WINNIPEG - The first poll of the provincial election campaign puts the NDP well ahead of the Tories, especially in battleground Winnipeg.
According to CJOB68 radio, 41 per cent of decided voters will choose the NDP, while only 32 per cent will cast a ballot for the Progressive Conservatives. The Liberals have only five per cent support.
In Winnipeg, where the Conservatives must pick up several seats to form a government, the gap is even wider. The NDP has the support of 46 per cent of decided voters in Winnipeg while the Conservatives have the support of only 25 per cent.
The poll was conducted by Viewpoints Research for CJOB and the Manitoba Real Estate Association. A relatively small sample size of 579 Manitobans were surveyed by phone between Sept. 14 and 21. CJOB says the poll is accurate + or – four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
A sizeable 19 per cent say they are undecided or refused to answer.
Viewpoints is co-owned by Ginny Devine, the wife of former NDP premier Gary Doer. The company traditionally does most of the provincial NDP’s internal polling.
Liberal spokesman David Shorr says the poll dramatically underestimates his party’s strength, especially in target ridings such as Fort Rouge and Tyndall Park. He said his party’s internal voter-identification numbers are significantly better than the CJOB poll suggests and noted the poll’s small sample size.
Polls done for the Winnipeg Free Press by Probe Research typically have a sample size of 1,000.
Premier Greg Selinger said today the NDP considers the poll’s results meaningless and will continue to work full-steam up until voting day next Tuesday as about a half dozen riding could decide who forms the next government.
"I think you cannot take anything for granted in a race like this," he said. "We always take the attitude we’re two votes behind. I know that might sound like a line we’ve repeated before, but that is the right attitude. You have to earn the right and the privilege of representing people and you do that by not slowing down for one second."
Selinger also encouraged people to vote now in advance polls which are open now and on voting day.
"Elections are all about who gets out and votes," he said. "This is a week where Manitobans we hope, we want to encourage them as much as possible, to participate in democratic process and exercise their privilege and their right to vote in an election."