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Race tightens in Manitoba election as PCs gain more support: poll

The Manitoba Legislature is pictured in February 2023. (CTV News File Photo) The Manitoba Legislature is pictured in February 2023. (CTV News File Photo)

The race for the upcoming Manitoba provincial election is starting to tighten, according to a new poll.

On Tuesday, Probe Research released results from a survey commissioned by the Winnipeg Free Press, which found that while the Manitoba New Democrats are still in the lead, the Progressive Conservatives are starting to narrow the gap.

The poll, which surveyed 1,000 adults in Manitoba from March 8 to 20, determined the NDP would receive support from 44 per cent of decided voters if an election was held tomorrow. The PCs would receive support from 38 per cent.

Though a gap of six percentage points remains, it is down from 11 points in December.

"We're starting to look at this and wonder whether this is tightening up and things are becoming more competitive," said Scott MacKay, president of Probe Research. "This is one poll, we want to see more than one of these to make conclusions about whether or not this is a trend."

The uptick for the PCs comes following the release of its pre-election budget which saw widespread spending across all government departments. MacKay said this could be one reason for the narrowing gap.

"A budget really is a time when the government has a lot of control over the agenda," he said. "This is possibly one reason why those numbers are becoming a little bit more competitive."

Support for the Liberal Party has also decreased for the second quarter in a row, and now sits at nine per cent of decided voters. MacKay said, in his recent memory, he has not seen support for the Liberals dip into single digits.

"Maybe this is a blip," MacKay said. "We think it has something to do with the brand of Liberals and the federal Liberals who are also declining in the polls."

Whatever the reason, he said the dip in Liberal support could have an impact on the upcoming election.

"What we do know is that when liberals become disaffected in Manitoba, provincial liberals, they tend to go in droves to the NDP," he said. 

Seventeen per cent of those surveyed said they are undecided, won’t vote, or prefer not to say which party they prefer.

In Winnipeg specifically, the gap in support between the NDP and PCs has closed slightly; however, the NDP still has a substantial lead.

In December, 55 per cent of decided voters said they’d support the NDP if the election was tomorrow, with that number dipping to 53 per cent in March. The PCs had 27 per cent of support in Winnipeg back in December, with that number increasing to 30 per cent by March.

Ten per cent of decided Winnipeg voters said they favour the Liberals.

Outside of Winnipeg, the numbers are reversed – 52 per cent of decided voters support the PCs and 31 per cent support the NDP. The Liberals have the support of eight per cent of non-Winnipeg voters.

This survey has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points. The margin of error is higher within the population subgroups. Top Stories

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