Friday, March 19, 2010

Manitoba Conservatives show lead for first time in years

Too soon to say what this means, but an Angus Reid poll shows the PCs substantially ahead of the NDP:

An Angus Reid poll released Thursday -- on the eve of the release of the new provincial budget -- shows Hugh McFadyen's Progressive Conservatives out in front of Premier Greg Selinger's New Democrats.

"This sets up Tuesday's budget," said the University of Manitoba's Jared Wesley, an assistant professor of political studies. "This is when Manitobans will have a first real look at the premier."

Wesley said Selinger and Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk have to make a good impression on Manitobans to take any momentum away from the PCs.

"Anybody who's in politics has to take it seriously because it's coming from Angus Reid," Wesley said of the poll.

It found 44 per cent of decided Manitoba voters say they would support the Progressive Conservative candidate in their constituency if a provincial election were held tomorrow. The governing NDP is second with 37 per cent followed by the Liberal Party with 13 per cent and the Green Party with three per cent.

Brian at Just Damn Stupid dismisses this out of hand based on the poll methodology. I'm no expert, but I'm not prepared to dismiss these results, much as I might like to. While it is an online poll, it's a far cry from those worthless polls you seen on every media website; Angus Reid is a respectable firm and they make a serious effort to ensure a sample is representative. However, another factor may be in play here:
The NDP is ahead of the Tories in Winnipeg (44 per cent to 36 per cent), but the opposition party holds the upper hand in rural Manitoba (55 per cent to 28 per cent).
Some of the government's policies in the last few years have been unpopular in rural Manitoba. In particular, the new wastewater regulations and the moratorium on new hog operations have been spun by the Tories and various interest groups as an attack on the heart of rural Manitoba. The thing is, though, most of the rural constituencies are already held by the Tories; it does a party no good, from an electoral point of view, to gain popularity in constituencies it already holds.

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