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Strong support for NDP at Manitoba campaign’s midpoint, new poll says

A new poll at the halfway mark of the province’s election campaign suggests Manitoba’s New Democrats are currently winning the popularity contest against the incumbent Progressive Conservatives.

The latest numbers from the non-partisan Angus Reid Institute on Wednesday show the NDP with a six-point advantage over the PCs among decided and leaning voters -— a lead that is considerably larger in the vote-rich city of Winnipeg, where the NDP is ahead by 22 points. In the rest of Manitoba, however, the PCs have a similar advantage, holding a 15-point lead.

The Manitoba Liberals remain in third place, however, with nine per cent of Manitobans overall saying they’ll vote Liberal. That number increases to 13 per cent within Winnipeg, and a negligible four per cent in the rest of the province.

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The survey, which collected the opinions online of a randomized sample of 990 Manitoba adults between Sept. 13-19, also asked respondents for their views on the party leaders themselves, as well as key issues in the campaign.

Overall, almost half of those polled (48 per cent) say they have a favourable view of NDP leader Wab Kinew —jumping to 52 per cent in Winnipeg — while Stefanson sits at 31 per cent, or 27 per cent in the city.

Even in the rest of the province, where the PCs are ahead in the polls, Kinew is viewed more favourably as leader, at 42 per cent to Stefanson’s 38.

And despite deep divisions between supporters of the two major parties in the legislature, Kinew has some support from Manitobans who voted PC in the 2019 election: 21 per cent, which is much higher than the six per cent favourability for Stefanson among NDP voters.

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In recent weeks, those polled said their opinion of the leaders — Stefanson in particular — has changed.

The survey asked Manitobans if their views on Stefanson and Kinew had improved, stayed the same, or worsened, and while Kinew saw a slight (two per cent) net improvement, Stefanson’s numbers worsened significantly, with a drop of 21 per cent.

That difference was most noticeable among women, with Stefanson dropping by more than 20 per cent in all three age categories, while Kinew saw his biggest improvement (21 per cent) with female voters aged 18-34.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba party leaders debate election issues Monday morning'

Manitoba party leaders debate election issues Monday morning

When it comes to the top issues facing Manitoba during the campaign, the cost of living and health care dominated, with three in five Manitobans citing inflation as their number one concern, and concerns with the health-care system a close second. A whopping 67 per cent of those outside Winnipeg said cost-of-living increases were their top challenge, while in the city, both issues were almost neck-and-neck.

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Rounding out the top five issues are public safety and crime (31 per cent), taxes (21 per cent), and housing affordability (20 per cent).

On those topics, the PCs are seen as the best party to tackle economic issues, while the NDP is viewed as the top party to tackle health care. On crime and safety, the two parties are fairly evenly matched, with the PCs having a slight lead.

Overall, Manitobans seem more likely to be satisfied with an NDP majority than giving the incumbent PCs another term.

A full half of those polled said they would feel either “good” or “delighted” if Kinew became premier, compared with 42 per cent saying the same for Stefanson. Forty per cent of respondents said a Stefanson majority would be the outcome they “really dread.”

Manitobans go to the polls Oct. 3.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba’s Stefanson remains at bottom of premiers’ approval rankings, but with some positive signs'

Manitoba’s Stefanson remains at bottom of premiers’ approval rankings, but with some positive signs

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