Monday, December 21, 2015

Divided vote boosting PC chances in western Manitoba

A poll published in the Brandon Sun by Probe Research shows just how much trouble the Manitoba New Democrats are in, with four months to go before voting day in the province.

The poll shows that the NDP's support in western Manitoba has dropped by more than half, from 41% to 18%. Virtually all of that has gone to the Manitoba Liberals, who have risen from 4% to 22%. The Progressive Conservatives, meanwhile, have not seen their vote change at all: they took 53% of the vote here in the 2011 provincial election, and are now polling at 54%.

This is the developing story of the Manitoba election, that the PCs will almost win by default as the NDP loses a huge share of its vote to the Liberals. Look at the regional breakdown in the Probe poll.

Brandon West and Brandon East were relatively close PC-NDP races in 2011, with the NDP prevailing in Brandon East. Now, with hardly any movement on the part of the PCs, the Tories are well in front in Brandon West and narrowly ahead of the Liberals in Brandon East. Considering that the Liberals are not likely to have the sort of organization they will need in this election (they won 7.5% of the vote and one seat in 2011), it will be difficult to get out all of the vote to win a riding like Brandon East — further boosting the PCs chances.

In the rural parts of western Manitoba, the PCs are even less likely to be challenged. But even there, in Parkland the margin was just 14 points in 2011. Now, with the PCs down two points, the margin is 29 points.