Remember This? Role of Polling
in Alberta’s 2012 Election
The wildly inaccurate pre-election polls in the Alberta 2012 election purported to show that the election was a “neck and neck” race between the ruling Progressive Conservatives (PCs) and the upstart Wildrose Party. With a month to go, the 24 polls that bombarded Alberta voters during that period suggested that Wildrose would win and even take majority power. Even the Ipsos Reid poll conducted on April 21, two days before voting day, put Wildrose at 41 per cent and the PCs at 32 per cent of the popular vote. Yet, in the end, all these polls, including the one by Ipsos Reid, proved to be very wrong. In the Alberta election, the PCs won 61 seats and the Wildrose won a mere 17 seats.
Albertans discussed the gaping difference between the pre-election polls and the actual election results. Most Albertans were not confused. Many suggested the polls were deliberately manipulated by Alberta’s ruling elite and their media to spread fear of Wildrose so that many “undecided,” “strategic,” and “new” voters would vote for the PCs and re-elect them, ensuring that the energy monopolies who run Alberta could keep in power a party that they were already used to doing business with.
The Party press wrote at that time: “It seems likely that the main purpose of pre-election polls is not to evaluate public opinion but to try to change it.”