The law of holes is clear: if you find yourself in one, stop digging. But that lesson seems to be lost on Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, given her government’s apparent indifference to the depth of the political pit it finds itself in and its determination to keep working the shovel. Despite a number of polls showing her United Conservative Party trailing Rachel Notley’s NDP, she seems determined to keep pushing unpopular ideas and polarizing policies.
In fairness, Smith was never a great candidate for the sort of political pivot that has defined — and often doomed — conservative politicians in recent years. That’s especially true given the recent history of the party she now leads, which turfed its once-popular leader after he strayed too far from the ideological convictions of its base. But according to new data from Janet Brown, whose work is widely regarded as the gold standard of public opinion research in Alberta, Smith’s refusal to break with her party’s most fervent supporters could doom her with the public at large.