Monday, January 6, 2014

Manitoba PCs hold widening lead

Released between Christmas and New Year's, the latest polling numbers out of Manitoba may have been over-looked. The New Democrats should hope they were, because they were horrible. Probe Research shows Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservatives holding a gaping 22-point lead over the governing NDP. No party has won an election by such a margin in over 60 years.
Probe was last in the field for the Winnipeg Free Press in September, and since that poll they have recorded a five-point increase for the Tories. They now lead with 48%, while the New Democrats have dropped three points to 26%. The Liberals held steady at 20%, while 6% of respondents would vote for another party (mostly the Greens).

Of note is the large number of undecideds: 22%. That is a nine-point increase over the last two polls from Probe. Because of that, the shifts in support since September for any of the parties among decided voters do not seem statistically significant, though the increase in undecideds certainly is.

These numbers are remarkable since they represent the best and worst results for the PCs and NDP, respectively, in many years. In the space of 12 months, the NDP has shed 13 points of support. The Liberals have benefited, picking up nine points. The PCs have gained six.

It has put them in a strong position. They Tories led by 22 points among men and 20 points among women, while they were ahead in all age groups, education levels, and income brackets.

The party is also in front in Winnipeg, with 41% to 29% for the NDP (down seven points since September). The Liberals ran a strong third in the capital with 23%. The PCs were in front in every part of Winnipeg except the downtown core, where the NDP remains in front.

In the rest of the province, the Tories led with 58% to 21% for the NDP and 15% for the Liberals.
With these levels of support, the Progressive Conservatives would win a landslide with 42 seats to just nine for the NDP and six for the Liberals.

Almost all of the NDP and Liberal seats would come in the capital, while the Tories would sweep all of southern, rural Manitoba.

These are striking numbers, particularly since elections in Manitoba tend to be close affairs. As mentioned at the outset, no party has won an election by such a large margin as 22 points since 1953, so it follows that these numbers would produce an unusual result (but recall that the model correctly called 56 of 57 ridings in the 2011 election).

Nine seats would be the worst result for the New Democrats since the 1962 election, six would be the best result for the Liberals since 1990, and 42 seats for the Tories would be the best performance by any party in the province's history.

One imagines, then, that this could be rock-bottom for Greg Selinger's NDP and that they have nowhere to go but up. The Liberals have a new leader in Rana Bokhari, but she is not well known and it seems unlikely that she will replace the NDP as the alternative to the Tories. Pallister is in an enviable position, especially in facing a government that has been in power for 15 years and will have been in power by 16 or 17 years by the time Manitobans are next called to the polls.


  1. I wouldn't count Bokhari out of the race for second place. She's young, charismatic, and sharp as a whip. If the NDP collapse continues

    Then again, the Manitoba NDP are hardly the slouches when it comes to electoral prowess. Maybe someone from Manitoba here could go into more detail about what the roots of the discontent against their government is? I'm reluctant to count out a party with such a track record of winning election after election. Especially when their vote seems to be a bit more efficiently distributed than their rivals'.

    1. I'm not from Manitoba but, this is what I've read:

      At the moment there is a scandal brewing in Manitoba regarding political interference of the bureaucracy in order to win points with certain demographics. An-ex-minister of Selinger's then misled the House when asked and the premier has admitted he knew more than he originally let on. Briefly; an ADM of Immigration purposefully invited immigration agencies to a heated legislative debate. Under review from the Ombudsman-Melnick (the Immigration Minister at the time) instructed the ADM to act. Then in the House Melinick at first denied instructing the ADM a position later found to be in conflict with the Ombudsman's findings.

      here is a link that explains

      Secondly, Selinger has raised taxes in contrast to his election promises. I believe both the PST and gas tax have gone up which has impacted the NDP's popularity.

      Definitely not time to count the NDP out. During the 2011 election the Tories were leading in the polls only to lose once again to the NDP.

  2. I currently reside in Manitoba and by far the most anger towards the NDP is the 1% PST raise. In 2011 Selinger promised he wouldn't raise the PST, and he did so in a manner that ignored the law that had required for a
    referendum to be held when raising taxes such as the PST.

    What I find most interesting is the PC's have only increased their vote 5 points since the 2011 election - the NDP has just lost almost half of their vote to the Liberals (who haven't been a player in Manitoban politics in decades) and to the Greens. If the NDP can take back the 13% from the Liberals and suppress the Greens back down to 2% (Taking back another 4%), they are back in play.It all depends on if they can get that vote back.

