UCP would win a majority government if running against Nenshi, poll shows

Pallas Data’s March 18 update shows that among the six Alberta NDP candidates vying for the leadership position, the UCP would win a majority government over every single one of them — including front runner Naheed Nenshi.

UCP would win a majority government if running against Nenshi

Current NDP leader Rachel Notley announced in January that she was stepping down after a new party leader was chosen.

Among the NDP candidates, Nenshi has skyrocketed to a lead after announcing his leadership bid just last week — but he’s trailing the UCP by 7 seats.

The poll further found that the outsider Nenshi (who previously branded himself as neo-Conservative) is more favourable to NDP voters than any of the candidates who are actually associated with the party.

Notably, Nenshi is polling more favourably for the NDP than the generic NDP ballot, and he has a substantial lead over the other candidates, suggesting the race could end up being a formality, and some of the candidates could drop out before long.

“If there are any negative feelings towards Nenshi about his time as mayor among Calgarians, then this poll certainly didn’t find them,” said Pallas Data CEO, Joseph Angolano.

Pallas Data further showed that, despite Nenshi’s momentum, the UCP has maintained the same lead since just before the May 2023 election when Premier Smith won a majority government.

“If an election were held today, the UCP would win a comfortable majority,” Angolano said.

Nenshi’s mask-off moment arrives 

The former Calgary mayor announced his plans to run on March 11.

Nenshi’s campaign launch focused on “making life more affordable,” and having a strong public health service. He said Premier Smith’s government is “not only incompetent,” but added “they’re immoral and they’re dangerous.” 

“The only things they know how to do are pick fights and waste money,” he said.

Nenshi became the sixth candidate to announce their intention to take over the NDP. The other five candidates are Jodi Stonehouse, Sarah Hoffman, Rakhi Pancholi, Kathleen Ganley and Gil McGowan.

11 years as Calgary mayor

In 2010, Nenshi became the first Muslim mayor of a large North American city. He won three Calgary elections before announcing he would not to seek re-election in 2021, when he was later succeeded by Jyoti Gondek.

The 11-year Calgary mayor recently declared his opposition to Premier Smith’s intention to ban hormone therapy and puberty blockers to children who think they are transgender. Nenshi criticized Premier Smith’s policy announcements as “punching down on vulnerable children.” 

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