is stephen harper taking alberta for granted? absolutely.

And Albertans aren’t giving him or most Conservative candidates any reason not to.

With the exception of closer races in Edmonton-Centre and Edmonton-Strathcona, it’s a fair bet that Alberta’s parliamentary delegation will be draped in various shades of blue after the October 14 vote. Ken Chapman has shared some interesting thoughts on Alberta’s political burnout, and I can agree that after the 2006 PC leadership selection, the 2007 municipal elections, and the 2008 provincial election a lot of politically active Albertans are feeling the political overkill (I know I am…).

With the recent political past in mind, I thought it would be interesting to take a look what the Alberta numbers from the 2006 federal election and 2008 provincial election to see what they can offer.

January 2006 Federal Election – Alberta

28 seats
Liberal 0 seats 219,431 15.3%
NDP 0 seats 167,566 11.7%
Green 0 seats 93,919 6.6%
Independent 0 seats 14,261 1%
March 2008 Provincial Election – Alberta

PC 72 seats 501,028 52.66%
Liberal 9 seats 250,862 26.37%
NDP 2 seats 81,043 8.52%
Green 0 seats 43,563 4.58%
Wildrose Alliance 0 seats 64,370 6.77%

Though it’s important to recognize the different contexts in which both these elections occurred, it is intereting to take a look at and compare the numbers.

It seems clear that Albertans were a lot more eager to elect Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in 2006 than they were to elect Ed Stelmach‘s Progressive Conservatives in 2008. This is indicative of many things, but after 37 years in office Alberta’s governing Tories aren’t exactly energizing and exciting political machine of Peter Lougheed‘s era. The low voter turnout can be blamed on a lot of thing, but I would gather that it had more to do with institutional mediocrity and predetermined outcomes (which isn’t wholly the PCs fault).

The numbers also show that many Albertans differentiate their provincial and federal political ballots, which isn’t much of a surprise — I’m one of those many Albertans (having voted federal NDP in 2006 and Alberta Liberal in 2008). I’m particularly interested to see which party takes the second place spot in Alberta on October 14. Depending on how Elizabeth May and Jack Layton perform during the October 2nd televised debate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Greens and the NDP boost their numbers across Alberta. The Greens have a lot of potential to increase their tally in rural Alberta, where dissatisfied voters seem to have a natural gag reflex to the Liberals and NDP, as witnessed by Joe Anglin and Edwin Erickson‘s strong second place finishes in Lacombe-Ponoka and Drayton Valley-Calmar in the provincial election.

Also, though I’m willing to be $100 that the Liberals will not elect any MPs from Calgary, it will be interesting to see if the recent Cowtown Liberal gains in the provincial election translate into an increase in the Federal Liberal vote in Calgary-Centre, Calgary-Centre North, Calgary-Northeast, and Calgary-West (which overlap the seats held by Liberal MLAs Harry Chase, Kent Hehr, Darshan Kang, David Swann, and Dave Taylor).

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