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Friday, September 19, 2008

is stephen harper taking alberta for granted? absolutely.

And Albertans aren't giving him or most Conservative candidates any reason not to.

With the exception of closer races in Edmonton-Centre and Edmonton-Strathcona, it's a fair bet that Alberta's parliamentary delegation will be draped in various shades of blue after the October 14 vote. Ken Chapman has shared some interesting thoughts on Alberta's political burnout, and I can agree that after the 2006 PC leadership selection, the 2007 municipal elections, and the 2008 provincial election a lot of politically active Albertans are feeling the political overkill (I know I am...).

With the recent political past in mind, I thought it would be interesting to take a look what the Alberta numbers from the 2006 federal election and 2008 provincial election to see what they can offer.

January 2006 Federal Election - Alberta

28 seats
Liberal0 seats219,43115.3%
NDP0 seats167,56611.7%
0 seats93,9196.6%
Independent0 seats14,2611%

March 2008 Provincial Election - Alberta

PC72 seats501,02852.66%
Liberal9 seats250,86226.37%
NDP2 seats81,0438.52%
0 seats43,5634.58%
Wildrose Alliance
0 seats64,3706.77%

Though it's important to recognize the different contexts in which both these elections occurred, it is intereting to take a look at and compare the numbers.

It seems clear that Albertans were a lot more eager to elect Stephen Harper's Conservatives in 2006 than they were to elect Ed Stelmach's Progressive Conservatives in 2008. This is indicative of many things, but after 37 years in office Alberta's governing Tories aren't exactly energizing and exciting political machine of Peter Lougheed's era. The low voter turnout can be blamed on a lot of thing, but I would gather that it had more to do with institutional mediocrity and predetermined outcomes (which isn't wholly the PCs fault).

The numbers also show that many Albertans differentiate their provincial and federal political ballots, which isn't much of a surprise -- I'm one of those many Albertans (having voted federal NDP in 2006 and Alberta Liberal in 2008). I'm particularly interested to see which party takes the second place spot in Alberta on October 14. Depending on how Elizabeth May and Jack Layton perform during the October 2nd televised debate, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Greens and the NDP boost their numbers across Alberta. The Greens have a lot of potential to increase their tally in rural Alberta, where dissatisfied voters seem to have a natural gag reflex to the Liberals and NDP, as witnessed by Joe Anglin and Edwin Erickson's strong second place finishes in Lacombe-Ponoka and Drayton Valley-Calmar in the provincial election.

Also, though I'm willing to be $100 that the Liberals will not elect any MPs from Calgary, it will be interesting to see if the recent Cowtown Liberal gains in the provincial election translate into an increase in the Federal Liberal vote in Calgary-Centre, Calgary-Centre North, Calgary-Northeast, and Calgary-West (which overlap the seats held by Liberal MLAs Harry Chase, Kent Hehr, Darshan Kang, David Swann, and Dave Taylor).


Anonymous said...

So the moral of the story is that we wouldn't get ignored if we weren't so electoral boring?

Duncan said...

Heck I think we can add the 2006 federal election and the 2006 federal Liberal leadership race to that tally as well. But it isn't so much that there is so many elections, but that there is so little... change is a strong word, but the work doesn't always feel reflected in the results.

daveberta said...

ugh, thanks, Duncan. I forgot about the federal Liberal race...

Bill Given said...

Ahhh, it's good to see that my 10,000 votes weren't wasted at least we made a (small) blip in the radar screen.

I still believe that strong, qualified and well funded independents might have a chance to break through one day. In particular it might be an option at the provincial level. The traditional parties haven't been able to make much headway, so why not?

Signe said...

What is most interesting is that it looks as thought most parties vote counts were half of the Fed Election, in the provincial election, except for the Liberals. Maybe because in the provincial election, either people think the Libs have more of a chance of seats than in the Fed election or because Lib voters are hardcore and they show up at the polling booth.

Werner Patels said...

There's a fallacy on your part. Whether or not the federal and provincial ridings overlap, you cannot compare federal Libs and provincial Libs -- two different things (and even more so once Dave Taylor has taken the reins of the party later this year).

So, having a Liberal MLA at the provincial level is by no means an indication, not even a remote one, that the same people would also vote Liberal federally.

Don't get me wrong: I'd love to see more diversity, because that would certainly make the "political game" more fun and more interesting, but I am also a realist.

Anonymous said...

"and even more so once Dave Taylor has taken the reins of the party later this year"

Doesn't Taylor's campaign has close connections to the federal Liberals?

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts about what is happening in the Edmonton-Sherwood Park riding??