04/30/2015 12:48 EDT

Alberta NDP In The Lead Among Decided Voters, According To Polls

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley could be more than just the winner of the leaders' debate, if two new polls are to be believed.

According to polls from both Leger and Return On Insight, 38 per cent of decided voters plan to cast a ballot for the NDP in the upcoming provincial election.

Albertans should be prepared for an NDP minority government, Return On Insight president Bruce Cameron told CBC, which commissioned the poll.

"In 26 years of doing this work in Alberta this is the highest I've ever seen the NDP," he said.

According to the Return On Insight poll, the orange surge is highest in Edmonton, with 57 per cent of decided voters planning to vote NDP, while outside major cities, 34 per cent are on board.

The incumbent Progressive Conservatives sit in second place province-wide, with 24 per cent of decided voters in their camp, while the Wildrose came third with 21 per cent.

The Leger poll, commissioned by the Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald, showed similar results, with 38 per cent and 30 per cent support for the NDP and Progressive Conservatives, respectively.

In Edmonton, 56 per cent of decided voters support the NDP, with the PCs trailing behind at 21 per cent, according to the poll.

But Leger vice-president Ian Large isn't as sure about what that means for Tuesday’s election.

He told the Journal the concentration of NDP support in the capital makes it look like Notley’s party is sure to win, but that regional vote-splitting means anything could happen.

“The Wildrose and the Conservatives could split the right-wing vote, allowing the NDP to make significant gains in Calgary,” he said. “Or, Wildrose voters may move to block the NDP by switching their vote to the Conservatives.”

But regardless of how May 5 pans out, it's clear that Notley is a popular leader, and the ruling Tories see her as a threat.

After many pundits said she won the April 23 leaders' debate, Prentice declared that Alberta is "not an NDP province" and questioned how Notley could afford to fulfill her party's promises.

Speaking to supporters April 25, Notley fired back, saying the election would be a choice between the PCs' tax cuts and "corporate tax giveaways" and her party's plan to hike corporate taxes while preserving education and health care, according to the Calgary Herald.

“Alberta is not an NDP province. It’s not a PC province. It’s not a Liberal province. It’s not a Wildrose province. Alberta belongs to Albertans,” she said.

“And they are going to decide how out-of-touch and arrogant this government is and they are going to tell this government not to tell them who they are or how to vote.”

For the Leger poll, 1,180 eligible Alberta voters were surveyed between April 26 and 28. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Return On Insight surveyed 750 Albertans for about five minutes by phone over four days starting April 25. Their poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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