Support for Alberta premier down 25 points: poll
Published Monday, March 4, 2013 6:35PM EST
Last Updated Monday, March 4, 2013 6:44PM EST
Support for Alberta Premier Alison Redford has declined significantly just 10 months after her Progressive Conservatives won a majority government, according to a new poll.
The Think HQ poll, released to CTV’s Power Play, found that Redford’s popularity has taken a 25-point hit, with 58 per cent of respondents saying they disapprove of the leader, while 33 per cent approve of her.
If another election were held today, the poll suggests only 26 per cent of Albertans would vote for the Progressive Conservatives, while 38 per cent would vote for the Opposition – the Wildrose Party led by Danielle Smith. A significant number of respondents – 28 per cent – said they were undecided.
The poll surveyed 1,214 people via an online research panel from Feb. 12 to Feb. 16. The margin of error was 2.8 per cent.
The survey suggests that there has been a “massive shift” in public concerns about finances and the economy, with an increasing number of Albertans worrying about government deficit.
As a result, government approval is now at 29 per cent, according to the poll.
Smith says she’s not surprised.
“It’s pretty clear that Albertans are casting harsh judgement on a premier who will say one thing during the election and then do something completely opposite,” the Wildrose leader told Power Play on Monday.
“And I think nowhere is that trust broken more than on how badly she has managed Alberta’s finances.”
The government has said it faces a $6-billion oil and gas revenue shortfall, despite an otherwise strong economy.
Redford has blamed the so-called “bitumen bubble” – the gap between the price of Alberta’s oilsands bitumen and North American benchmark oil price – which she said will take $1 billion out of this year’s budget.
Smith said that’s because the Conservatives ignored warnings last year that oil prices would go down and made inaccurate budget projections, which led to overspending.
“They have demonstrated that they cannot manage the money that they are getting now,” Smith said.
She said the government must get its spending control to balance the books and not resort to raising taxes.
As the Conservatives prepare to table the provincial budget this week, unions are warning that public service cuts could be on the horizon.