Pandemic Dissatisfaction May Tilt Election Against Manitoba Conservatives


Approximately one-third of Manitoba residents have expressed dissatisfaction with the provincial government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating that it could sway their ballot in favour of the opposition in the upcoming elections. The Progressive Conservatives’ handling of the pandemic, according to these voters, has created significant distrust. Indeed, a Probe Research poll uncovers a rather deep layer of dissatisfaction that runs amongst these individuals.

Scott MacKay, the founder of Probe Research, stressed the gravity of this situation as he revealed, “An alarming third of voters have voiced that their inclination to support the Conservatives has been negatively impacted by the pandemic handling in Manitoba. This revelation can be a potential game-changer”.

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He went on further to note, “While the pandemic might seem like a distant memory to some, for a significant portion of Manitobans, it is an influential factor that will weigh on their decision as they cast their votes.”

However, the same poll revealed a possibly counterbalancing factor: 60% of Manitoba voters did not categorize the government’s handling of the pandemic as a deciding factor for their vote. A negligible portion of voters (7%) even represented those who perceived the pandemic response in a positive light, declaring it a reason for their support for the Progressive Conservatives.

Among those disenchanted with the government’s pandemic measures, most were found to align with the NDP (53%), while 35% were Liberal supporters, with a minor 9% of PC supporters. This inclination was most noticeable among Winnipeg residents compared to voters outside the city.

The poll also explored Manitobans’ interest in a public investigation into the government’s pandemic response. MacKay noted, “While it’s a small majority, a majority nonetheless is demanding a public inquiry”. This translates to 55% of voters supporting such an inquiry, with 45% standing against it.

In response to public sentiment, the NDP has pledged to initiate a ‘forward-facing independent inquiry’ into the provincial government’s management of the pandemic.

Both the NDP and Progressive Conservatives have elected to make “pandemic promises” as a key part of their election campaign strategy, assuring citizens that they would avoid future COVID-19 lockdowns. Heather Stefanson, PC Leader, has committed that her government, if re-elected, will abandon the idea of another lockdown. Similarly, NDP Leader Wab Kinew has vowed to withhold previous restrictions such as business closures and gathering limitations if elected to power.

The data referenced in this report was collected by Probe Research, involving a representative sample of 1,000 adults from Manitoba, undertaken from September 7 to 18. A survey of this size carries a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points, with larger margins of error within each of the identified population subgroups.