News / Calgary

Budget has ‘enormous implications’ as Alberta Tory support slips: Pollster

Just days before what’s expected to be a tough provincial budget is released, a new poll indicates support for the governing Tories has dropped below the opposition Wildrose and only one-third of Albertans approve of the job being done by Premier Alison Redford.

Released Monday, the online survey from ThinkHQ Public Affairs Inc. was conducted in February, right around the time the Tories began warning of the implications a then-forecasted $6-billion revenue shortfall could pose. That figure has since been revised to $4 billion.

It shows the opposition Wildrose receiving 38 per cent support among decided voters compared to 26 per cent support garnered by the Tories. The NDP and Liberals netted 16 and 13 per cent support, respectively.

ThinkHQ pollster Marc Henry said it appears the looming budget has “enormous implications” for the Redford government.

“What's missing from that narrative is, well, ‘OK, what's the path out of this?’ ” Henry said. “Their message seems to be quite scattered in and around: What’s the solution? That absence of an answer is really at the root of the softness in their polling numbers.”

But Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk, reached while doing some volunteer work building a playground in Vietnam, dismissed the data.

“I don’t read them, I don’t care about them” he said. “I can commission a poll for you tomorrow that shows it the other way around.”

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith, meanwhile, declined to discuss support among decided voters but said she was troubled by findings in the poll suggesting Redford’s job approval rating is just 33 per cent.

“I think people feel betrayed,” Smith said. “I think they feel there was dishonesty and I think they don’t trust that this government knows what to do to get out of it — I think that comes through loud and clear.”

ThinkHQ’s online poll was conducted among 1,214 Albertans between Feb. 12 and 16 and has a margin of error plus or minus 2.8 per cent.

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