Western Manitobans – particularly Brandon residents – are much more likely to be concerned today about the effect of drugs such as methamphetamines and opioids on their community. Nearly one in five Western Manitoba adults (rising to more than one in three Brandonites) say that this is the most important issue facing their community. This topic was not on the public agenda in 2015, when Probe Research last surveyed Western Manitobans about the most important issues facing their community.
The proportion of Brandon residents who say drugs are a major concern is actually higher than the proportion of Winnipeggers who say the same. Concern about drugs such as meth is nearly as high in the Parkland region, and significantly lower in the rural Westman communities located south of Riding Mountain Provincial Park.
Concern about crime has also increased in the past four years, with 16 per cent of Westman residents now saying it is their most important issue. Again, concern about crime is much higher in the Parkland and in Brandon than among those living in rural Westman.
Although nearly one in five residents say jobs and the economy are a major issue, the level of concern about this issue has decreased significantly since 2015. Those living in more rural areas of the region are most likely to be concerned about the state of the economy, whereas those in Brandon are more likely to resemble their counterparts in Winnipeg in being relatively unlikely to cite this as a major issue.
Only about one-in-ten Westman residents now identify health care and the state of infrastructure, including roads, as top issues. The level of concern about both these issues have decreased dramatically, particularly in Brandon, compared to four years ago.
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Probe Research surveyed a random and representative sampling of 810 adults residing in Western Manitoba, including 403 residents of Brandon and 407 residents of rural Western Manitoba communities.
These interviews were conducted throughout 2019 and early 2020 using Probe Research’s quarterly provincial omnibus survey, followed by targeted data collection to bring the total sample to 810 respondents. (The table on the following page provides a breakdown of the number of interviews conducted for each wave.)
With a sample of 810, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results are within ± 3.5 percentage points of what they would have been if the entire adult population of Western Manitoba had been surveyed. The margin of error is higher within each of the survey’s population sub-groups.
Modified random digit dialing, including both landline and wireless numbers, ensured all Western Manitoba adults had an equal opportunity to participate in this Probe Research survey. A CATI-to-web approach was employed whereby a live-voice operator randomly recruited respondents by telephone, inviting them to complete the survey via a secure online questionnaire. In addition, 199 randomly recruited Probe Research panel members were included in this sampling.
Minor statistical weighting has been applied to this sample to ensure that age and gender characteristics properly reflect known attributes of the region’s population.