Killing carbon tax had no effect on popularity of PCs, poll suggests

The decision to kill Manitoba’s carbon tax had little effect on the Progressive Conservative’s popularity, a recent Probe Research poll suggests.

Quarterly results show party holding steady in popularity province-wide

The decision by Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister's government to dump the carbon tax has not affected the PCs' popularity, a new poll suggests. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

The decision to kill Manitoba's carbon tax had little effect on the Progressive Conservative's popularity,  a new poll by Probe Research Inc. suggests.

The provincial Tories are holding steady with the support of 44 per cent of decided and leaning voters in Manitoba, unchanged from the previous quarterly results of voting intentions released in September.

The results tell Scott MacKay, the president of Probe, that the decision in October to cancel the province's planned carbon tax didn't move the dial one way or the other for the Tories.

"I think people did hear about the carbon tax and the change in the plan, and I don't think it mattered that much," he said.

The Tories made the surprise announcement on Oct. 3 they are cancelling the planned carbon tax, which would be a flat carbon price of $25 per tonne.

Probe was in the field between Nov. 27 and Dec. 6 of this year.  A randomized sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.9%, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error is higher within each of the survey's population sub-groups.

The numbers are a good way to start the new year for the Pallister government, but MacKay says that outside of an election year it is not surprising that the numbers are holding steady.

"It is just kind of status quo and that is what you would expect to see," he said.

In another development, the Tories increased their gains in Winnipeg with 35 per cent of those surveyed in the city saying they would most likely support the PCs if the election were held tomorrow.

Probe Research asked 1,105 Manitobans: “If a provincial election were held tomorrow, which party’s candidate would you be most likely to support?” In December 2018, 16 per cent were undecided.
The gap between Tory and NDP support widened from September results, with only 30 per cent of Winnipeggers saying they would support the Opposition party — a decline of two per cent compared with September.

Overall, 27 per cent of Manitobans say they would support the NDP.

Liberals gain in Winnipeg

The Manitoba Liberals continued to make gains in the city, with 27 per cent of Winnipeggers in support compared with 24 per cent in September. Province-wide, its support remains steady at 21 per cent.

The Liberal's gains disproportionately​ come from the NDP losses, giving the Tories an opportunity to gain news seats in the city due to vote splitting, MacKay says.

Results to Probe poll question of 683 Winnipeg adults: “If a provincial election were held tomorrow, which party’s candidate would you be most likely to support?" Seventeen per cent were undecided in December 2018. (Probe Research Inc.)
"At these figures, at this level of support in the city … if that was to occur in an election that could potentially elect some Conservatives because those votes are really being taken away disproportionately​ from the NDP," he said.

MacKay says the widening gap in Winnipeg is significant, as the city is always seen as the "battleground" for every election.

"The Tories are performing very well in Winnipeg," he said. "So that is what they want to continue to see in the next year or so before the next vote."

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