A poll conducted for the CBC shows the Wildrose Party has a seven-point lead over the Progressive Conservatives just a week before the Alberta election, but it's edging towards majority territory.
The Return on Insight telephone poll found Wildrose has a commanding lead in rural areas, the most support of any party in Edmonton, and is running neck-and-neck with the PCs in Calgary.
ROI president Bruce Cameron said the race is tightening now that Liberal supporters appear to have moved to support the PCs in Calgary.
"It seems Albertans are increasingly lining up on one of two sides in this election: the Wildrose Party or the PC party," he said.
With the election on April 23, the poll shows among decided voters that:
- The Wildrose Party leads with 43 per cent followed by the PCs at 36 per cent.
- The Liberals at 11 per cent.
- NDP at nine per cent.
- Alberta Party at one per cent.
Cameron said a Wildrose majority government is possible, given its level of support. The real battleground, the poll suggests, will likely be in the province's two big cities.
In Calgary, the Tories have a slim four-point lead over Wildrose at 45 per cent support to 41 per cent. In Edmonton, it's the Wildrose Party with a slight lead of 37 per cent to 31 per cent.
Wildrose has strong lead in rural Alberta
The Wildrose Party has a commanding 21-point lead over the PCs outside of the two major cities, at 52 per cent to 31 per cent.
But the poll found 24 per cent of Albertans are undecided about who to vote for, which reflects a higher than normal level of voter uncertainty this close to an election.
"Strategic voting, in which Liberal and ND supporters abandon their traditional loyalties to vote PC to stop the Wildrose, may have already begun in Calgary, making it a virtual tie," he said.
"But in Edmonton, Liberal and New Democrat support has held firm thus far, preventing a PC comeback and enabling the Wildrose to take the lead in the capital.
"These types of unprecedented shifts are very difficult to predict and even more difficult to control, so we are likely to see a hotly contested finish to the 2012 Alberta election."
Results of the poll are based on a random poll of 800 Albertans. It was conducted April 13 and 14, and is accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.