EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – Four leaders will take the stage during Thursday evening’s election debate.
The NDP’s Rachel Notley, UCP’s Jason Kenney, Stephen Mandel with the Alberta Party and Alberta Liberal Leader David Kahn will be there while Freedom Conservative Party leader Derek Fildebrandt was not invited.
Will the forum make an impression on voters?
John Santos, a political analyst at the University of Calgary thinks debates rarely sway public opinion, but there are exceptions.
“Sometimes debates don’t matter at all and sometimes they’re pivotal,” said Santos. “Certainly what we saw in the last election was when (then Premier) Jim Prentice said ‘math is hard,’ that was a pivotal moment and that was the point in the campaign where Notley’s support really took off.”
Santos expects much of the attention during the debate will be on the front runners, Notley and Kenney.
“We’re going to see a two-person contest, much like we’ve seen a two-party race so far,” Santos said. “You’re going to see Notley and Kenney really try and squeeze the minor party leaders out.”
Mount Royal University’s David Taras thinks the debate is Kenney’s to lose.
He expects Notley to go after the UCP leader’s record on social issues and focus on controversial comments made by some of that party’s candidates.
“He’s in kind of a death zone, he’s the most exposed, it’s the greatest danger to him,” said Taras. “If he gets through the debate, then I think he can skate to the finish line.”
Santos said the debate could help some voters who remain on the fence make up their mind.
With less than two weeks to go in the campaign, opinion polls suggest more than 20 per cent of voters are still undecided.
ICYMI @Glacier_Media: If strategic voting plays a role in the final stages, the 2019 Alberta Provincial Election may become less about ideology and more about who Albertans are comfortable with as premier. #ableg #abpolihttps://t.co/k6B3mUXHCr
— Mario Canseco (@mario_canseco) April 3, 2019
You can watch the debate on CityTV or stream it on the 660 NEWS website.