Liberals gaining in Winnipeg: poll

Still rule province but support grows in city

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OTTAWA -- Battleground Winnipeg is heating up again with a new poll suggesting the Liberals are giving the Conservatives a run for their money in the city.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/07/2009 (5008 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — Battleground Winnipeg is heating up again with a new poll suggesting the Liberals are giving the Conservatives a run for their money in the city.

The Probe Research poll, conducted by Probe Research for the Winnipeg Free Press, suggests while the Conservatives are still king provincewide, the Liberals are within spitting distance of the governing party in the province’s largest city.

The poll interviewed 1,000 Manitoba adults by phone between June 8 and June 25. It is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 95 per cent of the time.

The Conservatives, who won nine of the province’s 14 seats in October 2008, continue to dominate, with the support of 44 per cent of decided Manitoba voters. That’s down five points from the October election. The Liberals, who slipped to just 19 per cent of Manitoba voters in the last election, are now at 26 per cent support.

The NDP, meanwhile, slipped three points from their election showing to 21 per cent.

In Winnipeg, the Conservatives are at 36 per cent support, a seven-point drop from the election and just four points ahead of the Liberals, who are now at 32 per cent in Winnipeg. That’s a jump of nine points for the Liberals over last October.

Almost all of their gain is at the expense of the Conservatives, as support for the NDP and the Green party remained virtually unchanged — both parties dropped one point to 26 and five per cent respectively.

Chris Adams, vice-president at Probe, said he thinks this is a sign Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is winning over some Manitobans.

"Since the change of leader, the Liberals are resonating," he said. "The Conservatives should be concerned."

Conservative party president Don Plett shrugged that off. He said the poll was taken during June, when Parliament was sitting and the Conservatives were taking a lot of heat. As well, he said, recent national polls have given the momentum back to his party.

As for Winnipeg, Plett said the Conservatives are ready for a fight.

"Winnipeg has always been an area where we have to work hard for the vote and we will continue to do that," he said.

The Liberals are actually slightly ahead of the Conservatives in southwest Winnipeg, which could bode well for MP Anita Neville in Winnipeg South Centre. She was the only Liberal to win a seat in Manitoba in October 2008.

The Conservatives Thursday nominated Air Canada pilot and lawyer Raymond Hall to go up against Neville in Winnipeg South Centre.

Adams said the pressure will also be on Conservative Rod Bruinooge in Winnipeg South. Bruinooge won the seat from Liberal Reg Alcock in 2006, but Adams said these numbers show he is vulnerable, particularly if the Liberals nominate a strong fiscally conservative Liberal candidate.

A number of people are rumoured to be considering a run for the Liberals in Winnipeg South but thus far none is confirmed.

Adams said Saint Boniface could be in play again as well, though the Liberals’ support in southeast Winnipeg is well behind the Conservatives.

The Liberals nominated former MP Raymond Simard in late June to run again in Saint Boniface. Conservative MP Shelly Glover defeated Simard last October.

Adams said one interesting thing in the poll is that Ignatieff is resonating more among men than women in Manitoba. Provincewide, the Liberals have 30 per cent support from male voters but 23 per cent from women.

Adams said he thinks Ignatieff’s lack of charisma might be at play there.

"When he’s giving a speech he looks like he is passing a kidney stone," said Adams.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

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