Opinions of Progressive Conservative Leader Alison Redford worsened following last Thursday’s leaders’ debate, finds a recent Alberta election poll conducted for the CBC.

"Debate performances are as much about invigorating the existing support base of political parties as they are about picking up new supporters," said Bruce Cameron, president of Return on Insight who designed and analyzed the poll.

"In that light, the Wildrose benefitted more than other parties from the April 12 leaders’ debate."

Although there was no clear winner in the eyes of most analysts, it seems Redford fared the worst.

While a majority of Albertans heard, read or saw something about the debate, it seems Redford was the only one who suffered as opinions of Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith, Liberal Leader Raj Sherman and NDP Leader Brian Mason all improved.

In the two days following the Alberta leaders’ debate, the ROI poll reached out to Albertans to gauge how the debate impacted their perceptions of each party leader. 

All leaders, except Redford, had positive ratings

Among the 60 per cent of Albertans who recalled something about the debate, one in three said it made them feel better about Smith while 20 per cent said it made them feel worse about her — resulting in a net positive impact of plus 13.  

Sherman also had a net positive impact from the debate at plus 12 based on 24 per cent of respondents saying they now felt better about him, compared to 12 per cent who felt worse.

NDP leader Brian Mason also fared pretty well with a plus nine rating with 18 per cent feeling better about him and nine per cent feeling worse. 

In contrast, Redford had a net negative score of minus 12 based on her debate performance.

One in four people aware of the debate said it made them feel worse about Redford, compared to 15 per cent who said it made them feel better about her as PC leader.

The debate performance of Smith also impressed her own Wildrose supporters more than the performances of other party leaders impressed their supporters. 

The poll shows among decided voters that:

  • 66 per cent of Wildrose supporters felt better about Smith after the debate.
  • 53 per cent of Liberal supporters felt better about Sherman.
  • 44 per cent of NDP supporters felt better about their leader Mason.
  • 35 per cent of PC supporters felt better about Alison Redford.


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.