Canada’s first crowdsourced poll reveals a province divided, deadlocked and potentially disengaged.
Vancouver, BC [February 25, 2022] – Last week, Saskatchewan residents, hungry for a new way to inform themselves about their government, community and province, crowdsourced Vancouver’s Research Co. to conduct a poll on their behalf.
The answer to the question “What is Saskatchewan?”, however, remains fairly elusive.
An online study conducted from February 19 to February 23, 2022, among a representative sample of 808 adults in Saskatchewan, with a focus on the present and future of the province’s politics, COVID-19 pandemic response and economic conditions, revealed consensus opinion on very little.
For example, one of the most consistent answers, 1 in 4, was “Not sure”, in response to questions on the necessity of new or rebranded political parties to replace the New Democratic Party (NDP) or the Saskatchewan Party. More than a third of residents (37%) agreed with the statement that “neither of the two major political parties in Saskatchewan truly represent my views.”
“While support for the Saskatchewan Party amongst all voters remains strong, a significant number of residents feel disengaged when it comes to Saskatchewan’s political future,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Premier Scott Moe’s approval rating stands at 50%, yet 54% of residents agree that his government is not doing enough to deal with the suicide crisis in northern Saskatchewan.”
Tammy Nicklas-Robert, a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based researcher and communications’ consultant, used the GoFundMe platform to crowdsource the Research Co. study as one potential solution to what she sees as mounting frustration in her province due to a collective sense of isolation and powerlessness.
“When I first floated the idea on social media, I was overwhelmed by the volume and intensity of the response,” says Nicklas-Robert. “What I heard is after two years of the pandemic, Saskatchewan people are feeling isolated, disheartened by what they perceive to be a lack of trustworthy data and facts related to their province’s social, economic and political reality, but also ready to reconnect with like-minded collectives.”
She points to the result on mask-wearing in Saskatchewan after the mandate drops as evidence that those collectives will emerge. More than three-in-five Saskatchewanians (63%) say they plan to continue wearing a mask or face covering when entering businesses and public venues, even if this is no longer a requirement.
“When we know how much anger can be triggered in others when they see someone wearing a medical mask, even during a pandemic, those who plan to continue to wear one in public after February 28 will hopefully find some comfort in knowing that they are well within the majority planning to do the same,” she continued.
More highlights from this study:
A majority of Saskatchewan residents (58%) consider COVID-19 as a real threat to them and their family’s health and safety. More than a third (36%) think COVID-19 is not a real threat.
Most of the province’s residents (53%) are satisfied with the way their municipal government has dealt with COVID-19. The rating is lower for the Saskatchewan government (48%) and the federal Liberal government (37%).
While a majority of Saskatchewanians trust their provincial government to respond to a natural disaster (57%), the trust-level drops on all other issues tested, such as managing the provincial budget (49%), ensuring the sustainability of the health care system (46%) and collaborating with public health and medical professionals to establish health guidelines and restrictions (44%).
Just over two-in-five residents trust their provincial government to release accurate (43%) and complete (41%) information about COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates to the media and the public.
More than half of Saskatchewanians (55%) agree with the provincial government’s decision to cancel “Proof of Vaccination” or negative test requirement in order to enter specific businesses and public venues, while two-in-five (40%) disagree with it.
Residents are evenly divided on the provincial government’s decision to end the indoor mask mandate on February 28 (Agree 48%, Disagree 47%).
Residents are also evenly divided on the state of Saskatchewan’s economy, with 43% considering it “very good” or “good” and 45% deeming it “bad” or “very bad.”
One-in-four Saskatchewanians (26%) expect the provincial economy to improve over the next six months, while 43% foresee no change and one-in-five (19%) predict a decline.
Half of the province’s residents (50%) approve of Scott Moe’s performance as Premier and Saskatchewan Party leader, while two-in-five (40%) disapprove. The rating is lower for departing Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili (34%), Progressive Conservative Party leader Glen Leson (17%), Green Party leader Naomi Hunter (15%) and Liberal Party leader Jeff Walters (13%).
More than half of decided voters in the province (53%) would support the Saskatchewan Party if a provincial election were held today, with the Saskatchewan NDP a distant second with 37%. Support is in single digits for the Buffalo Party (3%), the Green Party (2%), the Progressive Conservative Party (also 2%) and the Liberal Party (1%).
Almost half of residents (47%) say they would vote for the Saskatchewan Party if Moe is no longer its leader in the next provincial election—including 86% of those who voted for the party in 2020.
A third of Saskatchewanians (34%) say they plan to vote for the NDP even with a leader other than Meili—including 84% of those who cast ballots for NDP candidates in the last provincial election.
More than three-in-ten residents believe the province needs a new centre-right political party that is not the Saskatchewan Party (33%) or a new centre-left political party that is not the NDP (32%). More than a third (37%) feel that neither of the two major parties in Saskatchewan truly represent their views.
A majority of residents (55%) believe the NDP should consider a re-brand before the next election—a proportion that rises to 61% among those who voted for the New Democrats in 2020.
Just under half of Saskatchewanians believe that the provincial government is doing enough to deal with two pending concerns: the discovery of residential school grave sites (49%) and the future of the oil and gas industry (46%).
Fewer residents think the provincial government is paying enough attention to the impact of climate change (42%), the use of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs (30%) and the suicide crisis in northern Saskatchewan (27%).
Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from February 19 to February 23, 2022, among 808 adults in Saskatchewan. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Saskatchewan. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, 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] firstname.lastname@example.org