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This article was published 26/12/2010 (3248 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA — The only federal political battle in Manitoba is the one for second place.
The Conservative Party of Canada continues to dominate in Winnipeg, with nearly one in every two decided voters in their corner, a Probe Research poll done for the Free Press reports.
Meanwhile, the Liberals are making a comeback, jumping into second place with 26 per cent of decided voters compared with 19 per cent for the NDP.
The Green party is a distant fourth, with five per cent of decided voters. Twelve per cent of voters are undecided and five per cent refused to disclose their preference.
The Conservatives, with 48 per cent, have barely budged from the last federal election when the party earned 49 per cent of the vote in Manitoba.
The Conservatives are the preferred party of both men and women, across all age groups, education and income levels. They lead the Liberals in Winnipeg by 11 points and outside of Winnipeg have nearly three in five votes.
Probe vice-president Chris Adams said the Conservatives benefit from a strong rural base and the small-C conservative culture in Manitoba.
The NDP bumped the Liberals to third from second place in 2008, and a year ago, were slightly ahead at 22 points compared with the Liberals' 21.
The NDP gained mid-year while the Liberals flatlined. But in the last six months the NDP has dropped into third, and the Liberals are now in a clear second place, with a six-point lead over the NDP.
The Liberals appear to have regained some of the base they lost in 2008 under the unpopular leadership of Stéphane Dion. They had their worst showing in Manitoba in recent history in that election. The Liberals finished third in the popular vote and lost two of their three seats. But with the recent bump in the provincial polls and Kevin Lamoureux's win in the byelection in Winnipeg North last month, Manitoba has become a silver lining for the Liberals in 2010.
In particular, the Liberals have regained support in Winnipeg. A year ago, the Tories had a 17-point lead in Winnipeg with 43 per cent, versus the NDP's 26 per cent. The Liberals languished in third with 24 per cent.
The latest poll has the Conservatives maintaining their 43 per cent, but the Liberals are up 12 points to 32 per cent, and the NDP is down three points to 21 per cent.
The NDP did not have a good year.Longtime NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis resigned and mounted an unsuccessful campaign for Winnipeg mayor. The NDP lost her seat and has dropped behind the Liberals in Manitoba.
Adams said the NDP was hurt by the gun registry vote, which divided the party. He believes that while most people know the federal and provincial parties are different, the decline of the provincial NDP may also be affecting federal support as well.
Probe randomly interviewed 1,001 Manitobans by phone between Nov. 25 and Dec. 11. The results are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 95 per cent of the time.
Provincewide, decided voters (Dec. 2009):
Conservatives 48 (50)
Liberals 26 (21)
NDP 19 (22)
Green 5 (7)
Winnipeg, decided voters (Dec. 2009):
Conservatives 43 (43)
Liberals 32 (24)
NDP 19 (26)
Green 5 (7)
Outside Winnipeg, decided voters (Dec. 2009):
Conservatives 56 (59)
Liberals 19 (17)
NDP 16 (15)
Green 6 (7)
Current seat counts: