News, Politics

Dramatic PC Win In Alberta Confounds The Pollsters

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Despite enthusiasm for the Wildrose party, Danielle Smith was unable to unseat Alison Redford in the Alberta Provincial election held yesterday. Image: Dave Cournoyer
Despite enthusiasm for the Wildrose party, Danielle Smith was unable to unseat Alison Redford in the Alberta Provincial election held yesterday. Image: Dave Cournoyer

“They” had predicted that this election would make history in Alberta. “They” had predicted that the new Wildrose Party would win, and take over from the Progressive Conservatives (PCs), who have held power there since 1971. “They” were wrong.

“They,” are the pollsters; the people who take polls. They ask people, prior to an election, how they intend to vote and make an educated guess as to who will win an election.

Most of the polls predicted not just a win for the Wildrose Party, but that the Wildrose Party might get a majority as well.

In fact, the election went very differently. The PCs not only held on to power, but they won a majority government in Alberta.

Why were the predictions so wrong? The key was the “undecided” vote. Before the election, many voters were still undecided. If you thought those “undecideds” would vote for Wildrose, you might predict a Wildrose win. But the undecideds largely voted for the PCs, especially in the big cities like Edmonton and Calgary.

But it wasn’t just the poll-takers who thought Wildrose would win–many PCs themselves thought the election would turn out differently than it did.

According to some newspapers before the election, people in Alberta were feeling that the Progressive Conservative party had been in power for too long, and was no longer in touch with the needs of the people of Alberta.

Whatever the case, Albertans just weren’t ready for the new Wildrose party to form its government.

The Wildrose Party of Alberta was founded in 2007, just five years ago. Its leader is Danielle Smith. (The wildrose is Alberta’s official flower.)

The Wildrose Party is more “to the right” than the Conservatives in Alberta. (Political parties are said to be left, right or centre—depending on what their policies–or beliefs–are.)

Alison Redford, Premier of Alberta; Image: Government of Alberta
Alison Redford's PCs held on to power in Alberta. Redford is the Premier of the province. Image: Government of Alberta

During the election, the Wildrose Party received some criticism for remarks made by a few of its candidates that some people took to be homophobic (anti-gay) or racist. The PCs had their share of election problems, too, including a scandal when it was discovered that a number of PC legislature members had been paid $1,000 a month for a committee that hadn’t met in four years. (The members later returned the money.)

Alison Redford is the leader of the PCs. She remains Premier of Alberta, the position she has held since 2011.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The Wildrose party is only five years old. The Progressive Conservative party is over a hundred years old.

If you could have voted in the Alberta election, would you have been worried about how young the Wildrose party is or would you have been excited by their youth? Would you have been concerned about the age of The Progressive Conservatives or you have been excited by their experience?

Reading Prompt: Reading Unfamiliar Words
Have a discussion with a classmate or a small group about the following topic: How does your experience watching election news on television help you understand election news when you are reading?

Primary
Explain, initially with some support and direction, how their skills in listening,
speaking, writing, viewing, and representing help them make sense of what
they read (OME, Reading: 4.2).

Junior
Explain, in conversations with peers and/or the teacher or in a reader’s notebook, how their skills in listening, speaking, writing, viewing, and  representing help them make sense of what they read (OME, Reading: 4.2).

Intermediate
Explain, in conversation with the teacher and/or peers or in a reader’s notebook, how their skills in listening, speaking, writing, viewing, and representing help them make sense of what they read (OME, Reading: 4.2).

Grammar Feature: Demonyms
Someone who is a citizen of Alberta is called an Albertan. In fact, people who are citizens of all places have a title. These titles are called demonyms.

On the blanks, write the name of the places that match with each demonym.

EASY
Swede _________________________
New Guinian _____________________
Scottish ________________________

MEDIUM
Haitian _________________________
Michigander _____________________
Norwegian ______________________

HARD
Malagasy________________________
Bajan __________________________
Pinoy __________________________