Morning folks. I'm sitting in the McDougall Centre, a government centre in downtown Calgary where Premier Alison Redford will address the media in roughly an hour - one night after her historic note. The PCs were buzzing last night (at the election headquarters, and later at the bar, though Ms. Redford wasn't there) and, frankly, I'm not sure they're in any real rush now. Ms. Redford rolled out a lot of things since winning her leadership in October. Questions will include whether she'll have a spring legislative session (which they'd need to pass their education bill), what she'll do to woo back the conservative flank of the party and whether she needs to rebuild her relationship with Ottawa, where so many Harper MPs and campaign staff have backed the Wildrose movement. Anyhow, looking forward to the questions...
by Josh Wingrove 4/24/2012 2:52:19 PM
Good morning to our panel.
by Chris Hannay 4/24/2012 2:59:59 PM
I was at High River - Danielle Smith's HQ - last night. Many stars from the PC Klein era were in attendance: Rod Love, Lyle Oberg, Cliff Fryers, Hal Walker, etc. Media was in full force. Plus lots of Wildrose supporters set for a party. Then the results trickled in. Party stopped. Lots of questions about what happened to Wildrose, but were expectations too high for a new party? What does this say about the fiscal, and more importantly, social conservatism of Alberta? Anyway lots to talk about this am.
by Prof. Duane Bratt edited by Chris Hannay 4/24/2012 3:00:00 PM
I wonder if she will have come down from her election night high, Josh. Even though the party's internal polling showing a big turnaround, the premier must still be shocked by the scope of her victory.
by Gary Mason 4/24/2012 3:00:15 PM
Yes, everyone seems to be surprised at the solid majority. The first big question this morning is - how did Alison Redford do it?
by Chris Hannay 4/24/2012 3:02:35 PM
To outsiders, this must look like a typical Alberta election. PCs with 61 seats. But trust me it was a lot closer than that throughout the campaign. Even the PCs popular vote was the lowest since 1967, and the legislature will have the largest opposition since 1993. In addition, there will be three opposition parties with official party status. Alberta politics has still changed, even if the governing party has not.
by Prof. Duane Bratt 4/24/2012 3:02:40 PM
Josh has an excellent analysis of what happened on the Globe's website. It was a confluence of factors. But the Wildrose's diastrous stretch run certainly played a major role.
by Gary Mason 4/24/2012 3:04:27 PM
I think it was less about Redford and more about unease with Smith. Clearly the issues of gay rights, race, and climate change hurt Wildrose in the last 10 days. Especially among urban voters. If you look at a graphic of seats, Wildrose dominated rural seats in Southern Alberta, but could not win in the cities. That doesn't work when 50/87 seats are in Calgary-Edmonton.
by Prof. Duane Bratt 4/24/2012 3:04:58 PM
Josh is currently experiencing some technical difficulties. Here's his analysis of how Alison Redford won: www.theglobeandmail.com
by Chris Hannay 4/24/2012 3:05:30 PM
I would add that the PCs still retain a great "brand" advantage. They were the safe choice for Albertans. They may not always like the Tories, but they are familiar with them. Redford represented change, but not radical change like Wildrose, but safe change.
by Prof. Duane Bratt 4/24/2012 3:06:18 PM
Duane, when you talk about the role the cities played in this election you're absolutely right. Most interesting, however, is Calgary. It was supposed to go Wildrose and it didn't. Nenshi's condemnation of some of Wildrose's 'bozo eruptions' didn't help their cause.
by Gary Mason 4/24/2012 3:07:04 PM
Adam, call display, cell phones, and other forms of technology have hurt phone polls. Meanwhile online polls tend to record the self-identified. Obviously, a lot of work needs to be done in polling.
by Prof. Duane Bratt 4/24/2012 3:07:44 PM
Adam, hopefully we are going to get an explanation or mea culpa at the very least from some of these pollsters. Not all were off to the same degree. And let's not forget that some polls showing a WR majority were likely right early on. But few picked up the change in the last week to 10 days of campaign.
by Gary Mason 4/24/2012 3:09:26 PM
I also wonder about enthusiasm. Wildrose supporters were very enthusiastic (especially in Southern Alberta and Calgary). Lots of volunteers, more lawn signs, more money donated to the party. Perhaps that high degree of enthusiasm by a minority masked the silent majority who feared or did not trust Wildrose.
by Prof. Duane Bratt 4/24/2012 3:10:44 PM
Further to the polls. They did show a tightening in the last week, and some even had PCs marginally ahead, but nobody saw a 10 point lead for the PCs.
by Prof. Duane Bratt 4/24/2012 3:11:46 PM
On polling, from Josh Wingrove:
The polling was off, but some wasn't. It showed 20% undecided. When you have a 10% margin of victory, that's something. It's not like the last week was error-free ball for Wildrose. The controversial comments by candidates and Danielle Smith herself (about gays doomed to a "lake of fire," about having an advantage over Sikh and Muslim candidates due to being white, of saying the science on climate change isn't settled) hurt the party, and voters seem to have responded.
by Chris Hannay 4/24/2012 3:13:37 PM
I think strategic voting was certainly a factor. That video that went viral urging young people to vote PC in order to keep Wildrose out may have had an impact. Didn't change the campaign but was representative of something that was afoot.
by Gary Mason 4/24/2012 3:14:10 PM
Jon, we will have to crunch the numbers to see how Liberal and NDP votes played out. Some good old regression analysis! I am not sure that strategic voting was ever an issue in Edmonton, but it was in Calgary. At the same time, the Liberals still held on with Hehr and Swann winning? Not only did the PCs win another large majority, but the NDP gained seats (4) and the Liberals largely held on with 5.
by Prof. Duane Bratt 4/24/2012 3:16:20 PM