Saskatchewan Party lead endures in new poll

A new poll from Insightrix shows the lead for the Saskatchewan Party is holding. With Cam Broten's personal numbers continuing to pale in comparison to Brad Wall's, what are the chances of a shift in voting intentions before election day?

The New Democrats fail to make up ground as Cam Broten struggles to surpass Brad Wall

The leader of the Saskatchewan Party, Brad Wall, continues to lead in the polls. (CBC News)

With only days to go in the Saskatchewan election campaign, a new poll suggests that voting intentions are not budging — and that's good news for the leading Saskatchewan Party.

Insightrix published its latest numbers on Thursday, showing virtually no change from an earlier poll conducted a week before the leaders' debate. 

The Sask. Party led in the poll with 60 per cent support among decided voters, followed by the New Democrats at 30 per cent. The Liberals trailed with 5 per cent support, while the Greens and Progressive Conservatives had 3 per cent support apiece.

About one-quarter of respondents were undecided or preferred not to respond to the voting intentions question.

The previous Insightrix poll had given the Saskatchewan Party 61 per cent to the NDP's 29 per cent.

Another poll, published on Tuesday by Insights West, also suggested that voting intentions in the province were holding steady. Though this was the first poll published by Insights West in this campaign, making it impossible to determine any trends from the numbers, the findings were in line with the polls conducted by other companies prior to the leaders' debate.

The Insights West poll had given 56 per cent support to the Saskatchewan Party among decided voters, with the New Democrats at 34 per cent, the Liberals at 6 per cent, the Greens at 3 per cent, and other parties and independents at 1 per cent support.

Fifteen per cent of respondents to this poll were undecided.

If an election were held today, the CBC Saskatchewan Poll Tracker estimates the Sask. Party would likely win between 47 and 54 seats, with the New Democrats winning between seven and 14 seats. Thirty-one seats are required to form a majority government.

Battleground Regina no more?

The polls conducted prior to the debate had suggested that the most competitive races in the province would be in Regina. 

But after showing a virtual tie before the debate, Insightrix now shows the Sask. Party to be leading in the provincial capital with 50 per cent to 38 per cent for the NDP, echoing the numbers from Mainstreet Research's last pre-debate poll (which had disagreed with Insightrix's portrait of the race in Regina at the time).

The Sask. Party was in the lead with 55 per cent to 35 per cent in Saskatoon, and held leads of 33 points in northern Saskatchewan and 45 points in southern Saskatchewan.

NDP's leadership deficit

The poll by Insights West published earlier this week went into detail on how Saskatchewan people feel about the leaders of the parties vying for office in this campaign.

Sask. Party Leader Brad Wall boasted the strongest personal approval ratings, with 64 per cent of respondents strongly or somewhat approving of him, compared to 29 per cent who strongly or somewhat disapproved of Wall.

NDP Leader Cam Broten had more mixed numbers, with 39 per cent approving of him and 44 per cent disapproving of him.

The leaders of the other parties were mostly unknown — a majority of respondents were unsure of their views of Liberal Leader Darrin Lamoureux, Green Leader Victor Lau, or PC Leader Rick Swenson. Of those with an opinion, more viewed these leaders unfavourably than favourably.

On who would make the best premier, 53 per cent selected Wall while just 20 per cent selected Broten.

Saskatchewan NDP leader Cam Broten, with his daughters, votes at an advance poll in Saskatoon on March 29, 2016. (The Canadian Press / Liam Richards)

The poll's results on who Saskatchewan people thought could best handle various issues showed Wall to be beating Broten across the board: 55 to 17 per cent on the economy and jobs, 42 to 28 per cent on education, 42 to 30 per cent on health care, and 45 to 22 per cent on government accountability, to name a few examples.

Even more problematic for Broten is that voters' opinions of him appear to be worsening. About equal proportions of Saskatchewan people said that their view of Wall had improved since the campaign began as those who said their opinions had worsened (21 to 25 per cent). But for Broten, almost twice as many people (35 per cent) said their opinions of him had worsened than those who said their opinions had improved (18 per cent).

Those are not the kinds of numbers that suggest we should expect a significant shift in public opinion between now and election day that could overturn the Saskatchewan Party's sustained lead.

The poll by Insightrix was conducted between March 28 and 30, 2016, interviewing 1,500 adults in Saskatchewan via the Internet. A probabilistic sample of this size would yield a margin of error of 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The poll by Insights West was conducted between March 23 and 25, 2016, interviewing 530 adults in Saskatchewan via the Internet. A probabilistic sample of this size would yield a margin of error of 4.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.


Éric Grenier

Politics and polls

Éric Grenier is a senior writer and the CBC's polls analyst. He was the founder of and has written for The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post Canada, The Hill Times, Le Devoir, and L’actualité.


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