November 17, 2018

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New survey shows NDP 'floor'

Bedrock support remains stable at 26 per cent despite turmoil

The Gang of Five were unsuccessful in convincing Premier Greg Selinger (right) to step down.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

The Gang of Five were unsuccessful in convincing Premier Greg Selinger (right) to step down.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/12/2014 (1422 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

After years of dismal polling numbers, months of internal tension and weeks of public strife, a new poll suggests things won't get much worse for the ruling New Democrats.

The latest Probe Research survey done this month for the Winnipeg Free Press shows the party enjoys the backing of just 26 per cent of Manitobans. The Progressive Conservatives top the polls with 48 per cent support.

Since September, the NDP's support has suffered a four-point decline, just outside the poll's margin of error.

"It's a drop, but I don't think as significant a drop as some were expecting," in the aftermath of the party's leadership crisis, said Probe Research vice-president Curtis Brown. "It shows maybe the NDP has a firmer floor than we imagined."

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/12/2014 (1422 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

After years of dismal polling numbers, months of internal tension and weeks of public strife, a new poll suggests things won't get much worse for the ruling New Democrats.

The latest Probe Research survey done this month for the Winnipeg Free Press shows the party enjoys the backing of just 26 per cent of Manitobans. The Progressive Conservatives top the polls with 48 per cent support.

'It's a drop, but I don't think as significant a drop as some were expecting'— Probe Research vice-president Curtis Brown

Since September, the NDP's support has suffered a four-point decline, just outside the poll's margin of error.

"It's a drop, but I don't think as significant a drop as some were expecting," in the aftermath of the party's leadership crisis, said Probe Research vice-president Curtis Brown. "It shows maybe the NDP has a firmer floor than we imagined."

All year, the NDP's numbers have hovered around the 30 per cent mark. One year ago, Probe's polls showed the NDP with 26 per cent support — the same level the party now holds after some of the most tumultuous and damaging weeks in the party's history. That, combined with latent anger over last year's PST hike, suggests the worst has happened and the party's bedrock support stands at just over a quarter of voters.

"At this pre-election stage, it seems their numbers are pretty stable," said Brown.

Last month saw the surprise resignation of several cabinet ministers dubbed the Gang of Five — former jobs and the economy minister Theresa Oswald, former finance minister Jennifer Howard, former municipal government minister Stan Struthers, former justice minister Andrew Swan and former health minister Erin Selby. The five resigned en masse after failing to persuade Premier Greg Selinger to step down, they argued, for a new leader better able to defeat Tory Leader Brian Pallister. The Gang of Five also cited the handling of the PST increase and other unspecified grievances for their unprecedented level of public dissent.

Selinger refused to resign, sparking a leadership vote slated for early March. So far, Oswald and former infrastructure and transportation minister Steve Ashton have registered to run for leader.

Parties typically get a bump in the polls during a high-profile leadership convention and Brown said that may happen in the coming months. Even with that, the NDP is in deep trouble.

If the election were held today, the poll suggests the Tories would certainly win a majority government. The opposition party's support is now remarkably broad and deep and Pallister's personal popularity is on the upswing. Two-thirds of rural voters would vote Conservative, a figure Brown says means every rural constituency "south of the tree line" will likely go Tory, including ridings now held by the NDP, such as Swan River, Interlake and Dawson Trail.

In Winnipeg, the Tories are four points ahead of the NDP. That's within the poll's margin of error but consistent with a trend that has seen Tory support grow in the must-win battleground of Winnipeg. The Tories are now 10 points ahead of the NDP among women voters, who traditionally gravitate to the left.

One small bright spot for the NDP may be the party's support in Winnipeg's southeast quadrant. The Tories are polling ahead in every other suburban quadrant of the city except the southeast, home to several suburban bellwether ridings. In the southeast, the Tories and the NDP are polling neck-and-neck. Brown says that could bolster Oswald's bid for leader since party members may favour someone able to eke out another NDP victory in four swing ridings — Seine River, Riel, St. Vital and Southdale.

Oswald is the longtime MLA for Seine River.

The Liberal party's support has remained stable at 19 per cent, suggesting most of the remaining soft NDP support has shifted to the Tories instead of the Liberals.

maryagnes.welch@freepress.mb.ca

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