'It's starting to look pretty dire': PC support in Manitoba plummets, NDP fortunes rise: poll

Winnipeg's Probe Research latest omnibus poll suggests support for the Progressive Conservative party is tanking and Manitoba voters would vote in Wab Kinew’s New Democrats if an election were held tomorrow. 

Support for ruling party in 'steady decline' since September, pollster says

Support for Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservative government is dropping while NDP Leader Wab Kinew would be premier tomorrow if an election was held, a new Probe Research poll suggests. (Trevor Brine and Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives need a sustained series of political wins over the coming months and likely a new leader to replace Brian Pallister if they hope to retain power in the next provincial election. 

That's the view of Winnipeg-based pollster Scott MacKay after his firm's latest omnibus poll suggested support for the PCs is tanking and Manitoba voters would vote in Wab Kinew's New Democrats if an election were held tomorrow. 

The Probe Research poll, conducted between June 2 and 11, suggests NDP support has shot up to 47 per cent of decided voters, while the PCs have plummeted to 29 per cent. 

The gulf grows along gender lines, too, with women favouring the NDP by 34 percentage points, Probe said. That's more than half of decided female voters, the pollster noted. 

Manitoba's fixed election law states the next election must happen on or before Oct. 3, 2023. 

"That's plenty of time for things to change," MacKay said in an interview with CBC on Friday. "It's starting to look pretty dire for the Pallister Conservatives." 

The poll was done through a combination of soliciting a random sample of 1,000 Manitobans through live-agent operators, interactive voice response calls and Probe's own online panel. Surveys were completed online. 

Respondents were asked: "If a provincial election were held tomorrow, which party's candidate would you be most likely to support? Even though you have not decided whom you would vote for, is there nonetheless a provincial party's candidate that you think you might want to support or are currently leaning toward?" 

CBC cannot accurately calculate a margin of error for online surveys. For comparison purposes only, a random sample of the same size (1,000) would yield a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. 

The margin of error is higher within each of the survey's population sub-groups, Probe stated.​

MacKay noted the PC support — as suggested by polling trends over time — has been in "steady, steady decline" since September, when the party commanded a nine point lead over the NDP.

The PCs came to power in 2016 after nearly two decades of NDP rule. They netted the largest majority of seats in modern Manitoba history (40 of 57). In 2019, the party again fared extremely well at the polls, netting 36 seats.