September 19, 2020

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Manitobans lead nation in wanting increased pandemic restrictions: poll



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Manitobans are the most critical in Canada in saying their province's pandemic restrictions don't go far enough, according to an Angus Reid Institute poll released Thursday.

Forty per cent of the 122 Manitoban respondents said more could be done to prevent the spread of COVID-19. British Columbia followed, with 38 per cent saying the current restrictions in place weren't enough. The national average found 28 per cent of people carried the same sentiment.

The recent increase in COVID-19 cases amidst a reopening plan might be the reason for Manitobans' dissatisfaction, Dave Korzinski, the poll's research director, said.

"There's kind of a reinvigorated concern among the population," Korzinski said. "I think a lot of people see (these) moves to go too quickly, things like the tourism push and increasing crowd sizes — people are just a little bit anxious about that, and that's what I think we've seen in Manitoba."

Even so, 46 per cent of Manitobans said the current restrictions are "about right." Fourteen per cent said the restrictions go too far.

Nationally, 52 per cent of respondents said their province's restrictions were about right, while 20 per cent said they went too far.

Angus Reid Institute conducted the poll of 1,511 Canadians Aug. 5-8. The probability sample of that size would carry a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Past data show a months-long trend, Korzinski said: Canadians are generally unenthusiastic about opening their borders to American neighbours and other provinces.

"I think that when you have a leader that comes out and says, 'We actually want people to get moving again,' that can create a little bit of frustration," Korzinski said.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister had the second-lowest approval rating in the poll, beating only Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

Fifty-six per cent of respondents said Pallister has done a good job of handling the COVID-19 response; down from 74 per cent he received in a July poll. However, he's not alone: all leaders mentioned in the survey had lower approval ratings than they did in July or April.

Pallister's approval rating, which sunk by 18 per cent, has dropped the most.

"I think in April, it was really just... 'Keep everybody safe, lock it down,' and basically any premier who was following that path — which was all of them — was being applauded for it," Korzinski said. "Now, I think that people are being a little bit more critical in their judgements."

As of Aug. 10, Manitoba had 44 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people; the only provinces with lower per capita case counts were New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic provinces were most content with their pandemic-era restrictions, with 59 per cent saying the measures were about right. Alberta had the most respondents — 25 per cent — say the rules went too far.

Men were nearly twice as likely as women to say current restrictions went too far.

Gabrielle Piché

Gabrielle Piché
Community journalist — The Headliner

Gabrielle Piché is the community journalist for The Headliner. Email her at

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Updated on Friday, August 14, 2020 at 1:04 PM CDT: Adds charts.

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