Second Forum poll shows Wildrose still soaring: Press 1 if you believe it, Press 2, if you have your doubts…

A Forum Research Inc. spokesperson counts up support for Alberta’s far-right Wildrose Party. Below: Forum President Lorne Bozinoff.

Well, that’s one strategy for establishing your polling credibility: If you come up with a poll that other pollsters, bloggers and the usual complainers dismiss as an outlier, do another one that says the same thing.

That’s what Forum Research Inc. of Toronto did today, publishing a poll of Alberta voters’ intentions that shows the Alberta Progressive Conservatives under Premier Alison Redford unchanged from its survey last month at 38 per cent committed support.

Today’s Forum poll also showed the far-right Wildrose Party up a startling six points to 29 per cent, leading the National Post newspaper, to which the poll results were provided first, to trumpet: “Alberta’s Wildrose Alliance poised to take official opposition status in spring vote: poll.” (It’s nice to know it’s not just me that still instinctively calls them the Wildrose Alliance; but then, I still call the Harper Cons the Reform Party.)

Regardless of that, Forum’s latest survey of 1,077 Albertans who indicated they were over 18, which was done over the telephone on Jan. 17 using automated Press-Pound-if-You’re-Undecided type technology, showed Alberta’s other parties spread out behind in positions not dissimilar to those where they were in the company’s Dec. 14, 2011, poll that aroused a certain amount of scoffing among the usual suspects, this one included.

To wit: Alberta Liberals 14 per cent (up from 12 per cent), Alberta NDP 13 per cent (unchanged) and Alberta Party 3 per cent (down from 6).

This latest Forum poll result suggests to this blogger two likely possibilities:

  1. Forum got it right and was simply the first to pick up on a dramatic developing trend of growing support for the Wildrose Party that appeared in December.
  2. There’s something wrong with Forum’s sample that is producing wildly different results from those of most other polling companies, which have put support for Redford and the Conservatives at around 50 per cent or better.

If these latest Forum poll results are accurate, they signify a very serious turn for the worse for the Redford Conservatives. If they are accurate, as noted here the last time Forum came up with numbers like these, they would mean that Conservatives are close to their historic low for support, and moreover that they are no better off under Ms. Redford than they were under Premier Ed Stelmach.

In addition, Forum’s results would indicate that Ms. Redford is not experiencing any sort of honeymoon with voters. Indeed, Forum states in material accompanying its results that more Albertans approve of Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith than approve of Premier Redford.

Moreover, it would mean that Alberta voters have completely broken with their historic behaviour patterns and are not just acting in new ways, but in wildly new ways.

Well, anything’s possible, one supposes, but the Conservatives sure aren’t acting like a party that is in the dumper in the polls – and you’ve got to think that they’re polling like crazy right now. Nor does the population, if you listen to Albertans talking, sound like a group of people who are lo longer experiencing that honeymoon glow from their new premier.

“These findings show that the Progressive Conservative party is maintaining a strong base of support among Albertans,” said Forum Research President Lorne Bozinoff in the company’s report. “Despite the strong support base, Premier Redford’s approval rating remains low, while Smith and the Wildrose Party appear to be gaining some traction.”

“It will be interesting,” Dr. Bozinoff went on, “to see if this trend continues in the months to come.” Yes indeed, it will be, and we should have an opportunity to get some insight into this very soon. There are reports that another poll of Alberta voter intentions has recently been conducted by a major national pollster, and that its results will be published shortly – perhaps even later this week.

If that poll’s results return to the pattern of most voter intention surveys before Forum entered the field late last year, it will be strong evidence that the Conservatives are on their way to another huge majority, the NDP is the most likely party to form the opposition and that something is indeed wrong with Forum’s sample.

If its results show the same trend as do Forum’s, well then, it’s a whole new world in Alberta.

In the mean time, Forum’s poll should help Ms. Smith deal with the expectations-management problem she must surely now have with her supporters, the result of persuading them for more than two years that the Wildrose Party was bound to form government whenever a vote was called.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

6 Comments on "Second Forum poll shows Wildrose still soaring: Press 1 if you believe it, Press 2, if you have your doubts…"

  1. Anonymous says:

    The wild rose should stop their negative campaigning or risk complete irrelevance.

  2. The Invisible Hand says:

    2. There’s something wrong with Forum’s sample that is producing wildly different results from those of most other polling companies, which have put support for Redford and the Conservatives at around 50 per cent or better.

    Actually, only one pollster (Environics) has shown the PCs reaching 50% at any time in nearly three years.

    If Wildrose is at 29%, that merely means they've returned to the same level of support they were at most of the time from late 2009 to mid-2011 – not exactly a "[complete break] with their historic behaviour patterns."

    If that poll’s results return to the pattern of most voter intention surveys before Forum entered the field late last year, it will be strong evidence that the Conservatives are on their way to another huge majority, the NDP is the most likely party to form the opposition

    Come now, Mr. Climenhaga. One poll shows the NDP in second place (by all of 0.2%) and you consider that to be the established "pattern"?

  3. fubar says:

    Ah yes, Forum Research the Wildrose Calgary party for the National Post. Can't wait to see the expressions on D. Smith and the gang after the election, when they soar to maybe 4 or 5 seats.

    I love the dynamic that's going on between Toronto, Calgary and the Reform party in Ottawa. You can just about hear their earnest hope that if they lie enough about their greatness, people will vote for them.

    Forum Research is a hack front for the Reform bankrollers and big business. My question, what is the AB Tories not doing for business that the Wildrose Calgary party would?

  4. David J. Climenhaga says:

    Mr. Hand is correct that only one 2011 poll shows the NDP above the Wildrose Party, but this has never been the basis of my argument that the NDP is more likely to form the Opposition if the Progressive Conservative vote remains strong. Rather, that is based on my own analysis of how the vote is likely to split in ridings where the NDP is strong versus ridings where the Wildrose is strong.

    My analysis is that of an engaged layperson with an interest in politics and polling. Feel free to disbelieve it! Making bets based on my predictions is not recommended. But while I have had some spectacular failures (calling the Calgary Mayoral election for Barb Higgins, for example) my overall record ain’t bad.

    Naturally, I reserve the right to change my mind and write about it as we get closer to an actual election. After all, circumstances are bound to change during the campaign. Moreover, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds!"

  5. The Invisible Hand says:

    You're right, fubar! Look at all the right-wing propaganda Forum churns out:

    - "Hallelujah! Canadians agree it's time to legalize marijuana"
    - "Liberal support climbing with Bob Rae"
    - "New poll shows NDP in lead in B.C."
    - "Oil lobby lagging reality"
    - "Residents want surplus used to save library hours: Poll"

  6. Anonymous says:

    David – I received one of the automated phone polls on or around the day mentioned4. Interestingly it failed to complete, perhaps because I identified myself as voting NDP? Perhaps this is how they get their results through manipulation of their polls?

Comment