During the past three months, Premier Brian Pallister has been front and centre as the face of Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government while it grappled with the public health and economic consequences of COVID-19. A new Probe Research survey conducted for the Winnipeg Free Press shows support for Pallister and his party has eroded significantly during this period – particularly in Winnipeg – to the point where the Progressive Conservatives are statistically tied with the rival New Democratic Party (NDP).
PC support among decided and leaning Manitoba voters is now 38 per cent, down five points compared the last Probe Research survey conducted in March 2020. More than one-third of Manitobans would now back the provincial NDP (36%, +3% vs. March), with support for the Manitoba Liberals increasing to nearly two-in-five Manitobans (18%, +4%). Seven per cent would cast ballots for the provincial Green Party (-1%), while overall 14 per cent of Manitobans are undecided.
Shifts in party support are most dramatic in Winnipeg, with the NDP holding a commanding 19-point advantage over the PCs (44% vs. 25%, compared to 21% for the Liberals and 8% for the Greens). The NDP holds a clear lead over the PCs in most areas of the city – with the exception of southeast Winnipeg, where the parties are statistically tied. Outside Winnipeg, nearly six-in-ten support the PCs (58% vs. 21% for the NDP and 12% for the Liberals).
Manitobans Praise Efforts To Protect Public Health, But Less Enthusiastic About Economic Response To COVID-19
While a strong majority of Manitobans approve of how the Manitoba government has protected public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, approval of how it dealt with the economic consequences of this virus is much more muted.
More than three-quarters of Manitobans (77%) strongly or somewhat approve of the provincial government’s efforts to protect citizens’ health during the pandemic. Approval of the government’s pandemic initiatives is consistently high across most demographic groups, with rural Manitobans, those over the age of 55 and non-Indigenous Manitobans most likely to praise the provincial government for taking steps to protect public health.
On the other hand, only six-in-ten (61%) approve of the government’s efforts to address the economic fallout of COVID-19. On this issue, there is a much sharper divide between Winnipeg residents and those living outside the provincial capital, as Winnipeggers are less likely to approve of the government’s economic performance. Younger Manitobans and those with higher levels of education and income are also less likely to be satisfied with the government’s work in this area.
There are also critical differences of opinion based on party preference. While majorities of those who would vote for the opposition New Democrats or Liberals approve of the government’s steps to protect public health, only one-third of NDP supporters (33%) and one-half of provincial Liberal supporters (51%) give the Progressive Conservatives high marks for dealing with the economic impact. Roughly nine-in-ten PC supporters, on the other hand, believe their preferred party did a good job of managing the public health and economic effects of the pandemic.
About the Probe Research Omnibus
For more than two decades, Probe Research Inc. has undertaken quarterly omnibus surveys of random and representative samples of Manitoba adults. These scientific telephone surveys have provided strategic and proprietary insights to hundreds of public, private and not-for-profit clients on a range of social, cultural and public policy topics. The Probe Research Omnibus Survey is the province’s largest and most trusted general population survey.
Probe Research is a member of the Canadian Research Insights Council (CRIC) and confirms that this research fully complies with all CRIC Standards including the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements. Learn more at: https://www.canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/por/
Between June 2 and 11, 2020, Probe Research surveyed a random and representative sampling of 1,000 adults residing in Manitoba.
With a sample of 1,000, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results are within ± 3.1 percentage points of what they would have been if the entire adult population of 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 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, 221 randomly recruited Probe Research panel members were included in this general population adult sampling.
Minor statistical weighting has been applied to this sample to ensure that age and gender characteristics properly reflect known attributes of the province’s population. All data analysis was performed using SPSS statistical analysis software.