Three candidates at the top of the race for the leadership of the UCP, according to the Leger survey

Polls show a tie between former Wildrose leaders Danielle Smith and Brian Jean, with Travis Toews in third place.

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The leadership of the UCP is shaping up to be a three-dog race, according to a Leger360 poll released Friday.

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It shows an early tie between former Wildrose Party leaders Danielle Smith (22 percent) and Brian Jean (20 percent), with former finance minister Travis Toews the only other candidate receiving substantial support at 15 percent. hundred.

Andrew Enns, executive vice president of Leger, cautioned that this is not a survey of UCP members but of the public that identifies as a patron of UCP.

“Looking at the race, these three have had the highest name recognition, so they’re capitalizing on that right now,” he said in an interview with Postmedia.

Former children’s services minister Rebecca Schulz checks in at two percent, as does MLA Todd Loewen and former Alberta Liberal leader Raj Sherman. Former Transport Minister Rajan Sawhney received zero percent support, while former Minister for the Status of Women, Culture and Multiculturalism Leela Aheer recorded no support in the poll.

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Five percent of UCP supporters said they would prefer someone else as UCP leader, while 31 percent were undecided.

Duane Bratt, a professor of political science at Mount Royal University, said there is currently no way of knowing what the actual support is among party members unless a pollster has access to the membership list, which is still in dispute. .

He said the poll likely reflects publicity rather than actual politics at this point.

“More people know who Smith, Jean and Toews are than Rebecca Schulz, Leela Aheer and Rajan Sawhney are,” he said. “There are some interesting things in the poll, but it doesn’t really help us hurt the leadership race.”

Leger360 surveyed 1,025 Albertans online (341 from Calgary, 329 from Edmonton, and 355 from the rest of the province) between July 15 and 17. As a non-probabilistic survey, a margin of error is not technically reported.

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The biggest requirement for the next leader among UCP supporters surveyed is a clear plan to get Alberta’s economy back on track and growing, according to 42 percent of those surveyed. This was twice the percentage who favored a clear plan to rebuild important services like health care and education (21 percent). A clear commitment to conservative values ​​of freedom and respect was a distant third at 18 percent. A clear plan to defeat Rachel Notley and the NDP in the next election was fourth with 14 per cent.

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This goes somewhat against the main messages of the two main candidates in the poll, who have tried to align themselves with those who push the freedom button as they emerge from the pandemic. It can also hamper the party’s need for province-wide support if elected on the basis of one issue.

A commitment to conservative values ​​and freedom as a priority had only 7 percent support in Calgary; it was 22 percent in Edmonton and 25 percent elsewhere in Alberta.

“I see Calgary as a critical battleground in an election for the party,” Enns said.

Bratt said that despite the fact that only one percent of those surveyed pointed to the need to unify the different sides of the party, there is concern that the UCP will remain united depending on the outcome of the leadership race.

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If the new leader doesn’t emphasize “a clear commitment to conservative values ​​of freedom and respect,” he said he wonders how that leader appeals to party members who prioritize that.

“This is still a fragile party and I think the potential for a split from the UCP is still a possibility,” Bratt said.

While UCP leadership survey questions were answered by Albertans who identified as UCP supporters, all respondents answered other parts of the survey, regardless of political affiliation, and that included questions about Alberta being part of Canada.

The idea of ​​seceding from Canada did not meet with widespread support, with 16 percent of those surveyed in favour. Seventy percent of Albertans want to remain part of the federation, while 14 percent said they don’t know.

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The poll also took the temperature of current support among provincial parties.

While Rachel Notley and the NDP saw a small increase in support, going from 44 to 45 percent since March, Jason Kenney’s UCP took the lead, jumping from 35 to 41 percent. Barry Morishita’s Alberta Party went from three to five percent, Paul Hinman’s Wildrose Independence Party fell from eight to four percent, John Roggeveen and the Alberta Liberal Party dropped from four to two percent, and others parties received three percent support across polls. surveyed.

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Twitter: @JoshAldrich03

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