Friday, May 18, 2007

Poll: NDP probably headed for majority in Manitoba

The rural distribution is not broken down but if there is a big decline in rural areas Minnedosa will probably not be picked up by the NDP. Typical of Winnipegers, Brandon West in the city of Brandon is considered a rural seat! The only way of knowing what is up there is from a local survey. The Conservative campaign does not seem to have worked well. In fact if anything Conservative support has declined somewhat. There is no mention of the north in this report, again typical of news reports emanating from Winnipeg. Manitoba ends at the perimeter highway it seems, the rest is the boondocks.

Survey says: NDP three-peat
Poll indicates Doer headed to third straight majority despite dip in support

Thu May 17 2007

By Gabrielle Giroday

THEIR support may have dropped since the last election, but the New Democratic Party is heading for its third consecutive term as Manitoba's majority government, according to interpretation of a poll sponsored by the Winnipeg Free Press and Global Television.
Doer sweeps leadership approval poll

The survey indicates the NDP has a seven-percentage-point lead over the Progressive Conservative party, thanks to strong NDP party support within Winnipeg -- and ongoing admiration for Premier Gary Doer.

However, outside Winnipeg, the NDP has plummeted in the polls to a distant second place behind the PC party.

While they're not the same levels of support the NDP boasted during the 2003 election campaign, the survey indicates the NDP has a healthy lead going into Tuesday's election.

"There is some change... what was a 13-point lead for the NDP over the Conservatives in the last election, to actually beat them by 13 points, has eroded to seven points," said Scott MacKay, president of Probe Research, the firm that conducted the election survey.

How the 'Peg votes

Within the city of Winnipeg, the survey indicates the NDP has solid leads in all five city sub-regions when the interviewer asked which party's candidate the voter was most likely to support.
However, the race is much tighter in northwest Winnipeg and in southwest Winnipeg.

All Winnipeg
NDP: 51 per cent
PC: 29 per cent
Liberal: 17 per cent
Others: 3 per cent

Rest of Manitoba
NDP: 34 per cent
PC: 49 per cent
Liberal: 15 per cent
Others: 2 per cent

Northwest Winnipeg
NDP: 47 per cent
PC: 37 per cent
Liberal: 16 per cent
Others: O

Northeast Winnipeg
NDP: 56 per cent
PC: 32 per cent
Liberal: 7 per cent
Others: 5 per cent

Southeast Winnipeg
NDP: 50 per cent
PC: 23 per cent
Liberal: 25 per cent
Others: 2 per cent

Southwest Winnipeg
NDP: 42 per cent
PC: 33 per cent
Liberal: 23 per cent
Others: 2 per cent

Core area
NDP: 64 per cent
PC: 18 per cent
Liberal: 12 per cent
Others: 6 per cent

Respondents were asked 'Which party's candidate are you most likely to support in this provincial election?'

Polling accuracy: With a sample of 800 people, there is 95 per cent certainty the results are within three-and-a-half percentage points of what they would have been if the entire adult population of Manitoba was interviewed.
The margin of error rises within each of the sub-populations examined, and minor statistical weighting was applied to the sample group for age, gender, and past voting characteristics.

--Source: Probe Research

What was asked:

Here are some of the precise questions asked in a telephone survey of 800 Manitobans from May 10 to May 14.

Which party's candidate are you most likely to support in this provincial election?
NDP: 44 per cent
PC: 37 per cent
Liberal: 16 per cent
Others: 3 per cent

How certain are you as to which party you will vote for in the upcoming provincial election?
NDP: 52 per cent (very certain), 26 per cent (fairly certain)
Total: 78 per cent
PC: 64 per cent (very certain), 21 per cent (fairly certain)
Total: 85 per cent
Liberal: 37 per cent (very certain), 24 per cent (fairly certain)
Total: 81 per cent

-- Source: Probe Research
"What you see is that the NDP has a really comfortable lead in Winnipeg, and that lead counts for a lot."

The survey indicates 44 per cent of Manitoban voters are most likely to cast their ballot for an NDP candidate, while 37 per cent of voters said they're casting a ballot for a PC candidate. Sixteen per cent said they'll vote for the Liberal candidate and three per cent said they will vote for candidates from other parties.

