Folk fest fans back NDP: Captain Obvious Poll

Thomas Mulcair NDP GigCity Edmonton

No. 1!

One of the fun things about having 20,000 apparently like-minded folk fenced in at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival is the opportunity to practice some anthropology.

So many people gathered in such a seemingly narrow cultural niche – folk music – where politics tends to lean left, have made Gallagher Park an oasis of green in a sea of red, or whatever the hell the colours the federal political parties are using. Point is: This place is a left-wing, environmentally-conscious, granola-eating, tree-hugging, commie-pinko, patchouli-smelling commune of staunch NDP supporters – right?

Not so fast. In a straw poll to parse the folk fest feeling on the upcoming election, the results were surprising. While most respondents did support the NDP, it wasn’t a landslide. With this event becoming more populist by the year, maybe the old stereotype doesn’t hold anymore.

Of course, a “streeter” polling 25-30 randomly selected folk fest fans is barely enough to be statistically relevant. Just add the margin of error +/- 50% and we’re cool. Obvious hippies were avoided, but then again there didn’t seem to be any. The results may also be skewed by the fact the poll was conducted on Saturday evening, whose headliners (Lucius, Lord Huron, etc.) seemed to appeal more to the young hipsters than the grizzled folk fest old-timers.

“NDP all the way!” said one young girl who didn’t even want her first name used. Dylan, a young computer tech from Edmonton, also leans NDP, adding, “I haven’t forgiven the Liberals, and I don’t trust Harper. He doesn’t seem to have the people’s best interests at heart.”

Rachel Notley NDP Alberta GigCity Edmonton

Will Canada follow Alberta’s lead?

Many young people polled for this story either didn’t know or didn’t care. One other girl begged off answering the question with, “Sorry, I’m from B.C.” Reminded it’s a federal election, she replied “oh,” and walked away. Don’t forget that poll results are also skewed by the fact a lot of people hate being polled. If looks could kill, this amateur pollster would be dead. Others were more forthcoming, with spirits generally higher as one approaches the beer tent.

A young couple from Germany who can’t vote in Canada talked politics with ease – European politics. And we think we have problems.

As far as this wildly inaccurate poll is concerned, NDP has a healthy lead with 75% folkie approval rating. Kate, a lawyer from Edmonton says, “I’ve always liked the NDP’s approach to social programs.” Dan, an accountant from Stettler, Alberta, thinks the NDP could win, “Harper finally recognized that Mulcair exists. That was kind of funny.” Then came a dissenting vote from Brenda, a property manager from Edmonton. “Not the NDP,” she says. “I just don’t like their politics in general.”

Predictably, teachers went for Muclair because of the NDP’s stand on education funding, but a lot of senior citizens who’d voted PC all their lives were even having doubts.

“I usually vote PC, but I haven’t decided yet,” says Gary, a retired tradesman from Hardisty, Alberta. James, a British doctor who settled in Edmonton, also hasn’t decided. He says he’s waiting “to see how the NDP will get on in Alberta.” Not much time left. The election is October 9.

And just one lonely vote for Justin Trudeau

And just one lonely vote for Justin Trudeau

“Hopefully it won’t be a protest vote like Alberta,” says Jackie, an administrative assistant from Edmonton. “I never expected in a million years that the NDP would get into power.”

Gary, from Edmonton, also retired, is evidence Jackie’s fear may come true. “Anything that will get rid of Harper will make me happy,” he says. Don, college teacher from Armstrong, AB, echoes the sentiment: “Time for a change.” Isn’t that somebody’s campaign slogan? Bruce, a retired professor, says he will “support the guy who has the best chance of defeating the conservatives. Even Elizabeth May is better.”

And who got the least folk fest votes of all? The answer may surprise you. It was one lonely thumbs up for Justin Trudeau – which feels like a protest vote from a young female student, Sam from St. Albert. She was by far the most politically articulate folk fest fan who submitted to the poll, young or old. She defends the Son of Pierre against conservatives “and their shitty ads,” and gives a long and passionate spiel detailing why it’s time for a change and why Justin Trudeau would make a good Prime Minister.

She adds, “I’m sick of hearing he’s not ready.”

There you have it: According to a recent poll by Captain Obvious, Edmonton folk fest fans support the NDP and Thomas Mulcair for the next Prime Minister of Canada. Stop whatever has replaced presses.