Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/4/2009 (3063 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
From a dead heat to no contest.
The provincial New Democratic Party regained a 10-point lead in voter support in recent weeks after running neck-in-neck with the Conservatives in December, a new poll conducted for the Free Press concluded.
The omnibus survey from Probe Research found support at 46 per cent for Premier Gary Doer's NDP, compared to 36 per cent for the Tories under Hugh McFadyen. Jon Gerrard's Liberals landed 13 per cent support.
"It's really more like what we have been seeing for all this time," said Probe Research president Scott MacKay. After the blip in December, support for each party now is roughly the same as it was a year ago, he said.
In December, the Conservatives looked to be on the upswing, coming within two percentage points of the NDP and surging in popularity outside Winnipeg.
Pollsters suspected NDP popularity took a hit in rural Manitoba over the party's ban on further hog-barn construction.
But the Tories appeared to have lost December's gains in the latest numbers, with the NDP on the upswing after recent byelection victories in The Pas and Elmwood.
The premier's popularity doesn't seem to be flagging: Doer had the approval of two thirds of voters.
"That is remarkable after almost a decade in power," said MacKay.
McFadyen had 36 per cent approval from Manitobans, and Gerrard followed closely behind with 35 per cent.
Gerrard faced down the threat of losing leadership last month after a challenge that would have triggered a leadership convention was put forward and defeated at the Liberal party's annual general meeting.
Neither the NDP nor the Tories gave much credence to the numbers.
Polls go up and down, said Gary Doer's spokesman, Jonathan Hildebrand, mirroring comments he made after December's Probe Research poll.
"We concern ourselves more with the number of seats that we have," he said. "The only real poll that matters, ultimately, is the one on election day."
"Polls are a snapshot in time," said PC Manitoba spokeswoman Liz Peters. "We are most interested in the poll that matters most, which is the general election in 2011."
Gerrard was pleased to hear his approval rating was in line with McFadyen's, and glad to see his party's support back at 14 per cent outside Winnipeg after it dropped to five per cent in December.
"I don't know why the rural numbers dipped the way they did in December," he said.
"But I think that this is a more realistic look at where we are, and it's closer to where we were in the last election. If anything, it suggests that we may be picking up slightly."
Probe Research polled a random sample of 1,000 Manitobans, 600 of them in Winnipeg and 400 elsewhere in Manitoba. The omnibus survey was conducted between March 9 and 25, 2009. It is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points. The margin of error is higher for each of the sub-groups.
Leadership approval across Manitoba:
Gary Doer: 66 per cent
Hugh McFadyen: 36 per cent
Jon Gerrard: 35 per cent
Voter support by party:
NDP: 46 per cent
Conservatives: 36 per cent
Liberals: 13 per cent