Angus Reid has a new survey out with some interested Alberta data. It is an internet panel-poll of about 600 Albertans who are signed up with them and agree to be surveyed. Full disclosure, I am on the Angus Reid panel of citizens but did not answer this survey. The results are not random so best to keep a skeptical lens on the results.
Forget the Horse Race Results.
Also, take the partisan comparison Horse Race results as useless for any prediction. We are two years away from an election, so much can and will change before 2023. That includes at least three new party leaders, Alberta Party, Liberal Party, and Wildrose Independence Party. There is some heated media speculation that Kenney may be replaced by the UCP grassroots before the next election too, although I seriously doubt it.
Kenney is in Trouble, Serious Trouble, Including His Base
Topline results, Jason Kenney is in trouble…a whole lot of trouble. His leadership is in question from his Base. The fiscal hawk side doesn’t like what he is doing racking up levels of debt of $100b and deficits $18+B. Those are the numbers used to spook Albertans about keeping the NDP as government.
His fundamentalist religious social conservative base, including anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers, don’t feel very good about his performance either. They can’t be happy with his stance on COVID public health and safety restrictions on church attendance. They must be angry that he is not delivering fast enough on fundamentalist religious approaches to curriculum changes they are pressing for.
The non-aligned business, community and public service sectors see him as enormously unsatisfactory. He is not delivering on his campaign promises of Jobs (66% say a poor job). His pipeline efforts are ranked at 65% in the poor job category. And 66% of the survey sample say he is failing in his promise of a better economy.
Two years ago, during the 2019 campaign and election, we did not see COVID coming so he should be granted a little slack, or so you would think. When it comes to performing on health care, 62% see him as failing Albertans, and 63% say he sucks in responding to COVID.
What if the Not Sure responses are grounded more on the benefit of the doubt assessment, rather than an admission of not being sufficiently informed to have any opinion.
There are four areas where the Not Sure responses were significant-ish, but none are on Kenney’s policy agenda. they are First Nations issues (20% unsure,) Housing Affordability (19% unsure), and Drug addiction and Poverty/homelessness at 16% each unsure.
Next Provincial Election is 2 Years Away, Lots Can Change
He is two years away from an election and so much can and will change, many times, until then. As of today, two years in, he is a known commodity. People have made up their minds about him.
He is not winning new friends for people who did not support him in the past. He is a flawed disappointment as a leader by many who voted for him by who was not in his partisan Base.
As for his Base, the fiscal hawks are leaving his UCP and gathering around the separatist Wildrose Independence Party. His fundamentalist religious zealots are likely to stick with him. We can expect them to up the ante and increase pressure on their agenda in social, justice, and education policy areas.
There is no way any of this is good for Alberta going forward.
Here is the full report if you are interested