Voters in Manitoba Deeply Divided as Campaign Continues

Wab Kinew seen as the best leader to handle health care, while Heather Stefanson scores well on the economy and jobs.

Vancouver, BC [September 18, 2023] – There is no clear frontrunner in Manitoba’s provincial election, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample of likely voters, 41% of decided voters in Manitoba would support the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), while 39% would back the governing Progressive Conservative Party.

The Liberal Party is third with 14%, followed by the Green Party with 3%. Across the province, 2% of decided voters would cast ballots for independents or candidates from other parties.

“On two specific age groups, Manitoba’s election is remarkably close,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The New Democrats and the Progressive Conservatives are separated by two points or less among decided voters aged 35-to-54 (42% to 40%) and decided voters aged 55 and over (43% to 42%).”

Fewer than one-in-four decided voters in Manitoba (23%) say they may change their mind and support a different party or candidate in this election—including 14% of those who currently plan to vote for the Progressive Conservatives and 18% of those who currently plan to support the New Democrats.

Just under half of likely voters in Manitoba (47%) approve of the way Official Opposition and New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Wab Kinew is handling his duties. The rating is lower for Premier and Progressive Conservative Party leader Heather Stefanson (37%), Liberal Party leader Dougald Lamont (36%) and Green Party leader Janine Gibson (18%).

Kinew is the only leader with a positive momentum score since the start of the campaign (+2, with 24% of likely voters in Manitoba saying their opinion of him has improved). Lamont is at -4, Gibson at -8 and Stefanson at -23 (with 34% of likely voters saying their opinion of her has worsened).

Likely voters in Manitoba are profoundly divided when asked who would make the “Best Premier” of the province, with Stefanson practically tied with Kinew (30% to 29%), followed by Lamont (14%) and Gibson (2%).

Just over two-in-five likely voters in Manitoba (41%) think health care is the most important issue facing the province—a proportion that rises to 57% among those aged 55 and over.

Housing, poverty and homelessness is second on the list of concerns in the province (17%), followed by the economy and jobs (14%), crime and public safety (also 14%) and the environment (4%).

Kinew is ahead of Stefanson when likely voters in Manitoba are asked who would be the best person to manage health care (40% to 26%) and housing, poverty and homelessness (40% to 25%). Stefanson leads Kinew on the economy and jobs (31% to 27%) and energy (30% to 26%).

The difference between the two leaders is negligible or inexistent on four other areas of concern: the environment (Kinew 25%, Stefanson 24%), government accountability (Kinew 28%, Stefanson 27%), crime and public safety (Kinew 33%, Stefanson 31%) and education (each contender at 31%).

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from September 15 to September 17, 2023, among 600 likely voters in Manitoba, including 539 decided voters in the 2023 provincial election. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Manitoba. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 4.0 percentage points for the entire sample and +/- 4.2 percentage points for the sample of decided voters, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e]