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All eyes on Calgary, undecided voters as Albertans hit the polls

Election day in Alberta has many agreeing it's a tight race between incumbent Danielle Smith of the United Conservative Party and NDP leader former premier Rachel Notley, in a campaign that has, in many ways, been unlike any other.

In the final push to get voters to the polls, the ground game is crucial, as that's when parties get their supporters to actually cast their vote. And for many, it seems there's a sense this election comes at a critical time. Advanced polling has been off the charts, with more than 750,000 Albertans casting their ballots before election day.

Lori Williams is a professor of political science at Mount Royal University in Calgary. She thinks the UCP's ground game may be a bit dusty. After all, the party has had a strong base, and little to no competition for years. The NDP, who many believe got protest votes in 2015, may be hungrier.

"I think it's really going to come down to who is not just better organized, but who can actually persuade these fence-sitting voters to come out and vote for them," Williams told CTV.

Williams added undecided voters in heavily populated Calgary and around Edmonton could decide if Notley wins or Smith returns to power. Edmonton typically votes left, Calgary right.

Stephen Carter, a campaign strategist and president of Decide Campaigns is focused on Calgary. He says there are two groups to watch.

"The first is racialized voters. They are breaking almost 2 to 1 for the NDP," explained Carter. "Women voters are breaking 15 to 20 percent higher for the NDP."

What could sway some voters, are endorsements from Conservative politicians who are voting for the NDP. Williams said she's never seen anything like this in Alberta.

Aside from leadership, two big issues facing voters are healthcare and finances.

In the past week, emergency room doctors warned they and the system are in crisis, and that it would get even worse under the UCP.

Williams said concerns around affordability and the economy are also top of mind, and those worried about jobs typically vote conservative.

Williams said there are also rumours that some UCP candidates are promising to get rid of Smith after the election. Even if she wins, the party is deeply divided.

Despite all the challenges -- recent polls suggest Smith may edge out Notley to get a majority of the 87 seats available . Top Stories


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