By Ryan Dahlman
With the last deadline to purchase UCP memberships in order to vote for the next leader passed on Aug. 12, the race seems to be narrowing down and it seems like history seems to be repeating itself.
They have a lot of beefs yet, the bouquet is down to two.
The latest United Conservative party Leadership polling averages were very telling. Amongst strictly UCP supporters everyone’s favourite candidate “Undecided” is leading the pack of Strictly First Preference Polling’s Aug. 11 poll. The number of Undecided rose sharply from July 14-July 28 from about 18 per cent to about 30 per cent but by Aug. 11 at 27.3 per cent.
Danielle Smith support has stayed consistently and has risen the last few weeks to 26.1 and Brian Jean whose support has remained consistent with Smith’s including the ups and downs is at 24.9.
Former finance minister Travis Toews who has the support of many MLAs is a consistent but unimpressively mediocre 16.1 per cent.
Independent MLA Todd Loewen is at 2.3%; Rebecca Schulz is at a shockingly low 1.7 per cent and Rajan Sawhney has been consistent but unfortunately for her at 1 per cent.
Schulz made a push on Aug. 11 for people to vote memberships but with only well known but non-Alberta politicians Rona Ambrose and former Sask. Premier Brad Wall endorsing her, she looks to be an also-ran with many of the social media critics not liking her work as Children’s minister nor thinking she has enough experience despite being mildly popular as compared to some of her colleagues.
Smith has the support of Kaycee Madu and Devin Dreeshen, both having some rough patches in their stints as cabinet ministers.
The only one with support is Jean who stays strong and could easily catch Smith. However unlike Smith Jean’s campaign seems to be low key. Whereas Smith is everywhere in the public eye, Jean seems to be MIA, whether it’s because he is unavailable to the media or he plans on making a final push at the end, it is undeniable that those two are examples of the UCP becoming more fiscally and socially Conservative.
Both Smith and Jean don’t seem to have any patience with negotiating with the federal government. Jean was an MP from 2004-2014 and his campaign platform all over his website has the theme of “Autonomy for Albertans.”
The UCP seems to be looking kinda Wildrose right now. Flying with more than half of those answering the poll, what the reaction will be with the undecideds of the entire Alberta electorate will be interesting.
UCP leadership vote goes Oct. 6.