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ModlrMike said:The wisdom of this move will be tested at the ballot box.
You're quite right, and I'm too far removed to have any useful sense of Alberta politics, but ...
It seems to me that Alberta has a very long tradition of conservatism both fiscal and social, the latter especially in some rural areas. But it also seems to me that the big cities and larger towns are socially moderate, even progressive, and want, above all, sound fiscal management. That's why, even under Stelmach and Redford, the PCs maintained a decent share of the vote. There is a "hard right," a "religious right," too and it did not cross the floor. Premier Prentice's caucus is, probably, a tad more fiscally conservative than it was last week, but I doubt Ms Smith and her colleagues are going to shift the social status of the caucus in any direction at all.
It is the size of the "hard right' vote that remains to be seen. 400,000+ voted for Wildrose in the last election. Recent polling suggests the PCs have 35%, Wildrose less than 30% and the Liberals and NDP about 15% each. In the last election it was 44%/34%/10%/10% and the seats divided 61/17/5/4. It seems to me that Wildrose is badly positioned to get anything like, say, 25% of the vote and, if they're lucky, they and the Liberals and the NDP will split 15 to 25 seats between them, leaving Premier Prentice with an easy majority of 60 to 75 seats (out of 87) because, since Redford resigned and Prentice took over the PCs have gone steadily, albeit slowly, up in the polls while Wildrose has fallen rapidly from around 50% in March/April 2014 to <30% now.
My :2c: from the outside looking in.