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Alberta's Election Will Come Down to Calgary: New Poll

A new poll conducted by Pivotal Research shows a tight race between Alberta’s NDP and the United Conservative Party, with all eyes on battleground Calgary.

The poll, conducted online between January 31 and February 7, asked 662 eligible voters how they intend to vote in Alberta’s upcoming provincial general election. The survey also included questions about topical policy issues at the provincial and federal levels. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent could be categorized as decided voters.

I think that, overall, both the NDP and UCP will be able to find positives in this poll, it truly is a neck and neck horse race.
Jihad Melhem
CEO & President, Pivotal Research

The Gap is Widening

The gap between decided voters widens in the province’s three geographical areas: Edmonton, Calgary and “other Alberta.”

The NDP is strongest in the Edmonton area, where Notley leads with 49 per cent support among eligible voters. Alberta’s rural communities and small cities are comfortably UCP and enjoy the same share of support—49 per cent. In Alberta’s other big city, the NDP have a tight lead of 38 per cent while the UCP have traction with 34 per cent.

Five per cent of respondents said they would support the Alberta Party and 12 per cent are undecided.

“Draw a Venn diagram of the parts of Alberta the UCP or the NDP can win in the May election and the circles will overlap in Calgary,” said Pivotal Research CEO and President, Jihad Melhem. “It’s still very competitive there.”

Notley Most Intelligent, Compassionate and Trustworthy

The survey also asked Albertans to rate the party leaders on several attributes like intelligence, compassion and charisma. Notley has a big lead in all categories except for “charisma” where she and Danielle Smith are tied.

According to the poll, Notley is viewed as more intelligent, compassionate and trustworthy.

Cost of Living Top Priority

Pivotal Research also asked Albertans which three issues matter most to them: the top three were cost of living (56 per cent), improving health care (53 per cent) and growing the economy (33 per cent).

Many key UCP issues are low priorities for voters. Standing up to the federal government sits at 17 per cent, increasing natural resources extraction is at 10 per cent and enshrining medical freedom has five per cent.

Albertans Divided on Who to Trust with Priorities

Albertans are divided on which party they trust most to fix these issues. The UCP is most trusted to manage inflation and grow the provincial economy, while the NDP are the party most trusted to improve health care by a large margin (52 per cent for Notley’s NDP versus 25 per cent for Smith’s UCP).

“I think that, overall, both the NDP and UCP will be able to find positives in this poll,” said Melhem. “It truly is a neck and neck horse race.”

No AB Police Force or Private Healthcare

Recent policy ideas were analyzed, too. The creation of a provincial police force is viewed negatively by 53 per cent of all respondents and allowing the private delivery of healthcare is opposed by 49 per cent.

Federal Conservatives Still Favoured

The poll gives the federal Conservatives a comfortable lead over the federal Liberals and federal NDP in decided voter support, though there are noticeable differences between Alberta’s cities and regions.

While the federal NDP are still leading in Edmonton (30 per cent of respondents), it is a narrow result. The federal Conservatives are nipping at their heels with 29 per cent; the Tories also lead the way in Calgary and the rest of Alberta in that metric (45 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively).

In total, 11 per cent of respondents said they do not know which party is the best to govern Canada. The poll found there are slightly fewer decided voters in Edmonton and Calgary than outside the two cities.

Only 1 in 4 Believe Canada “Headed in the right direction”

Only a quarter of those surveyed think Canada is “headed in the right direction.” A slight majority, 51 per cent, say the county is on the wrong track.

Results suggest the challenges Albertans want the next federal government to prioritize are: lowering healthcare wait times (47 per cent), keeping taxes low (45 per cent) and improving the lives of low-income Canadians (40 per cent).

A total of 35 per cent of eligible voters think the federal NDP will do the best job of lowering healthcare wait times—a slight edge over the Tories’ 30 per cent—and 38 per cent believe the federal NDP will be able to improve the lives of low-income Canadians. 53 per cent of eligible voters trust the federal Conservatives with the portfolio of keeping taxes low.

Albertans Support Universal Pharmacare and Dental Care

Finally, Pivotal Research asked Albertans about five federal policy issues: equalization payments, universal pharmacare, national dental care, student loan forgiveness, the monarchy, regulating social media platforms, and defunding the CBC.

Universal pharmacare and national dental care are supported by about 70 per cent of those surveyed. Equalization payments, student loan forgiveness, and regulating social media platforms are viewed favorably by about 40 per cent of those surveyed. The monarchy and defunding the CBC are supported and opposed in near-equal proportions.


Eligible voters are defined as Canadian citizens who are at least 18 years of age on Election Day.

Since the poll is a non-random online survey, a margin of error cannot be reported. If the data were collected randomly through a comparable probability-based sample, it would carry a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percent, 19 times out of 20.

Click to download the full collection of chart slides
Click to download the data report