New poll reveals which leader Manitobans believe can best deal with the issues
New polling suggests there is a strong belief among voters in the ability of the NDP and party leader Wab Kinew to tackle major issues such as health care – though the Tories are largely seen as the best equipped to attract more jobs in the province.
It's the latest information revealed in a Probe Research poll commissioned by CTV News Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Free Press.
Three main issues stood out among voters: crime and violence, health care, and poverty and homelessness.
Other issues, such as the cost of living, drugs and addiction, and housing, were raised as the top issue by at least one in 10 Manitobans.
The priorities did change depending on where voters live. Those in Winnipeg were more likely to identify poverty and homelessness as the top issue, followed by crime and health care. While outside the Perimeter, voters were more likely to identify health care as the top issue, followed by crime and the cost of living.
Only seven per cent of respondents outside Winnipeg identified poverty and homelessness as the most important issue facing their community.
Older voters over 55 were more likely to identify health care and crime as top issues, while younger voters (18-34) were more likely to identify poverty, homelessness and crime as top issues.
There was quite a bit of difference depending on party support.
For example, when it comes to crime – 35 per cent of PC supporters identified that as a top issue, while only 19 per cent of NDP supporters saw it as a priority. But when it came to health care, poverty, and homelessness, NDP supporters were far more likely to identify those as top issues, compared to PC voters.
Liberal supporters were most likely to identify poverty, homelessness, and crime as the top issues.
Curtis Brown with Probe Research says those priorities are shown in the campaigns the parties have been running.
"The NDP has made health care the issue, and it's something that they've really focused on in a major way since the beginning of the campaign," he told CTV News. "Because of that, I think it's not surprising to see that NDP supporters are much more likely to say health care is a really important issue."
He said the poll found the NDP has quite a bit of an advantage among voters' belief in parties' and party leaders' ability to deal with most of these issues.
In nearly every category, the NDP and Wab Kinew were viewed as the leader who will do the best job addressing them, compared to the Progressive Conservatives.
When it comes to health care, 46 per cent felt Kinew and the NDP would do the best job addressing the issues, compared to 18 per cent who felt the PCs and Stefanson would do the better job.
It is a similar situation for addictions and mental health issues, improving education, dealing with the cost of living, and addressing climate change. Even when it comes to dealing with crime and public safety – an issue Brown said one would normally expect to be a Conservative advantage – the two leading parties are nearly tied.
There was only one category where the PCs were viewed as being able to do the best job – that is attracting jobs and investment to Manitoba.
"It is important to note that there are a significant proportion of people who say that none of these parties and their leaders are really best suited to fix these issues, and a lot are unsure," Brown said.
'THERE HAS BEEN A SHIFT': NDP, WAB KINEW SEE HIGH SUPPORT AMONG LAPSED PC VOTERS
Brown said one group of voters to keep an eye on in this election is those who would have voted for the Tories in 2019, but are now supporting another party or are undecided.
"The Conservatives have lost a pretty significant chunk of people who would have voted for them four years ago," he said – adding this polling gives a sense of where those voters are going.
"We do see in our polling that a lot of them have gravitated over to the NDP."
Among these lapsed voters, they are much more likely to say the NDP is going to do the best job of addressing those issues.
"Again, the only one where the Conservatives had an advantage, and it was a small one, is on the economy and growing and attracting jobs and investment to the province," Brown said.
It's not the first time Brown has seen this sort of exodus in voter loyalty. He points to the 2016 election, when the long-time NDP government was voted out, with a big chunk of would-be NDP voters suddenly shifting to the Conservatives.
"I guess there was a question going into this election about whether this would be a change election, and it wasn't necessarily looking like that would be the case," Brown said, pointing to polling in June which showed the parties were tied.
But he said there seems to have been a change in the lead-up to the election.
"There has been a shift back in support to the NDP or people have been more likely to solidify that choice. I mean it happens, and just based on the way things are now, that's kind of how it seems to be going."
However, Brown warned, the election is not over yet.
"There's still lots of time left in the campaign and people might change their choices or decide to stay home or so you never know."
Probe Research surveyed a random and representative sampling of 1,000 adults in Manitoba.
The survey was completed between Sept. 7 and 18.
A sampling of this size has with it a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points, though that margin of error is higher within each of the population subgroups identified.
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