Friday, March 12, 2010

This Week in Alberta - The Toboggan Ride Ends

Environics released a new poll yesterday, similar to their numbers from October:

PC - 34% (nc)
WRA - 30% (+2%)
ALP - 23% (+3%)
NDP - 10% (+1%)
Green - 2% (-6%)

So no real changes - my suspicion is the now-deregistered Greens were prompted as an option on the October survey but weren't in this one.

This is, of course, less cataclysmic for the PCs than the Angus Reid poll from December that had the Wildrosers up by 14 points. When deciding which numbers to go by, a good rule of thumb is to go with what feels right, and these new numbers do feel right. Danielle Smith is in the game, but to form government she's going to have to do more than smile and say "aww shucks" when someone asks her about climate change and what services she'd cut.

And what does a competitive political landscape mean? Well, it means we'll see a lot more moves like yesterday's decision to slash royalty rates. One week, Stelmach and Ted Morton are lecturing Albertans about getting a runaway deficit under control. The next, they're giving away 800 million dollars in annual revenue.

Sure, they'll say it's all about jobs and economic growth. But the reality is, political donations have been flowing straight from the oil patch to the Wildrosers over the past year. The next election will be a bloody one, and Stelmach needs to get the PC war chest filled - this was the easiest way to do just that.

Labels: ,


  • OK. Except I'm sure I saw a poll earlier this week that had the WAC up by about 42% vs. 27%. What was that about?

    Also, re the royalties thing. Do Albertans get up every morning and explicitly pray to the oil companies, or it unconcious?

    By Blogger bigcitylib, at 6:29 PM  

  • They pray to them... then bend over and "accept" them... It's routine. It's also not very bright for anyone concerned with the future of the Province...

    By Blogger WesternGrit, at 6:44 PM  

  • The other poll was from Angus Reid's "online forum" -- just like the December numbers. Party insiders discounted Angus Reid's numbers entirely, figuring on a plateau around 30%.

    That being said, Angus Reid's numbers feature tremendous support from people over 55, as well as homeowners. Both sets are more likely to vote than others . . .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:13 AM  

  • Actually, the problem is that Alberta's energy ministry is utterly incompetent. The biggest recommendation of the royalty review was to take it out back and shoot it. Of course, that is the one thing that the PCs WON'T consider . . .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:14 AM  

  • This is what happens when governments, expected to plan for the future in terms of 2 to 5 years, come up against special interests (industry generally, oil sector in this case) that are responsible to their shareholders on a quarterly basis.

    Corporate interests have NO commitment to the long-term future of Alberta, beyond maintaining the status quo that benefits them and their shareholders.

    What happens when "conventional" oil and gas is no longer readily available? Then capital flows out of the province as quickly as the oil has over the last twenty years.

    We've already reached "peak" oil production in this province; the low hanging fruit is gone. That's why the reduced royalty rates for conventional production WILL NOT WORK!

    And the notion that if oil prices exceed a set level(around $80/bbl) the royalties will be reduced even further is absolutely ridiculous. The whole royalty review process was initiated because people saw oil and gas explorers, developers, and producers making money hand over fist during the last ten years or so. And now Alberta is saying, in effect, "If you, the oil companies, are making MORE money, we want less", a complete reversal from public intent and interest.

    Prices are anticipated to go up significantly; $80/bbl is the new floor price for conventional production. The Alberta government NEVER predicated their revenue on prices higher than, I think(I could be wrong about the exact number), $57/bbl, even during the boom years. That's why they had all the "unexpected" surpluses.

    If I were an oil or gas producer, what's the incentive to produce NOW, rather than later when the prices go up, and royalties payable go down? That's why this will not work to stimulate oil and gas-field development.

    By Blogger Party of One, at 2:05 PM  

  • The Angus Reid numbers are highly suspect. It's not just party insiders who discount them - anyone who knows anything about polling knows they are unscientific and unreliable, based on a self-selecting panel of partisan actors. It's telling that Reid hurried back in with a second dubious poll the same day Environics posted their much more credible results. Sounds like Reid is polling for the news clips; Environics is polling for the long haul.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:57 PM  

  • Anon 5:57, the Angus Reid poll was conducted Feb 16-23, while the Environics one was Mar 1-9. It seems just a tad unlikely that Angus Reid did theirs in response to Environics...

    As for whether their online method works, well, it was the most accurate predictor of the last federal election. OTOH, they were farther off than other pollsters at predicting the last Alberta election.

    Let's look at the trends from the two pollsters separately:

    Environics (Oct/Mar)
    PC: 34% / 34%
    WRA: 28% / 30%
    Lib: 20% / 23%
    NDP: 9% / 10%
    Other: 8% / 2%

    Angus Reid: (Nov/Feb)
    WRA: 39% / 42%
    PC: 25% / 27%
    Lib: 25% / 19%
    NDP: 9% / 9%
    Other: 2% / 3%

    Both companies show the Wildrose trending up slightly, but disagree on whether the Liberals are rising or falling. (The big "other" drop from Environics is likely from the Greens being deregistered.)

    Anyone have any theories on the very large "house effect" differences between the two companies?

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 4:15 AM  

  • I'd missed the latest Angus Reid AB numbers - thanks.

    I actually trust the Angus Reid federal numbers more than a lot of other companies out there, but I just can't get behind their Alberta numbers. As IH points out, they were off base during the last provincial election and these latest numbers just seem out of step (with both PC internals, public polls, and, well, common sense).

    The issue with them is that they're using their panel. If you have a politically representative panel, like they seem to federally, that's great. But until we get a sense that their Alberta panelists are in lock step with the rest of the province, it's hard to really get behind their numbers.

    I could also see big swings if someone was including the leader name in the vote question or asking a bunch of questions on the economy before the vote question, but I don't see any indication from the tables that that's the case.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:27 AM  

  • Have to love that somehow people think Danielle Smith is different than what is already elected from the PC caucus. If the Wildrose is elected under her I'm not sure what would really change.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:59 AM  

  • she's going to have to do more than smile and say "aww shucks" when someone asks her ...

    So that's what's been going wrong in my job interviews lately.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 11:52 AM  

  • Smith was on CBC’s National Radio Sunday Edition yesterday. I felt Michael Enright was lobbing only softball questions at her (it was one of his laid back, feel good about the country shows). Two things I remember were that Smith said the solid majority of Albertans had conservative values, but then she claimed that only 8 or 9 PC MLAs were real conservatives and the rest were actually just pretending – careerist Liberals infiltrating the PC party and winning the nomination meeting. I would have loved to hear who she thought were the real conservatives in the PC caucus.

    By Anonymous Crescent Heights Guy, at 2:14 PM  

  • Wonder why she never said that when she was a member of the PC party?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:23 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home