Events, my dear boy, events. -Harold Macmillan
To be frank with you, very few expected this result of a strong PC majority.
Whatever the spin that you can do by the election results, the pollsters are the absolute losers of this election.
However, even if this is too early to makes any premature diagnostic, two specific elements are getting my attention.
-Are polls are having a big effect in voting behavior in a sort of anti-bandwagon effect? Considering the polls and with the fact that no polls during the election campaign showed the PC with a big lead like on election night, could more people have voted Wildrose if the polls would have placed the party second to the PC?
-Campaign of fear tend to work well in Alberta. For example, the PC won a big majority in 1982 on the fact that the new Western Canada Concept (a separatist party which won a by-election) was the main adversary of scare tactics employed by the PC Party. But again, 1993 was the last time where an opposition, which was the AB Liberals at that time (which were running on the same campaign theme as the Wildrose) had such a high proportion of popular vote. It’s also the first time since 1971 where any party could challenge the PC Party in Rural Alberta.
Also, the impact of well-oiled party machine is something not always mentioned but which have seemed to have a big impact of this PC victory even in some rural seats.
In conclusion, one thing is sure, pollsters have to change their ways. They fumbled big time on this election.