Alberta political parties make final appeal to undecided voters
Albertans are only days away from deciding who will form the next provincial government.
The province’s political parties vying for the top job are spending these final days pushing for much-needed undecided votes, hoping to sway the election their way.
NDP leader Rachel Notley took to the stage in downtown Calgary on Friday flanked by a large group of former Progressive Conservative (PC) and Wildrose voters, who reached out to the party to show their support.
“If you voted PC in the past, but you have concerns about Jason Kenney and the choices he will make. If you have concerns about the extreme fringes to whom he’s beholden. If you have concerns that his campaign is being investigated by the RCMP, then I appeal to you directly to join us,” Notley said.
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The RCMP has not confirmed they are directly investigating Kenney’s UCP leadership campaign, there are active investigations into irregular campaign contributions to Jeff Callaway’s UCP leadership campaign, as well as allegations of voter fraud in the leadership race.
Notley assured voters that while they may not agree with everything her government has done over the last four years, this year’s election comes down to core values.
According to Notley, the values held by former PC and Wildrose voters match much better with her party rather than those of the UCP.
“We share core values, and we want a government that is committed to looking out for people, for Albertans,” Notley said.
“I don’t know if its enough to swing the election,” Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt said. “What they can do is make the election victory smaller and smaller, and I think that would be important for them to increase the size of their opposition.”
According to an Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News, if an election were on the day respondents answered the survey, 47 per cent of decided and leaning voters said they would vote for the UCP, 39 per cent said the NDP, 10 per cent said the Alberta Party, two per cent said the Alberta Liberal Party and another two per cent said they would vote for another party.
The UCP is leading in polls across the province, except for in Edmonton, where the NDP hold a seven-point lead.
But the race in Calgary continues to tighten, with the UCP maintaining the lead with a five-point margin.
UCP leader Jason Kenney isn’t concerned with Notley trying to garner support from more progressive right-wing voters.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in Alberta with conservative values, with free enterprise values who wants a socialist government getting another four years,” Kenney said.
But Kenney believes there will be former NDP supporters making the jump to the UCP in the upcoming vote.
“I think a lot of people who voted NDP last time had buyers remorse and they don’t want the NDP’s $110-billion debt,” he said.
Throughout the past week, Kenney has been holding small rallies with candidates in both Calgary and Edmonton constituencies; something he plans to do in the final days
The Alberta Party has spent much of the final days of the campaign in Edmonton, positioning themselves as the third option in an election that has been considered a two-horse race.
“We’ll continue to talk positively about our vision for Alberta, rather than fight between the two children,” Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel said. “We’ll try to be the adult in the room.”
Watch below: Vinesh Pratap takes a closer look at Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel’s election campaign.
Back in Calgary, the Alberta Liberal Party is hoping to capture ten seats in Tuesday night’s election.
Liberal leader David Khan has spent much of his campaign in Calgary as he tries to wrangle last-minute votes as well as hang onto his party’s stronghold in Calgary-Mountainview.
Mountainview has been a Liberal riding for 20 years, held by former Liberal leader Dr. David Swann.
“Door-knock, door-knock, door-knock,” Khan said Friday. “It’s all about door knocking and meeting the voters in Calgary-Mountainview and all the constituencies across the province.”
WATCH: Global News’ Alberta election coverage
But will the last-minute push make a difference?
As of Thursday, there were over 400,000 votes cast in advanced polls, something Bratt believes political-watchers should keep in mind.
“How much time do you spend getting your people to the advanced polls, and how much time do you spend wooing undecideds?” Bratt said.
While Bratt doesn’t believe the high turnout at advanced polling gives Albertans any indication of voter turnout on Tuesday, or give any insight into who will win or lose the election, but he said Friday that some ridings could change hands following the early vote counts.
“We have seen ridings that have been won and lost based on the advance poll, and that’s with advance polls numbers being much smaller than they are here,” Bratt said. “I think it’s just making it easier for people to vote.”
Election day is Tuesday, April 16.
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