New poll shows lowest support for Sask. Party in 8 years but premier 'surprised' by backing after budget

Polling firm Insightrix says an unpopular budget has cost the Saskatchewan Party significant support.

Insightrix poll shows 44 per cent of decided voters would cast vote for party

A recent Insightrix online poll shows the Saskatchewan Party at its lowest level of support in the polling company's history. (Trent Peppler/CBC)

Polling firm Insightrix says an unpopular budget has cost the Saskatchewan Party significant support.

A recent poll showed 44 per cent support for the governing party. 

It's a sharp drop from the 2016 election, where 62 per cent of voters cast their support for the party.

A recent Insightrix poll shows a sharp drop off in Sask. Party support. (Insightrix)

Insightrix said the polling results are the lowest they have observed since the company began polling in 2009. Historically, the party has polled anywhere between 54 per cent and 67 per cent.

The poll showed 40 per cent support for the provincial NDP, 7 per cent for the Progressive Conservatives, 5 per cent for the provincial Liberals and 4 per cent for the Green Party. Twenty-five per cent of respondents said they were undecided.

Negative response to provincial budget

Respondents were also asked to comment on the 2017 provincial budget. The company said most of the responses were negative, and people commonly used words like disappointed, disgusted and surprised. In the word cloud image below, the larger the word, the more often it was used by respondents.

In response to the poll, Premier Brad Wall said the budget was not about trying to win popularity but "rather to do what is best for the province's finances and economy."

In the emailed statement to media, Wall noted the province capped reductions to grants-in-lieu to municipalities after the decision to nix them. He also said he is asking Education Minister Don Morgan to review the library funding issue and report back next week. 

"Frankly, I am a little surprised and grateful that we still enjoy a plurality of electoral support according to this poll given how tough the budget was," he said.  

"We will continue to work to provide government that ensures fiscal responsibility and keeps our economy strong while looking after those most vulnerable."

"I think this is all coming home to roost for the Sask. Party who were not forthcoming during the last general election," said NDP ethics and democracy critic David Forbes. 

"We had the numbers where the minister of finance could not really get a handle on how bad the deficit was — was always changing and updating more and more how drastic is was."

A word cloud generated by Insightrix on reactions to the 2017 provincial budget. (Insightrix)

Those polled also said that poor people, single-income earners, the elderly and the middle class were most negatively impacted by the budget, while the wealthy and business sector were most likely to benefit.

A total of 803 randomly selected, SaskWatch Research panel members participated in the online research study from April 11-13, 2017. Quotas were set by age, gender and region to match the province's general population. Since the research is conducted online, it is considered to be a non-probability proportion sample; therefore, margins of error are not applicable. Comparisons have been made to similar polls that used the same methodology, quotas and sample source.