  3. Also a Manitoba resident, and my take on it is the PST raise is likely the main source for the NDP lows in the polls. I also get the feeling they are also a bit of a tired government being in power for so many years and have currently lost the initiative to the Cons

    1. Yeah, 16 years in power by 2015, is it? That's starting to be pretty remarkable. I note that's exactly how long the NDP's last dynasty in SK lasted. I don't think streaks much longer than that have been too common throughout Canadian history. The going-on-43-year PC streak in AB and the 42-year PC streak in ON come to mind. The federal record is held by the Liberal govts of MacKenzie King/St. Laurent (22 years), followed by Macdonald/Tupper (18 years). Pearson/Trudeau/Turner would've been 2nd had they not been interrupted by Clark for 9 months.


    2. BC Liberals will have had 16 years straight by the time of the next election. Social Credit did 20 years straight in BC from 1952 to 1972. In Alberta the SoCreds governed for 26 consecutive years from 1935 to 1971. In Saskatchewan the Liberals governed for 24 years from 1905 to 1929. In Manitoba the Liberals governed for 26 years from 1932 to 1958. In Quebec the Liberals went undefeated for 39 years from 1897 to 1936.

      43 years for the NS Liberals from 1882 to 1925... damn it Dom! You've send me down the wikipedia rabbit hole lol. :(

    3. These long government stints seem pretty common to me. Even in the modern period; Frank Moores, Peckford and Rideout '72-89 then Clyde Wells to Roger Grimes '89-2003, Hatfield in New Brunswick 1970-87 as well as the others mentioned above.

      A shout out must go to Nova Scotia who possess the longest serving consecutive premier in the Commonwealth, George Henry Murray 1896-1923. 26 years and change!

    4. Yeah, I was starting to spiral down the rabbit hole as well, so I cut myself off, but clearly there were a few more example to be found!


  4. And the interesting thing here may be a sort of resurgence of the Liberals.

    So what say you Manitoba residents ??

  5. These numbers are definitely a result of raising the provincial sales tax 1% - and doing so by ignoring their own prior legislation hat such a more would require a referendum.

    Will the anger last another 18 months til the next election? Hard to say. My instincts tell me when push comes to shove, and the choice is starkly seen as one between a a plodding, adequate Liberal-like NDP government and a return to a Filmon-like Conservatism with a Rreformer/Harperite leading the charge for the PROGRESSIVE Conservatives the fine folks Winnipeg will go with the devil they know.

    The fact the PCs are leading by 20 or 30 points in the rural ridings is status quo. Alway's been that way. Manitoba elections are won or lost in Winnipeg. Period. Win there and you win the province.

    1. It never fails to amaze me how angry people can get over the smallest thing. A 1% tax increase? Heaven forbid...

    2. Brian Pallister is hardly a Reformer. He was a member of the PCs (federally and provincially) and endorsed Jean Charest's 1993 leadership bid. he ran as the PC candidate in Portage-Lisgar in 1997 but lost and was a candidate for the PC leadership in 1998. Later on in the decade he attempted to run as a joint Alliance-PC candidate unfortunately Joe Clark did not endorse this attempt and he eventually left the PCs to become the Alliance candidate at the 2000 election.

    3. Ryan,

      I don't think it is the extra 1% of the PST that angers people. Rather, it is the circumventing of their own law that required a referendum. It is akin to Gordon Campbell's election promise not to harmonise the PST-HST only to change his mind a few months after the election.

    4. The PST-HST change wasn't anything worth getting worked up over either.

    5. I agree on the PST-HST (I thought it was a good change and sound public policy) but, many people interpreted the situation as Gordon Campbell directly lying to them during the 2009 leaders' debate. They thought such policy harmonisation impossible to achieve in a few short months. Surely, Gordo and the Ministry of Finance must have been in negotiations over the change for months even years before the 2009 election and if they were then the Premier would have known-must have known about such communication.

      The truth is of course the Federal Department of Finance has had a harmonisation policy for as long as the GST has been in existence. Throughout that 20 year period between GST implementation and the debate the Department had likely outlined a number of potential scenarios for BC harmonisation.

      Unfortunately, the perception stuck that this was a backhanded tax grab by a premier who had purposefully misled voters when asked a direct question on the subject during the debate. It was not the change of tax regime that angered people rather, it was the perceived deception.

  6. Makes you wonder why the PCs and Liberals haven't merged ye't here like in Saskatchewan and Yukon to create the "Manitoba" party. I bet such a party would be doing even better.

    I support the NDP, but I think in Manitoba its just simply run its course and its time for a new government by another. This wouldn't be too bad if the NDP didn't lose so much already. One hopes that they put the failures of last year behind them. make some gains in 14, and more in 15 at the provincial level minus Manitoba which seems lost as any hope of a federal NDP government (the best they can do is hold into 80 ish seats, or maybe second place, over everyone even the Tories but the liberals who finish first with a minority).


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