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Alberta election could wipe out fringe political parties: expert

660 City News with Melanee Thomas 20 March 2019

Alberta’s election campaign is just two days old, and it’s shaping up to be a two-horse race.

That’s according to Melanee Thomas, a political science professor at the University of Calgary.

She expects the New Democrats and United Conservative Party will dominate the landscape.

That means the election could be a tough one for the Alberta Liberals, Alberta Party and the Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta, all looking for scraps of support.

When the legislature was dissolved, those three parties held a combined five ridings.

“It’s going to be very difficult for those smaller parties to win any seats, much less the number they would need to get official party status in the legislature,” said Thomas.

Recent opinion polls suggest the UCP has a strong lead over the New Democrats.

ThinkHQ’s poll released Wednesday has the UCP in front with 49 per cent of decided voters, compared to the NDP’s 38 per cent.

An Ipsos survey on March 17, had the UCP with an 18 per cent lead over the NDP with 53 per cent support.

Yet, Thomas doesn’t think the election will necessarily be a slam dunk for the United Conservatives and leader Jason Kenney.

That’s because there’s still a significant number of undecided voters who could sway the result.

“With (polls) saying anywhere between 25 per cent and 30 per cent of voters are not yet decided about how they’re going to vote, I would expect this campaign is going to matter a lot.”

Where are the party leaders on Wednesday?

NDP Leader Rachel Notley begins the day in Edmonton with a campaign announcement. Notley is then scheduled to speak at events in Red Deer and Lethbridge.

Kenney is in Lethbridge and Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel remains on his home turf with events planned in Edmonton.