Wildrose Alliance Leader Danielle Smith says Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach is responsible for her party's good showing in recent polls because of poor decision-making by the governing Conservatives.
But she concedes that in the next election — still two years away — her party may have to settle for Official Opposition status.
Following a recent byelection win in Calgary, the Wildrose Alliance currently has one seat in the 83-seat Alberta legislature. The governing Tories have 70 seats, while the Liberals have nine and the NDP two. There is one Independent.
Smith, who does not have a seat in the legislature, was elected Wildrose leader in October. She says she understands why some Albertans are unsure what to expect from the Wildrose Alliance, because the party has been around for only two years. But she has claimed the party is growing steadily, with 13,000 members across the province.
An Angus Reid poll of 1,000 Albertans, published earlier this month in the Calgary Herald newspaper, suggested 39 per cent of voters would cast a ballot for the Wildrose Alliance.
That poll showed the fledgling party well ahead of the governing Progressive Conservatives, who were tied with David Swann's Liberals for second place with the backing of 25 per cent of decided voters provincewide.
The poll showed the Tories have slipped to third place in the major cities of Calgary and Edmonton.
Stelmach has shrugged off the recent poll results, saying the party's popularity has been lower in the past but the Tories have always come back because the party appeals to a wide cross-section of Albertans.