Nearly half of Albertans say the leaders’ debate between United Conservative Party leader Danielle Smith and Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley will impact their vote, a new poll suggests.

The Thursday night debate comes in week three of the provincial election campaign, with polls still showing a tight race between the two parties.

A Global/Ipsos poll found that 43% of respondents said the event “will be an important factor in my vote decision.” Another 40% disagreed, while 16% said they don’t know.

“We’re always hopeful that a debate is going to make a difference in an election as close as this — it certainly can,” Ipsos senior vice-president Kyle Braid told Global News.

“So with it as close as this, there is always the chance that the debate is going to be something that is going to sway that little portion of voters that’s going to make the difference to get to 44 seats and a majority.”

The Global/Ipsos poll was conducted between May 10-13 and surveyed 800 Alberta eligible voters online. 

Both Notley and Smith have been campaigning to appeal to moderates in swing ridings in Calgary. Both have made announcements to increase public safety, invest in health care, and to cut taxes

The UCP teed off the election campaign with a promise to create a new 8% tax bracket on income under $60,000. Under the new policy, every Albertan earning $60,000 or more will save $760, with savings of up to $1,500 per family.  

“(The) United Conservative government has a track record of increasing investments and decreasing unemployment,” UCP candidate Devin Dreeshen said Wednesday. 

On Monday, the Alberta NDP pledged to drop the small business tax rate down to zero, matching the rate in Saskatchewan.

The small business tax rate in Alberta currently sits at two per cent on the first $500,000 of income generated. The NDP said in a media release that small businesses would save up to $10,000 per year, at an estimated cost of $150 million to the Government of Alberta.

The NDP also plans to increase the corporate tax rate from 8% to 11% to increase revenue — a policy the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has given a “failing grade.”

Albertans will head to the polls on May 29.

Those planning to watch the debate can tune into True North’s live show beginning at 5 p.m. MT.


  • Rachel Emmanuel

    Rachel is a seasoned political reporter who’s covered government institutions from a variety of levels. A Carleton University journalism graduate, she was a multimedia reporter for three local Niagara newspapers. Her work has been published in the Toronto Star. Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the Political Matters internship, placing her at The Globe and Mail’s parliamentary bureau. She spent three years covering the federal government for iPolitics. Rachel is the Alberta correspondent for True North based in Edmonton.