Barring any weekend surprises, it looks like Wildrose leader Danielle Smith will be Alberta's next premier. Several polls have come out over the past 72 hours putting Smith's upstart Wildrose Alliance ahead of the governing Progressive Conservatives both in terms of popular vote and seat distribution in the provincial election.
The latest numbers:
- Abacus Data Poll: Wildrose (41 per cent); PCs (31 per cent); NDP (13 per cent); Liberals (12 per cent)
- Campaign Research: Wildrose (41 per cent); PCs (34 per cent); NDP (11 per cent); Liberals (11 per cent)
- ThinkHQ/CTV: Wildrose (41 per cent); PCs (33 per cent); NDP (11 per cent); Liberals (11 per cent)
Regionally, according to the Abacus poll, the Wildrose Party has a commanding lead in Calgary with 44 per cent support followed by the PCs at 29 per cent, the Liberals at 13 per cent, and the NDP at 12 per cent. In Edmonton, the PCs continue to lead with 36 per cent, followed by Wildrose at 29 per cent, the Liberals at 17 per cent, and the NDP at 16 per cent. And, outside of the two major cities, the Wildrose Party has a commanding 25-point lead over the PCs.
Eric Grenier of ThreeHundredEight.com says that while the polls show Wildrose's support has softened through the second half of the campaign — likely because of racial and homophobic comments from two party candidates — Smith is still poised for a slim majority.
"At these levels of support, Wildrose is projected to win 45 seats. That puts them just over the bar for a majority," Grenier wrote in his blog Friday.
"The Tories have picked up one seat since Apr. 17 and are projected to win 37. The New Democrats are unchanged at four seats, while the Liberals are back to being on track to win a single seat."
Note: Grenier generates his seat projections based on an aggregate of all publicly available polling data, weighted by the age of the poll, the size of the sample and the track record of each pollster, as well as the difference between past voting intentions and voting behaviour.
The provincial election is set for Monday, April 23.