From deficit slaying to taxes: New poll suggests Alberta's political and geographic divisions remain

The geographical and political divisions revealed in the last provincial election are alive and well in the opinions of Albertans, a new Mainstreet poll suggests.

Rural Alberta, painted green with Wildrose support in 2015, is the least satisfied with the NDP government, with Tory-blue Calgary just slightly less peeved and orange-hued Edmonton flirting with satisfaction. 

The poll comes just days before the provincial government tables its new budget in legislature on Thursday. 

- ANALYSIS | Alberta spends $2,700 more per person than B.C. yet collects $1,300 less tax

Taken as a whole, 58 per cent of Albertans are dissatisfied with the government's response to the province's economic woes, suggests the Mainstreet Research poll commissioned by PostMedia, released Tuesday.

In Edmonton, it's a statistical tie — with 40 per cent saying the government response has been excellent or good and 41 per cent saying it's been poor or very poor.

In Calgary, 52 per cent aren't satisfied.

In the rest of the province, a whopping 66 per cent of respondents said the government's response has been poor or very poor.

Too fast or too slow?

The same division appears when respondents were asked if the government was moving too fast or too slow in slaying the deficit. 

In Edmonton, 40 per cent think the government is moving at about the right speed versus 34 per cent who think it's moving too slow. 

In Calgary, 50 per cent say the government needs to speed things up, while 59 per cent in the rest of the province want to see the government pick up the pace. 

The political and geographical divisions play out in every area of the poll, including the increased desire for spending on infrastructure, health and education in Edmonton versus the desire for tax cuts and reduced spending in Calgary and the rest of the province. 

Taxes versus deficits

"It's unlikely Albertans are going to get everything they want on their wish list but some will see financial relief with the government's plan to reduce school fees," wrote Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet Research.

"What's clear is that Albertans across the province want to see a reduction in the taxes they have to pay despite the fact that a tax reduction would make it harder to slay the deficit, which is the number two priority at 24 per cent."

The poll via phone was conducted on March 10, 2017.

For comparison purposes only, a random sample of this size — 2,374 Albertans — would yield a margin of error of 2.01 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | 'A significant concern': Immunization rates in southern Alberta will mean further outbreaks, doctor predicts

- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | Red Scorpions, Independent Soldiers gangs tied to Red Deer drug-trafficking busts, police allege