December 6, 2019

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Surprise rise in support for federal Greens in Manitoba: poll

OTTAWA — The Green Party of Canada is riding a historic high across Manitoba, as the Liberals bleed support from the demographics they’ll need in order to hold Winnipeg seats in this fall's federal election.

New polling conducted for the Free Press shows 13 per cent of Manitobans would vote for the Greens in the next election (Oct. 21), regardless of whether they live in Winnipeg, and with few variations in support among gender, education level and income.

"The Greens have had this surge in support that we have never really seen to this extent in the past," said Curtis Brown, Principal of Probe Research. "That is coming dramatically at the expense of the Liberals."

 

Probe polled Manitobans on whom they’d vote for, and found the Liberals might struggle to hold their Winnipeg seats, with the Tories leading both within and outside the capital city.

Across Manitoba, the Tories have 43 per cent support, followed by the Liberals at 24, the NDP at 17, and the Greens at 13.

Yet, among Manitobans ages 18 to 34, the Liberals are in fourth place — after being a key part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2015 electoral success. The Tories are leading with 37 per cent support, the NDP at 24, followed by the Greens at 18 and, finally, the Liberals at 17.

"The Conservative vote is pretty solid; the NDP vote is stable and not really moving," Brown said. "If you’re a Liberal looking to get re-elected, it's not a very good map for you right now."

“The Conservative vote is pretty solid; the NDP vote is stable and not really moving. If you’re a Liberal looking to get re-elected, it's not a very good map for you right now.” -Curtis Brown

The trend is particularly strong in the outer reaches of Winnipeg, such as MaryAnn Mihychuk’s Kildonan—St. Paul riding and Terry Duguid’s Winnipeg South seat. The polling suggests the Tories appear have a chance at unseating NDP MP Daniel Blaikie in Elmwood—Transcona.

Double campaign could shake Tory momentum: pollster

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OTTAWA — The provincial PCs’ push to hold down their Winnipeg seats this September could thwart their federal Tory cousins, a pollster suggests.

Curtis Brown, vice-president of Probe Research, notes volunteers might be tapped out this fall, with the expected Manitoba vote (Sept. 10) taking place six weeks ahead of the federal election.

“It’s going to be taxing the local political resources, for lack of a better term,” Brown said.

The provincial PCs will be battling for city seats amid a controversial health-care system reform plan that has buoyed the NDP in Winnipeg. Soon after, the federal Tories will try to take Winnipeg ridings from the Liberals and NDP.

“It's going to be difficult for them to get volunteers out to go knock on doors,” Brown predicted.

— Dylan Robertson

Even in downtown Winnipeg, seats appear up for grabs. "It’s practically a four-way tie when you take the margin of error into account," Brown noted.

Kevin Lamoureux’s Winnipeg North seat appears the safest four months ahead of the federal vote, followed by Dan Vandal in St. Boniface—St. Vital. Jim Carr, the sole federal cabinet minister, could face a tougher fight than expected in Winnipeg South Centre, Brown said.

The Green party's national campaign manager said he was surprised to see support shoot up across Manitoba. He said the party will see if support cracks into the late teens in one of the regions, and focus on a single candidate, if so.

"We’ll certainly be paying more attention to Manitoba," said Jonathan Dickie, noting a recent uptick of support.

In May, the Greens won a Vancouver Island byelection, beating a popular NDP candidate; Dickie said Ottawa's purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline has hurt support for the Liberals.

Paul Thomas, a University of Manitoba professor emeritus of political science, agreed.

"Maybe the mainstream parties haven’t impressed us," he said. "A significant number of people are disappointed that short-term political calculations are getting in the way of making long-term political decisions that take a little political courage and risk."

“A significant number of people are disappointed that short-term political calculations are getting in the way of making long-term political decisions that take a little political courage and risk." -Paul Thomas

The Greens rise is not currently replicated on the right, with the fringe People’s Party of Canada struggling to crack above two per cent support.

Political observers had wondered whether Manitoba PPC candidate Steven Fletcher, a sitting independent MLA, would pull support from Tory candidate Marty Morantz, a former city councillor, as the two vie for the riding of Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley.

The poll found the Tories remain more popular among men at 51 per cent, compared with women at 35 per cent. Female Manitobans support the Liberals at 27 per cent, compared with the NDP at 20, and the Greens at 16.

dylan.robertson@freepress.mb.ca

Download Probe Poll: Federal voting intentions in Manitoba

History

Updated on Monday, June 24, 2019 at 9:01 PM CDT: Fixes minor detail.

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