Growing support

Before the election writ was dropped, MacKay said polls showed growing overall support for the Tories, but the gulf has widened between the parties since the election campaign started.

The survey was done by telephone interviews between May 10 and May 14, among a representative sample of 800 Manitoban adults.

The telephone survey started after a much-ballyhooed announcement by Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen about the guaranteed return of an NHL hockey team to Winnipeg if the PC party returned to power.

Doer has stuck to smaller, less flashy promises, including contributing $40 million for an east-west power grid and a new women's hospital at the Health Sciences Centre.

The results are within plus or minus three-and-a-half percentage points of what they would have been if the entire adult population of Manitoba was interviewed, within 95 per cent certainty. "If you're looking for change, and saying 'Where am I most likely to see seats moving?'... it's all actually happening outside the city of Winnipeg," said MacKay, adding rural voters usually lean to the PC party and the return to PC support is a "reversion" from an abnormal support for NDP candidates in the 2003 election.

"Parties lose steam over time," said MacKay.

"The place to look for change will be outside Winnipeg."

As the campaign hits its final stretch, one-half of voters in Winnipeg indicated they'll vote for an NDP candidate next Tuesday, compared to 29 per cent support for a PC candidate. The Liberals have 17 per cent support in the city, while three per cent of respondents said they'll vote for the Green party or another minor Manitoba party.

Outside the city, 49 per cent of voters support PC party candidates, while only 34 per cent said they want to vote for the NDP candidates.


Only 15 per cent of voters outside of Winnipeg back the Liberals. MacKay said overall support for the NDP, however, should most likely win them a majority -- even if some seats change hands to the PC party outside Winnipeg city limits in southern Manitoba.

"Every time a party gets into the 40s, they win a majority," said MacKay. "So, the NDP now are at 44 per cent... so it looks like they're over the magic threshold number they need to get a majority they need. I say that based on the historical record."

Manitoba history shows parties that win at least 40 per cent of the popular vote tend to be rewarded with majority governments. In 1990, the PC party -- led by Gary Filmon -- won a majority government with 42 per cent of the popular vote. And in the 1995 election, the PC party won another majority with 43 per cent level of support.

In 1999, Premier Gary Doer swept into office with 45 per cent of the popular vote, followed with an overwhelming victory in 2003 with 49 per cent of the vote.

A poll showing the NDP surging ahead is tinged with bad news. Voter turnout is already likely to be low, given the relatively dull campaign and the long weekend that precedes voting day.

Overconfident NDP voters who just don't bother to drop by a ballot box on Tuesday could turn the tide in some key seats such as Brandon West, Kirkfield Park, La Verendrye and Assiniboia. Doer said as much earlier this week when he was asked about upcoming polls.

"My preference is the poll shows us tied," said Doer. "I want people to vote and feel their vote matters."

MacKay also said voters still had time to change their minds.

"This poll was taken mid- to late campaign, there's plenty of time left," he said. "If some big bombshell happens and somebody's got some smoking gun that they're going to pull out at the last minute, that can shift people's support overnight."

McFadyen said he feels good about the campaign and thinks Tory supporters are much more motivated this time than they were in 2003.

He also thinks Tories are more motivated than NDP supporters, which could mean Tories have a stronger turnout on election day. The survey indicates there is stronger Progressive Conservative support for voters between the age of 18 to 34 years (41 per cent), than NDP support (37 per cent) -- which MacKay attributed to a possible "generational connection" to McFadyen by younger voters.

McFadyen said he doesn't get the impression the Liberals will do much better in this election than before, however, he also implied there is a concern the Liberals might be siphoning votes away from his party by warning Liberals that a vote for a Liberal candidate is akin to voting to keep the NDP in government.

If you want change, vote Tory, McFadyen said, because the Liberals don't have a hope of actually forming government.

"One of the pleas we have to make to Liberal voters is that if you think it's time for a change you've got one option in this election," he said.

--with files from Mary Agnes Welch and Mia Rabson

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