An overnight poll suggests NDP Leader Rachel Notley was the clear winner of Thursday's televised leaders' debate.
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Mainstreet Technologies polled 2,322 people who watched the debate on television, listened to it on the radio or followed it online or through social media.
The poll asked: "Regardless of which party you happen to support, who do you think did the better job in tonight's debate."
Forty-four per cent of respondents chose Notley as the winner. Progressive Conservative Leader Jim Prentice was rated the victor by 25 per cent of respondents. Wildrose Leader Brian Jean was chosen by 16 per cent and Liberal Leader David Swann by five per cent of respondents.
Eleven per cent were undecided.
"It's very clear that Rachel Notley was the winner of the debate," Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet Technologies, said in a news release. "Notley went toe-to-toe with the premier time and time again and more than stood her ground."
The poll also asked those surveyed who they think would make a better premier. Those numbers broke down like this:
- Rachel Notley: 36 per cent.
- Jim Prentice: 32 per cent.
- Brian Jean: 21 per cent.
- David Swann: three per cent.
- Undecided: eight per cent.
"A month ago, nobody outside of a core political base in Alberta knew who Rachel Notley was," Maggi said. "Today, 36 per cent of Albertans believe she would make the best premier."
The final question asked in the poll was: "Who do you think will win the provincial election on May 5?" Those numbers looked like this:
- Jim Prentice: 37 per cent;
- Rachel Notley: 26 per cent;
- Brian Jean: 19 per cent;
- David Swann: two per cent;
- Undecided: 16 per cent.
The NDP were quick to jump on what they saw as a clear victory for their leader. The party sent out a news release less than an hour after the debate ended, quoting tweets from numerous sources who thought Notley won the debate.
Political commentator Andrew Coyne gave his two cents.
Notley easily the sharpest knife in this drawer, and the most likeable. Swann makes me want to cut my right arm off.— @acoyne
Former MLA Doug Griffiths had his own opinions.
The winner: Notley. Confident, well spoken. Prentice: stronger as it went. Swan: true smart gentleman. Lost: Jean. Rhetoric and script.— @Doug13Ways
Stephen Carter is an Alberta-based political strategist.
Political writer Dave Cournoyer gives Notley a nod.
Rachel Notley is the winner of tonight's debate. She stayed calm and cool, presented a concise message, & avoided Prentice's traps. #abvote— @davecournoyer
Former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith also weighed in.
The Mainstreet poll surveyed 2,322 people who watched or listened to the debate, or followed it online. The poll has a margin of error of 2.03 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.