Manitoba

Murray firmly holds reins but Loney moves up in Winnipeg mayoral race, new poll suggests

Shaun Loney is making late-race gains but Glen Murray remains well ahead of the field in the home stretch of the campaign to become Winnipeg's next mayor, a new Probe Research poll suggests.

'There is sort of an opportunity still for this race to develop and kind of a different story to be written'

Glen Murray still holds a two-to-one advantage in support over his closest competitors, but Shaun Loney is gaining ground. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Shaun Loney is making late-race gains but Glen Murray remains well ahead of the field in the home stretch of the campaign to become Winnipeg's next mayor, a new Probe Research poll suggests.

Loney has 14 per cent support from decided voters in the Probe survey, conducted for the Winnipeg Free Press and CTV and released Monday.

That's up from six per cent in a previous survey, which came out at the end of July. It's the biggest jump of any candidate in the online poll of 600 Winnipeg adults, done from Sept. 8-18.

Murray, who was Winnipeg's mayor from 1998 to 2004, remains the preferred candidate among those polled, even if that support was lower than in the July poll. It was 44 per cent in July and is at 40 per cent in the new poll.

Scott Gillingham, who has served for two terms as a city councillor, continues to hold second spot in the race at 15 per cent support, a dip from 16 per cent in July.

(Probe Research Inc.)

"The big story, and we don't want to lose sight of this, is Glen Murray's lead. He has a really significant lead over all of the other candidates," said Mary Agnes Welch, a partner at Winnipeg-based Probe Research.

"That's kind of like the don't-miss-the-forest-for-the-trees story."

But underneath that, in the trees, is the jockeying for second place, to determine who is Murray's main challenger, she said.

Coun. Kevin Klein, who only entered the mayoral race in late July and was not considered in the survey from that month, sits in fourth place with 10 per cent support.

Klein's level of backing is "not quite as well as we might have thought a councillor would do, but he's still in the race," Welch said.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette, who was running third in the July report, dropped to fifth spot as he lost six percentage points.

Jenny Motkaluk saw her support cut in half, from eight per cent in July to just four now. 

The remaining six candidates are all polling in the low single digits.

Motkaluk finished second to Brian Bowman in the 2018 mayoral race with 38 per cent of the popular vote. Bowman, who has been Winnipeg's mayor since 2014, is not seeking re-election.

'Even more undecided now'

Despite the current polling numbers, the shape of the race remains somewhat uncertain.

Nearly four in 10 Winnipeggers do not yet know who they will vote for and even among those with a preferred candidate at the moment, fewer than half are very certain of that choice.

"They're even more undecided now than they were earlier in the summer," Welch said. "They might waver; they're not 100 per cent locked in.

"So even though Glen Murray has this crazy big lead, I think there is sort of an opportunity still for this race to develop and kind of a different story to be written."

Nearly four in 10 voters in Winnipeg are undecided (39 per cent), with another eight per cent indicating they do not plan to vote at all on Oct. 26. (Probe Research Inc.)

Welch blames a glut of promises for creating confusion among voters, with no single, galvanizing issue taking the spotlight.

"There's been a lot of announcements [but] there hasn't been one overarching narrative," she said.

Winnipeg's election is Oct. 26.

With a sample size of 600, the results have a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of being representative of the entire adult population of Winnipeg.

The sample consists of 236 Winnipeggers randomly recruited via live-agent operator, 208 Winnipeggers randomly recruited via interactive voice response and 156 members of Probe Research's online panel. All respondents completed the survey on an online platform.

Minor statistical weighting was applied to the sample to ensure age and gender characteristics properly reflect the city's population.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Darren Bernhardt spent the first dozen years of his journalism career in newspapers, at the Regina Leader-Post then the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. He has been with CBC Manitoba since 2009 and specializes in offbeat and local history stories. He is the author of award-nominated and bestselling The Lesser Known: A History of Oddities from the Heart of the Continent.

With files from Faith Fundal

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