WINNIPEG -- It's been nearly two months since the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Manitoba. Since that time life has changed dramatically. According to a new Probe Research poll, most Manitobans believe life will be very different from now on.

The new findings - which come from an on-line poll of more than 800 Manitobans conducted by Probe Research – give a glimpse into how Manitobans are feeling amid the pandemic. Probe Research has given CTV News exclusive television access to the findings.

"(What) seemed to be a recurring topic was, is this a deep and profound and enduring change or was this something that is just pandemic-related and it will all go away afterwards," Probe Research President Scott MacKay told CTV News. 

"We really didn't know what the public was going to say, and I don't think we anticipated this strong of a consensus that we're into a whole new world here now."


A majority of Manitobans surveyed, nearly 60 per cent, said they feel there is a very dramatic change and that the future will be changed forever, MacKay said.

READ MORE: The five ways Canadians may change in the post-pandemic world

Around one quarter of Manitobans surveyed did say they feel life will return to normal. Probe Research said men were twice as likely as women to feel this way.

"We're not going back to any kind of normal as far as most people are concerned."


"The people who are most inclined to feel that we will still go back to some kind of normal state were men, and particularly younger men," MacKay said. "Women were far more likely to feel that we are in a state of very profound change. So I think there is a real gender gap and somewhat age gap."



Since the beginning of the virus, Manitobans’ attitude towards the pandemic has changed. According to the poll, in March about one third of Manitobans felt the pandemic was being overblown or exaggerated.

In April, only about one-in-five Manitobans felt the danger of the virus was being overhyped.

Probe Research said men, especially younger men, are more likely to feel this way.



The number of people who say they feel the province is prepared to deal with the outbreak of COVID-19 has increased since March.


Manitoba NDP supporters (64 per cent) were less likely to have confidence in the province, compared to Manitoba Liberal supporters (82 per cent). 

MacKay said this shows there are a number of people who don't generally support the conservatives who have more confidence in them since the pandemic began.

"There is a lot more people who are willing to give the benefit of the doubt today to the government of Manitoba for their preparedness on the crisis," said MacKay. "That includes not only the politicians, but the public health officials and the civil service in general."


Since the government-mandated closure of non-essential businesses in Manitoba, the economic impact has been crippling for some local businesses that have had to lay off staff.

READ MORE: Half of all Manitoba businesses facing significant financial strain: chamber of commerce

Even with Manitoba allowing some non-essential businesses to reopen this month, the majority of Manitobans believe the pandemic will cause permanent damage to the economy.


On Monday, the province's finance minister announced the province was predicting a $5 billion deficit. About $2 billion of this is caused by additional COVID-19 related costs. 

The province said the cost of personal protective equipment alone could reach $1 billion.

READ MORE: Province announces layoffs during fiscal update release

"Seven in ten people say this is going to cause a very serious economic problem," MacKay said. "They feel that this is going to be hard to get out of."



Probe Research conducted the poll of 803 Manitoba adults online between April 24 and 28. It said because an online survey is a sample of convenience, no margin of error can be ascribed. Though for a random and non-convenience sample of the same size, there would be a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

-with files from CTV's Josh Crabb