Could COVID-19 reform Alberta’s political landscape? The other day we shared some of the results of our latest survey, which indicated that approval of certain leaders, like Dr. Hinshaw and Prime Minister Trudeau, and organizations like AHS, is rising during this pandemic. But how are our provincial political leaders faring?
Between our late March survey and this past week, both Premier Kenney and opposition leader Rachel Notley saw dips in approval for their leadership performance – Premier Kenney dropped from 46% to 39%, and Notley lost 6%, going from 46% to 40%. For comparison, Prime Minister Trudeau’s approval numbers are sitting at 48%.
The indication that trust in Prime Minister Trudeau is higher in Alberta than it is in Premier Kenney is a radical change for our province, even if it proves to be temporary.
Just based on the data we’ve gathered, it’s tough to speculate on a cause for this inversion in approval, but there are a couple factors that may have played a role. First, federal assistance for those experiencing unemployment and other hardships because of the pandemic has been rolling out quickly and has enjoyed an exceptionally high profile. For nearly a month the PM’s daily COVID-19 briefings have essentially acted as a funding-program-of-the-day announcement.
Another factor may be that though approval of the health system is high, the UCP’s core voter bases in rural Alberta and Calgary have experienced a double whammy of healthcare setbacks recently. Rural doctors and hospitals are expected to be the hardest hit in the contract battle between the government and Alberta doctors, and Calgary has borne the brunt of Alberta’s COVID-19 infections.
So will this approval Freaky Friday stand the test of time? It’s too soon to tell, and hard to know if the trends we’re seeing will bear out past the pandemic and the economic consequences that will surely follow. But the team at Y Station will be keeping an eye on these trends going forward in these, dare we say, unprecedented times.
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