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The race is on: Ipsos poll shows PCs and Wildrose neck and neck

EDMONTON – An Ipsos poll taken in the days leading up to Monday’s election call in Alberta shows the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose party tied with the support of 38 per cent of decided voters.

The poll, which questioned 890 Albertans between March 20 and March 25, showed the other parties well back, with the NDP at 12 per cent, the Liberals at 11 per cent and other parties at two per cent of decided voters. Twenty-two per cent were undecided or expressed no preference.

It indicated that the PCs had the edge in Edmonton, while the Wildrose was doing better in Calgary.

It appeared that men were more likely to support Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith, while women favoured PC Leader Alison Redford. Among men, the Wildrose leads the PCs 44 per cent to 36 per cent. Among women, the PCs lead the Wildrose 40 per cent to 28 per cent.

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In its release, Ipsos said it appeared that many who had voted PC in 2008 have moved to the Wildrose party. Only 54 per cent of decided voters who voted Tory in 2008 said they planned to do the same this time, and most of those who had changed their vote planned to change it to the Wildrose.

The provincewide poll results are considered accurate within 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error is higher in the cities, where the sample size is smaller.

The poll used Ipsos Reid’s national online household panel, which has more than 17,000 Albertans. Voters were asked “Thinking of how you feel right now, if a provincial election were held tomorrow here in Alberta, which of the following parties’ candidates would you be most likely to support, or lean towards?”

Global News will have more poll results from Ipsos on Tuesday, March 27. Watch GlobalTVEdmonton.com and GlobalTVCalgary.com on Tuesday for findings and analysis by pollster Jamie Duncan.

Provincial affairs reporter Vassy Kapelos will have full reaction on the News Hour at 6 p.m. and News Hour Final at 11 p.m.

Speaking before the release of the results, Duncan said Ipsos looked to understand the mindset of Albertans before the 28-day campaign kicks off.

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“It basically comes down to some fundamental questions,” he said. “At the end of the day, do Albertans see Premier Redford as being truly Conservative?… The other thing is whether or not they see the Wildrose as being too extreme.”

More poll results are still expected from Ipsos on the following issues:

— How Albertans are reacting to one of the big controversies heading into this election campaign;
— How they perceive the leaders’ ideologies;
— Whether they think the coming campaign will be the most exciting in years.

For complete election coverage, along with daily stories, video, social-media roundups, election forum information and your chance to sound off, check out the Decision Alberta page.

Previous polls have shown the Progressive Conservatives ahead, but facing a stronger challenge from the Wildrose party than the Liberals have mustered recently, despite being the Official Opposition.

You can watch Duncan’s full interview with Global News below: