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HIGH RIVER, Alberta  (LifeSiteNews) – Alberta leadership candidate Danielle Smith, who said she would target federal government overreach with a law preventing the imposition of vaccine mandates, is the clear frontrunner according to a new poll.

A Mainstreet Research survey commissioned by the Western Standard shows that amongst United Conservative Party of Alberta (UCP) leaning voters, Smith had 44 percent support.

Her next closest rival, UCP MLA Brian Jean, had 20 percent, with Travis Toews, who has current Premier Jason Kenney’s backing, standing at 19 percent support.

The only candidate in the running with the full endorsement of Campaign Life Coalition, Todd Loewen, has 7 percent support.

The poll, which was conducted from September 7 to 8 and surveyed 1,247 adults aged 18 and over, shows that while Smith is most popular among high income earning female voters, with 48.4 percent support, she also polled favorably with low income female voters, at 42.2 percent.

Interpreting the poll, the CEO and president of Mainstreet Research, Quito Maggi, stated that “It’s pretty clear Daniel Smith is the favorite here.”

The UCP is set to elect its new leader on October 6 after Kenney announced earlier this year that he would step down due to poor ratings following his imposition of vaccine mandates and lengthy lockdowns during the COVID-19 so-called pandemic.

Taking the party in the opposite direction as Kenney, Smith is running on a platform of medical freedom, no more lockdowns, and no more vaccine mandates.

She has promised that if she becomes premier she will introduce the Alberta Sovereignty Act to deal with federal overreach, which she says will help make Alberta as independent from Ottawa as possible while staying in the Confederation.

Brian Peckford, the last living politician who helped create Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, recently put his support behind a proposed law by Smith which would limit federal government overreach.

A recent poll has shown that amongst UCP voters, 64 percent back Smith’s Sovereignty Act idea.

Smith not without controversy 

Despite strong polling numbers, Smith is not without controversy, especially when it comes to social issues.

Describing herself as a “libertarian,” Smith has thrown her support behind so-called same-sex “marriage,” while also making statements that indicate she is in favor of early-term abortion.

Questions have also arisen after it came to light that her leadership campaign managers used to support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberal Party and the far-left New Democratic Party (NDP).

Most notably, Smith’s deputy campaign manager for northern Alberta, Mike Butler, formerly ran as a provincial and federal NDP and Liberal Party candidate, leading many to speculate whether she is an authentic conservative.

In an opinion piece published by the Western Standard late last month, Butler admitted that “once upon a time I got sucked in by the Justin Trudeau illusion.”

“For a period of time, like many Canadians, I even publicly supported the COVID-19 response taken by Doug Ford, Justin Trudeau, Jason Kenney and the like,” wrote Butler in the piece.

“Then something happened. Things just kept escalating. And escalating. The images on our TV and social media screens showed a nation very divided. It showed a lack of empathy for each other and a complete unwillingness to have any respectful dialogue. This most certainly includes Prime Minister Trudeau.”

Butler said that due to him refusing to “take the COVID-19 vaccine, I immediately felt isolated and locked down in my own country.”

Smith, for her part, said that she did not hire Butler directly, as all the hiring was done by her campaign manager Matthew Altheim.

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