Thursday, November 5, 2009

Will Alberta change government?

The latest polling from Environics has the Wildrose Alliance comfortably in second place with 28% support. The PCs are still leading, but are only at 34%.

  • PC - 34%
  • Wildrose - 28%
  • Liberals - 20%
  • NDP - 9%
  • Greens - 8%

Alberta seems to go through shifts from one party in government to another once a generation. Between these shift elections the election results are rather boring and stable and in support of the government.

Alberta has had four governments since 1905.
  • Liberals - 1905 - 1921 - 16 years
  • United Farmers - 1921 - 1935 - 16 years
  • Social Credit - 1935 - 1971 - 36 years
  • Progressive Conservatives - 1971 - 2009 - 38 years

In 1971 Peter Lougheed's PCs defeated Social Credit. The 1967 election saw the first weakness in Social Credit since they came to power in 1935. By the 1975 election it was a one party PC show, as it has been since then. Social Credit died as a party by 1982.

Before Social Credit Alberta was governed by the United Farmers from 1921 with big majorities in three elections. The UFA went from government in the 1930 election to not a single MLA elected in 1935.

The first four elections in the province were all comfortably won by the Liberals with a moderate Conservative party.

The strength of government in Alberta election is also shown in how often there is a realistic government in waiting in the form of a strong official opposition. In the 27 elections since Alberta was created in 1905, in only 12 of them has there been a sizable opposition.

Also interesting is that when there has been a change in government the new government has come out of nowhere to win a majority.

I have no idea why Alberta politics are like this.

It is still several years before there needs to be an election in Alberta, but the election could be one in which the Wildrose Alliance wins government from the PCs and the PCs may be reduced to a tiny number of MLAs.

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