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Ridings to watch for in the Alberta election

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Polling from major firms ahead of Tuesday’s election all point towards a United Conservative majority, but is there a chance for an upset and which ridings are worth watching?

John Santos with Janet Brown Opinion Research says the chances of an upset are unlikely, with the UCP leading in every major poll since the writ was dropped.

But as Santos points out, the polls are not always a guarantee.

“You think back to 2012 when Danielle Smith was supposed to handily defeat Alison Redford and Alison Redford won a very comfortable majority government. That was probably a combination of the polls underestimating the establishment vote that tends to vote PC and a last-minute shift.”

He says the record turn-out to advanced polling stations indicates Albertans have made up their minds and polling research would reflect the general consensus.

“With that degree of advance vote, I don’t know if we’re going to be in for an election day surprise.”

READ MORE: Record setting number vote in advance polls

The two major parties are so far ahead of the others, that there’s a chance the Liberals or Alberta Party won’t win a seat this term.

Recent polls show the Alberta Party sitting at around 10 per cent of the popular vote right now which Santos says usually means at least one seat in the legislature which could be former leader Greg Clark as he looks to keep his seat in Calgary-Elbow.

A number of other Calgary ridings are set up to be exciting races including Calgary-Mountainview.

That riding has long been a Liberal stronghold most recently held by former leader David Swann.

Current Liberal leader David Khan is looking to replace him there but is in tough against NDP Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley, the UCP’s Jeremy Wong and former broadcaster Angela Kokott with the Alberta Party.

READ MOREAdvance poll numbers up as NDP close the gap on UCP: poll

Here are other ridings across Alberta to watch on election night.

Incumbent NDP MLA Deborah Drever is running against the UCP’s Demetrios Nicolaides. Drever barely won here in 2015.

NDP Finance Minister and former city councillor Joe Ceci is running here because his old riding was eliminated.
He’s up against Tom Olsen for the UCP.
This is considered one of the safer seats for the NDP, so not a good sign for them if they’re losing here.

Incumbent NDP cabinet minister Ricardo Miranda is the incumbent here but won by a small margin in 2015.
he’s running against the UCP’s Mickey Amery, son of former PC MLA Moe Amery.

NDP incumbent cabinet minister Brian Malkinson faces a challenge from the UCP’s Nicholas Milliken.

Alberta Party MLA, and former leader. Greg Clark is the incumbent here and is facing former UCP leadership contender Doug Schweitzer, and the NDP’s Janet Eremenko, both of whom have launched strong campaigns.

A close race is expected from NDP incumbent Craig Coolahan and the UCP’s Jeremy Nixon, who is the brother of UCP MLA Jason Nixon.

Incumbent NDP cabinet minister Irfan Sabir is up against the UCP’s Jasraj Singh Hallan.

This riding was represented by NDP cabinet minister Stephanie Mclean, who decided not to run again.
NDP “star candidate” Anne Mcgrath, who once worked as Chief of Staff to the late Jack Layton, is taking her place. She’s running against the UCP’s Jason Copping.

Deputy UCP leader Leela Aheer is facing off against former UCP MLA and current Freedom Conservative Party Leader Derek Fildebrandt. Fildebrandt was removed from the UCP following a number of controversies.

Alberta Party Leader and former Edmonton mayor, Stephen Mandel is up against NDP incumbent, Lorne Dach

NDP Environment Minister Shannon Phillips is running against UCP candidate Karri Flatla.
If she can’t hold on to this riding, it’s not a good sign for the NDP in other ridings outside Calgary and Edmonton.

This riding south of Edmonton has NDP cabinet minister Shaye Anderson taking on the UCP’s Brad Rutherford.

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