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

Only 13 new COVID-19 cases confirmed by Alberta gov’t Saturday

There’s currently only two active cases in province’s central zone

Food Truck Fridays to start new Drive and Dash events next week

Events will be held in Westerner Park parking lot Thursday evenings, Friday afternoons all June

Alberta gov’t to expand mental health supports

The Government of Alberta says a $21.6-million investment will expand online resources… Continue reading

City of Red Deer encouraged residents to participate in Food Bank Ninja Challenge

The City of Red Deer is encouraging residents to participate in a… Continue reading

READER VIDEO: American White Pelicans spotted in Red Deer River

A Red Deer Advocate reader spotted a group of American White Pelicans… Continue reading

Protesters rally in Toronto against anti-black, Indigenous racism

TORONTO — Thousands of people are taking part in a rally on… Continue reading

Another COVID-19 case reported in northern New Brunswick on Saturday

CAMPBELLTON, N.B. — People from a city in northern New Brunswick lined… Continue reading

B.C. sees second day in a row with no COVID-19 deaths as schools ready to reopen

VICTORIA — British Columbia announced no new deaths from COVID-19 for the… Continue reading

UN sets pandemic voting rules for Canada’s Security Council campaign

OTTAWA — The United Nations has confirmed that the election for non-permanent… Continue reading

Police watchdog investigating death of Richmond man

RICHMOND, B.C. — British Columbia’s police watchdog has been called in to… Continue reading

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Tooting the importance of whistling

OK, so someone who tattles on another person is a whistleblower, and… Continue reading

Police see increase in speedy drivers on quieter streets during pandemic

Police across the country say they’ve been dealing with more complaints about loud, fast vehicles

Most Read