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Pallister government's popularity holding firm: poll

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>A Probe research poll conducted for the Winnipeg Free Press in March shows Premier Brian Pallister's Tories have the support of 43 per cent of Manitobans polled — numbers well beyond what's needed for a majority government in a three-party race.</p></p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

A Probe research poll conducted for the Winnipeg Free Press in March shows Premier Brian Pallister's Tories have the support of 43 per cent of Manitobans polled — numbers well beyond what's needed for a majority government in a three-party race.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/4/2017 (560 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Pallister government remains hugely popular with Manitobans almost a year after the provincial election — though it's slipping with some traditional NDP supporters.

A Probe research poll conducted for the Winnipeg Free Press in March shows Premier Brian Pallister's Tories have the support of 43 per cent of Manitobans polled — numbers well beyond what's needed for a majority government in a three-party race.

That's still six percentage points lower than a previous Probe poll conducted in December, and 10 percentage points below the party's massive victory last April 19 that produced 40 of 57 seats.

The NDP is growing back to its election level at 27 per cent, the Liberals at 20 per cent, and the Greens at eight per cent.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/4/2017 (560 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Pallister government remains hugely popular with Manitobans almost a year after the provincial election — though it's slipping with some traditional NDP supporters.

A Probe research poll conducted for the Winnipeg Free Press in March shows Premier Brian Pallister's Tories have the support of 43 per cent of Manitobans polled — numbers well beyond what's needed for a majority government in a three-party race.

That's still six percentage points lower than a previous Probe poll conducted in December, and 10 percentage points below the party's massive victory last April 19 that produced 40 of 57 seats.

The NDP is growing back to its election level at 27 per cent, the Liberals at 20 per cent, and the Greens at eight per cent.

"They've edged down, which you'd expect" after a year in power, said Probe president Scott MacKay. "They had room to decline and still have a really solid position."

MacKay acknowledged this coming Tuesday's budget, expected to be Manitoba's toughest austerity budget since the 1990s, could affect Pallister's numbers.

The Tory government has already tabled legislation that would control wages for 120,000 public employees. As their collective bargaining agreements expire, they'll face a wage freeze for two years, followed by increases of 0.75 and one per cent.

"Manitoba is very much a public sector economy — you cut the public sector at your peril," MacKay said.

Wage controls will hit a significant portion of Manitoba families, and everyone will know someone who's been frozen, MacKay said. "If it's not a direct hit, it's one degree of separation," he said, pointing out that Manitoba Hydro is also buying out or laying off 900 workers.

But the Pallister government is well aware of a possible ripple effect from its austerity plans, MacKay said.

"Surely they know this. He's (Pallister) got political capital to spend, and he's going to spend some of it."

MacKay said Friday's announcement of the closing of emergency rooms at Seven Oaks, Victoria and Concordia hospitals should not come back to bite Pallister, because the study and report that led to the decision to close ERs were launched by the former NDP government.

"I'm not sure how that could be spun, because it's an NDP initiative," he said.

MacKay said the lack of a permanent leader is hurting both the New Democrats and Liberals, though "The NDP looks like it's more than lacking a leader — they're still licking their wounds."

There are some signs traditional NDP supporters who voted Tory last April are coming back.

"It's groups that have supported them in the past, like women," MacKay said. "Some of them are vulnerable groups — older people are trickling back to the NDP."

MacKay cautioned that the Liberals and Greens have a track record of doing much better between elections than they do on election day.

The Greens "tend to do better in the polls that at the ballot box, the Liberals too. The Liberals seem to do better with younger voters — they're a hard group to attract to the ballot box," MacKay said.

The NDP will continue to have interim leader Flor Marcelino until the party elects a new leader Sept. 16. Michelle McHale, best-known as an activist on gender identity issues, is the only declared candidate — she does not have a seat.

The Liberals meet in Brandon May 5 and 6 to determine how they will elect a leader in the fall. MLA Judy Klassen is the interim leader.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 1:06 PM CDT: changed headline

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