Tight Race in Alberta as Support for Minor Parties Fizzles

Rachel Notley is ahead of Danielle Smith when Albertans are asked who would make the best head of government.

Vancouver, BC [May 18, 2023] – Alberta’s two main political parties are virtually tied as voters ponder their choices in the provincial election, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 49% of decided voters in Alberta would support the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in their riding in this month’s election, while 47% would cast a ballot for the governing United Conservative Party (UCP).

Only 4% of decided voters in Alberta are currently choosing candidates from other parties, including the Green Party (1%) and the Solidarity Movement (also 1%).

Support for the UCP has increased by 17 points since a Research Co. survey conducted in March 2022, when Jason Kenney was still Alberta’s premier. The NDP has gained four points in that span, as voter support for third parties declined from 25% to just 4%.

At this stage of the campaign, the NDP has a significant advantage among decided voters in Edmonton (61% to 35%). The UCP is ahead in Calgary (52% to 44%) and in the remaining regions of the province (63% to 31%).

“Just under one-in-five decided voters in Alberta (19%) say they may change their mind and support a different party’s candidate in the election,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “This includes 27% of those aged 18-to-34 and 24% of those who do not reside in the Calgary or Edmonton metropolitan areas.”

Two topics continue to dominate when Albertans are asked about the most important issue facing the province: health care (29%, -1) and the economy and jobs (27%, -2). All other perceived challenges are in single digits, including crime and public safety (8%, +6), housing, poverty and homelessness (also 8%, +1) and government accountability (7%, -6).

Half of the province’s residents (50%, +1) approve of the way Official Opposition and NDP leader Rachel Notley is handling her duties. The rating is lower for Premier and UCP leader Danielle Smith (39%), Green leader Jordan Wilkie (15%, -5) and Solidarity leader Artur Pawlowski (11%).

All four party leaders post a negative momentum score: -2 for Notley, -7 for Wilkie, -15 for Pawlowski and -25 for Smith.

On the preferred premier question, Notley holds a five-point advantage over Smith (43% to 38%), with significant support from women (48%) and Albertans aged 18-to-34 (52%).

When asked which of the two party leaders is better suited to manage specific issues, Notley holds the upper hand on health care (50% to 32%), education (49% to 31%), the environment (47% to 29%), housing, poverty and homelessness (45% to 29%), accountability (45% to 34%), seniors care (44% to 29%) and child care (43% to 28%).

Smith is ahead on energy and pipelines (50% to 28%), the economy and jobs (44% to 35%), managing the province’s finances (40% to 37%), crime and public safety (39% to 34%) and transportation projects (37% to 33%).

The two leaders are tied, each with 38%, when Albertans ponder who would be the best at creating jobs.

Only 16% of Albertans (-5) support the introduction of a provincial sales tax (PST), while more than three-in-four (77%, +5) are opposed to it.

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted on May 16 and May 17, 2023, among 600 adults in Alberta, including 529 decided voters in the 2022 provincial election. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Alberta. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 4.0 percentage points for the entire sample and +/- 4.3 percentage points for the sample of decided voters, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.


[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca