Wildrose leader Danielle Smith makes a campaign stop at a family farm near Chestermere on Wednesday. Albertans go to the polls on April 23.

Wildrose leader says Alberta’s undecided voters have big decision

The race between the two conservative parties in the Alberta election campaign has been likened to a nasty right-wing divorce — the Wildrose splitting from its Progressive Conservative roots and both parties now fighting to claim custody of undecided voters.

CHESTERMERE — The race between the two conservative parties in the Alberta election campaign has been likened to a nasty right-wing divorce — the Wildrose splitting from its Progressive Conservative roots and both parties now fighting to claim custody of undecided voters.

And, if the polls are correct, there are a lot of voters to fight for.

Several surveys have the number of votes still up for grabs at 20 per cent — a number that hasn’t budged much throughout the campaign.

Monday’s election result could hinge on whether Danielle Smith’s Wildrose party, made up largely of disgruntled Tories, can persuade the fence-sitters to give her the nod rather than Premier Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservatives.

“It’s a big decision we’re asking people to make. Having voted for the same way for 41 years, we’re now asking people to make a decision to move in a different direction with a new party,” Smith said at an event Wednesday.

She said Albertans worried about a new approach only need to realize that her party espouses many of the same values as PC governments of the past.

“For most of our history we had good, clear, competent government and when we decide to change it’s because we don’t see those things reflected in government anymore and I think that’s what people are asking,” she said.

With the large pool of votes apparently still out there, the Conservatives put out a missive Wednesday that said the PCs were the first choice of undecided voters.

The issue of strategic voting has been raised in recent days — supporting one party to keep another from winning the election.

One venue is a new website titled “I Never Thought I’d Vote PC.” The site depicts young people saying while they are no fans of the Tories, they will vote for them over concern about homophobic and racist comments made recently by two Wildrose candidates. One man on the site says he would rather have his face eaten by rodents than vote PC, but he’s going to anyway.

David Taras, a political science professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, said the impact of having a high number of undecided voters is overblown.

“The number may be high but it’s not as significant as you would expect,” said Taras.

“Traditionally, voter turnout has been low in Alberta and when it comes to undecided voters only about one in five actually ends up voting.

“Most of them simply stay home.”

But Taras notes that even a five per cent change in the polls could cause a shift in the outcome.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal study details workers hit hardest by tax, benefit system for extra earnings

OTTAWA — Newly released documents show Finance Department officials calculated that workers… Continue reading

Cenovus. (The Canadian Press)
Cenovus to buy Husky Energy in deal valued at $23.6B, company will remain in Alberta

CALGARY — Cenovus Energy Inc. is buying Husky Energy Inc. in an… Continue reading

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 10:49… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats turn minority into majority in British Columbia election

The New Democrats won a majority government in the British Columbia election… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

CALGARY — An inquiry into who is funding environmental opposition to the… Continue reading

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

The Cogeco logo is seen in Montreal on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially facing higher taxes as the possibility of a contested U.S. presidential election appears to be fading, say investment experts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Patrick Semansky
Markets concerns about contested U.S. election fading with Biden lead in polls

TORONTO — Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially… Continue reading

(File photo)
Ontario records more than 1,000 new daily COVID-19 cases for first time

Ontario is reporting more than 1,000 mew daily cases of COVID-19 for… Continue reading

Pope Francis delivers his message during the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope names 13 new cardinals, includes US Archbishop Gregory

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Sunday named 13 new cardinals, including… Continue reading

Dave Mercer, President of Unifor Local 2121, overlooks Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Terra Nova floating production vessel that is anchored there on Friday, October 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
As N.L.’s oil industry sputters, the emotional toll of the cod moratorium looms large

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Dave Mercer spent the early 1990s roaming around… Continue reading

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada's top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Canada’s top physician painted a bleak picture Saturday of the toll the… Continue reading

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is naming his shadow cabinet, including his predecessor Andrew Scheer as the party's infrastructure critic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were “late and confused” on COVID response

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says Alberta has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Most Read