financial statements (you can see all of them here), the PCs had over $3-million in contributions - far and above the other parties, and I suspect with Prentice as leader the money has continued to roll in for the first quarter of 2015.

Wildrose Party

The Wildrosers are far behind in the candidate counts, with their slate only currently half-filled (43 of 87 ridings), with big gaps in and around Edmonton and central Alberta, not surprising considering their poor support in those regions in 2012 to begin with.

There are a few notables running: Brian Jean, the new leader, will be running in the northern riding of Fort McMurray-Conklin against cabinet member Don Scott; former Strathcona County mayor Linda Osinchuk is running in Sherwood Park; and former Canadian Taxpayers Federation president Derek Fildebrandt will be running to reclaim Strathmore-Brooks in southern Alberta. I don't see Rob Anders anywhere, unfortunately!

The Wildrosers raised $2.1-million in 2014, a competitive number but still behind the PCs, and I suspect that number has gone down since Smith's flight from the party. Still, they're far more well positioned than the other opposition parties.

Alberta Liberal Party

The Alberta Liberals are struggling, to put it bluntly. With the centrists fleeing to the PCs in 2012 to block the Wildrosers, the decision of most of its caucus to move on to other offices, and now the rise of the NDP as the standard-bearer of the centre-left, the ALP will be hard pressed to put on a good show for this election. Being wiped out is not out of the cards, though some people are still going out of their way to support them - Warren Kinsella is going out there to give some sort of talk, though I don't think he's there as a strategist.

The party only currently has 22 (or so) nominated candidates, with a lot of them around the Calgary area where leader David Swann is centered and where the party has the best chance of surviving. Meanwhile in a couple ridings so far, the Liberal candidates have been endorsed by other parties; incumbent Laurie Blakeman in Edmonton-Centre has been endorsed by the Greens and the Alberta Party, though I'd like to point out they didn't even run candidates in her riding in 2012 and she still almost lost. Matt Dawe also got the endorsement of the Greens in Red Deer-North.

The ALP had just over $360K in contributions last year, the lowest of the major parties and a far cry from the days when they raised nearly $1-million. I have some doubts that number has done up in 2015.

New Democratic Party

The NDP have nominated or soon-to-be-nominated candidates in all 87 ridings, showing that you can indeed be prepared for a surprise election. Rachel Notley has her ducks in a row, and will be well positioned to offer centre-left Albertans a place to go - it is very possible they could sweep Edmonton, though let's not place any bets yet.

The NDP raised $776K in contributions last year, and I highly expect their numbers to have gone up in 2015's first quarter. It is still far behind either the PCs or the Wildrosers, but they can run a strong campaign on that, so kudos.


The only other parties to keep an eye on for this election are the Alberta Party and the Greens. I'm not sure they can win any seats (especially not the Greens), but they could play a spoiler role in quite a few ridings.

The Alberta Party in particular could be a threat, maybe getting up to 5% of the vote. Leader Glen Clark will be running again in Calgary-Elbow, which he almost won in a by-election, however like the Liberals they're pretty far behind in nominations, with only 28 of 87 candidates nominated (29 if you could Blakeman, which I refuse to do). The party only received $108K in contributions last year, however.

The Greens are also nominating candidates here and there, and could feasible have some impact. Leader Janet Keeping will be running in Calgary, but the party raised just under $13K in 2014, so how much of a threat they really represent, we'll see.

If you're interested in a closer look on the elections, I highly recommend Dave Cournoyer's blog, as he'll have far better insights than I will.


  1. My predictions have it closer to this:
    61 PC
    11 WR
    10 NDP
    5 LIB

    1. One other possibility is a Liberal-NDP joint list. Why? Based on a dream I had where Alberta went to an election on the 4th and they ran a joint list.

      Flimsy rationale sure, but it's fun to think about in an alternate-history sort of way. It'd actually be quite possible for such a joint list to win 25 or so seats, and take enough voted from the PC party to allow Wildrose to take 25 or so seats; they could them form a coalition (not as crazy as it sounds) that probably would not last long and have PC policies without the PC logo.

  2. PC: 49
    Wildrose: 23
    NDP: 11
    Liberal: 4

  3. Why do people think the Liberals will gain seats?

    Progressive Albertans need to ditch the flailing Liberals and vote for the NDP. If enough did so, due to a right-wing vote split, we could have a minority government.

    1. Well, the main reason right now is that their polling is up from 2012, so on the back of that alone they're supposed to gain seats. Personally I think they'll start to drop down, maybe save two or three at most, however there is no guarantee that vote goes to the NDP either - that's actually kind of an amusing idea, considering that the party is near its own record lows and most of its non-committed base swings PC-Lib, not Lib-NDP.

  4. A week is a lifetime in politics. I speculated the PCs would easily cruise to another majority just two or three weeks ago. I am not certain anymore.

    The Wildrose seems to be motivated again with their new leader Brian Jean. They are better financed than other opposition parties. And their brand of politics would play well outside of the two major cities.

    The NDP is going through some surge in Edmonton which is spilling over to their federal cousins in Alberta. Wildrose and NDP support also seem concentrated. NDP will do well in Edmonton and maybe take one seat each in Calgary and Lethbridge. For the NDP to pick up seats elsewhere will depend on how the cards are played out. The progressive vote needs to be unified under the NDP and the right-wing vote needs to be split perfectly. Mulcair also needs to keep quiet till May 5th. Given the chance, the PCs or Wildrose can tie Notley's NDP to something Mulcair says and does.

    Right now I will predict

    PC - 39
    Wildrose - 26
    NDP - 18
    Liberal - 4

  5. Since everyone else is, I'll give a gut-instinct prediction right now:

    PCs - 40% on 50-60 seats
    NDP - 15% on 10-15 seats
    WRP - 25% on 5-15 seats
    ALP - 10% on 0-3 seats
    AP - 5% on 0-1 seat

    Yes, I know it doesn't add up, its a general guess, but this is where I feel we're heading - at this point. It could be that Jean does really well in the debates, while Notley could also do well, I just don't see her gaining enough traction to get more than 10-15 seats - she would have to blow everyone out of the water in a way no one can predict.

    The major cavaet I'd put for all of this is the Wildrosers, because they are just such a wildcard at this point: not because of anything they're doing, but whether Prentice's attempts to reassure voters is successful. If he can convince people to stay with him or at least not bother to go out and vote against him, then the Wildrosers are pooched, they could easily be shut out of the legislature, even if they get 20% right across the province, their support is just so inefficient.