Calgary may just be where the provincial election is ultimately decided.
A most recent voter intention poll from Mainstreet Research pegs The UCP and the NDP within two percentage points of each other in Alberta’s largest city as both parties vie for the 26 electoral divisions that are up for grabs.
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The poll was conducted via automated telephone interview to a sample of 1,288 adult Albertans on April 14, with the results being published on April 15.
Overall, the UCP saw a 7.3 point lead over the NDP among all respondents and a 7.6 point lead among decided and leaning respondents — which is roughly in line with other recent polls that were published in the days ahead of today’s election.
What was more interesting was how Mainstreet broke the responses down by region, with the NDP commanding a 12.2 point lead over the UCP in Edmonton and the UCP taking it by a 25.6 point margin anywhere that is not Edmonton or Calgary.
YYC was a different story altogether.
Mainstreet found that, among respondents to their April 14 survey, the UCP had the lead by a margin of just 2% — with the NDP taking 42.4% of the hypothetical vote, the UCP taking 44.4%, and the Alberta Party with 7.3%.
The same survey also gauged favourability among respondents and found that Premier Rachel Notley had actually climbed to a higher favorability rating than her main opponents, UCP’s Jason Kenney.
Notley was seen as favourable to 41.7% of respondents and unfavourable to 45.9%, while Kenney saw 37.4% favourability weighed against a 48.8% unfavourability.
Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel was the only leader in the survey that had a higher favorability rating than unfavourability — 32.1% to 27.3% — though keep in mind that 12.1% of respondents stated that they were “not familiar” with him and 28.5% stated that they were “not sure.”
A quick count of the electoral map finds that there are 20 divisions designated to Edmonton, eight scattered throughout smaller municipalities (Lethbridge, Airdrie, Spruce Grove, Red Deer, and Grand Prairie), and 33 divisions that encompass large swaths of land throughout rural Alberta.
Calgary holds the remaining 26 divisions within its boundaries, which could be the key to either side taking a majority, or for a third party to win big and increase the odds of a minority government.
As with all elections, though, it will be impossible to tell exactly how the votes will fall until polls close at 8 pm and the official counts start coming in.