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I'll Say it Again: the Liberal Surge in Alberta Doesn't Exist

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Apparently taking a cue from yours truly on examining 2011 election data in order to determine what the 2014 byelection in Fort McMurray-Athabasca really means -- namely whether or not the Liberal Party had really produced a stunning surge in the riding or not -- the folks at Pundits Guide decided to examine how the 2014 results might measure up within the riding as it will exist in 2015, when newly-distributed ridings will take affect.

They combined results from polls currently located outside the riding -- but will become part of it in 2015 -- from 2011 with the results from 2015, and rushed their conclusion to press. Their first report back on the subject was reassuring for partisan Liberals: they declared that Liberal candidate Kyle Harrietha would have won the riding based on the redistribution under which the riding will be contested in 2015.

But there was a problem: they forgot about portions of the Cold Lake riding that would become part of Fort McMurray-Athabasca.

Whoops. Your final score: Conservatives 47-Liberals 35.

And while the folks at Pundits Guide made the crucial error of presuming that results in 2015, hopefully with a much-higher voter turnout, will remain the same as 2014 -- in fact the most recent polling numbers indicate the Liberals have very little growth room left in the riding.

In other words: regardless of what the folks at Pundits Guide may prefer, the Liberals have gotten as close in Fort McMurray-Athabasca as they're ever going to get. Low voter turnout in 2014, particularly to the advance polls that oilsands workers pretty much need in order to vote, was their friend. Kyle Harrietha better not give up his day job.

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