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Support grows for provincial PC, Liberal parties, poll shows

Support grows for provincial PC, Liberal parties, poll shows

Manitoba’s Progressive Conservatives enjoy a comfortable lead in popularity over their political opponents at the halfway point of their term.

According to a Probe Research poll, the PCs have the support of 44 per cent of decided voters, up from 42 per cent in June.

Support for the Manitoba Liberals also grew, as leader Dougald Lamont won an August byelection in St. Boniface, vaulting the Grits to party status (four seats) in the legislature. Liberal support edged up to 20 per cent provincewide, compared with 16 per cent in June.

The increase in PC and Liberal support among decided voters came at the expense of the NDP and the Greens. Only 25 per cent said they would support the New Democrats — down five percentage points from June — while eight per cent backed the Green party, compared with 11 per cent three months earlier.

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Manitoba’s Progressive Conservatives enjoy a comfortable lead in popularity over their political opponents at the halfway point of their term.

According to a Probe Research poll, the PCs have the support of 44 per cent of decided voters, up from 42 per cent in June.

Support for the Manitoba Liberals also grew, as leader Dougald Lamont won an August byelection in St. Boniface, vaulting the Grits to party status (four seats) in the legislature. Liberal support edged up to 20 per cent provincewide, compared with 16 per cent in June.

The increase in PC and Liberal support among decided voters came at the expense of the NDP and the Greens. Only 25 per cent said they would support the New Democrats — down five percentage points from June — while eight per cent backed the Green party, compared with 11 per cent three months earlier.

According to Probe, 15 per cent of those polled were undecided.

Progressive Conservative support was strongest outside of Winnipeg — at 57 per cent — and among higher-income earners and those with less formal education.

"All (the Tories) really have to do is keep those numbers looking similar to what they are today, and they’ll be safe for re-election," Scott MacKay, Probe’s president, said Tuesday.

Provincewide, the Tories led among all age groups, education levels and income groups — although within the latter, they were tied for the lead with the NDP (at 29 per cent) among those whose household income was less than $30,000.

The PCs also held a slight lead over the NDP in the city of Winnipeg (34 per cent to 32 per cent) and among women (36 per cent to 32 per cent).

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Premier Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservative Party enjoys a comfortable lead in popularity over its political opponents according to a Probe Research poll.</p>

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Premier Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservative Party enjoys a comfortable lead in popularity over its political opponents according to a Probe Research poll.

That’s bad news for leader Wab Kinew and the New Democrats. Traditionally, the NDP does well only when it has a commanding lead in support from Winnipeggers and female voters.

"The NDP really have to be leading handsomely in the city for them to get back into government," MacKay said.

NDP support is comparable to where it stood on election night in April 2016, when the former longtime governing party captured only 26 per cent of the popular vote.

Chris Adams, a political scientist at the University of Manitoba, said the party is still answering for the "mistakes and misdeeds" of the past when it formed government, be it sexual harassment allegations against former cabinet minister Stan Struthers, buried reports about contaminated soils, football stadium financing or the method in which flood-fighting equipment was purchased.

As well, he said, there is still a question of whether Kinew "is resonating with the voting public."

Like MacKay, Adams believes the fact the PCs have been able to achieve a 44 per cent approval rating among decided or leaning voters bodes well for them.

"I think the Progressive Conservatives had a pretty good summer," he said.

The poll was conducted before Premier Brian Pallister announced the government was abandoning its decision to impose a $25-a-tonne carbon tax.

Among decided male voters, the Progressive Conservatives received 52 per cent support, compared with 19 per cent for the NDP and 18 per cent for the Liberals.

According to Manitoba’s fixed election date law, the next provincial election is set for Oct. 6, 2020.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 11:55 AM CDT: Corrects graphic. The NDP and Liberal points were incorrect in the graphic in a previous version of this story.

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