Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/12/2008 (3173 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The NDP government put a halt this year to further hog-barn construction in a large part of the province, spurring protests from farmers and a vigorous advertising campaign from the Manitoba Pork Council.
A new omnibus poll shows the Progressive Conservatives cut into the NDP's lead and that the two parties are in a statistical "dead heat" in the race for public support.
At 43 per cent, the Tories edged out the NDP's firm grasp on public support by two percentage points. The NDP has seen a five-point drop in support since June and is polling at 41 per cent. The Tories made dramatic gains outside Winnipeg, grabbing 63 per cent of voters outside the Perimeter Highway ---- up from 49 per cent in September.
The Liberals had the support of 10 per cent of Manitoba adults polled, according to the survey done in late November by Probe Research for the Winnipeg Free Press.
Probe Research president Scott MacKay called the drop in support "inevitable" and said Doer's NDP has had an unusually high approval rating since he took office in 1999.
While he admitted the numbers could be a mid-term "blip," MacKay said it could be a sign of a tipping point and that the public wants a change.
He said the NDP's decision to ban new hog farms in a wide swath of southern Manitoba outraged farmers in the agricultural belt, and may have helped the Progressive Conservatives gain momentum outside Winnipeg.
"The fact is parties do run out of gas and people start to yearn for change," he said. "Maybe that moment is now."
MacKay said the numbers are surprising, since Doer has had a steady grip on power for so long and the numbers were stagnant even a few months ago. However, he said Manitoba Tories could be riding on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's post-election coattails since support for the federal PC party in the keystone province is strong.
MacKay said the NDP still have a comfortable lead in Winnipeg at 50 per cent, and the poll concludes that if a provincial election were held tomorrow the NDP would capture half the vote.
Jonathan Hildebrand, the NDP's cabinet press director, said Probe's quarterly polls leading up to the election "missed the mark" and consistently pegged NDP support at 36 to 40 per cent -- significantly lower than the 48 per cent of the popular vote they picked up in the 2007 election.
"Polls go up, polls go down, the only poll that counts is the one on election day," Hildebrand said in an e-mail statement.
Tory leader Hugh McFadyen was unreachable for comment Saturday.
The telephone poll was conducted between Nov. 27 and Dec. 7. A random sample of 1,000 Manitoba adults was interviewed. With that sample, one can say with 95 per cent certainty the results are within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult population of Manitoba were polled.