Double-digit advantage in Winnipeg has Manitoba NDP comfortably ahead in lead-up to October election

Double-digit advantage in Winnipeg has Manitoba NDP comfortably ahead in lead-up to October election

Poor ratings on cost of living and health care have PCs trailing NDP by five-points (44%-39%)

June 13, 2023 – A long hot summer lies ahead in Canada’s prairies but when temperatures begin to fall Manitoba will likely head into a September election campaign.

With an election pencilled in for Oct. 3, new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds the New Democratic Party of Manitoba holding a five-point advantage provincewide and a key, substantial lead in Winnipeg over the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba.

If an election were held tomorrow, 44 per cent of Manitobans say they would vote for the provincial New Democratic candidate in their riding, compared to 39 per cent who would support the incumbent Progressive Conservatives led by Heather Stefanson. Wab Kinew’s NDP hold a 25-point advantage in Winnipeg, garnering more than half of the intended vote (54%) compared to 29 per cent for the PCPM. Winnipeg is home to 32 of the 57 seats in the provincial legislature. The Conservatives are strong in the less populated and less seat-rich regions outside of Winnipeg, holding a 56 per cent to 28 per cent lead.

Much of this currently advantageous position for the NDP is driven by overwhelming dissatisfaction with the provincial government of the day. Residents rate cost of living (67%) and health care (57%) as their top two provincial priorities by a wide margin over all other concerns. On each, fewer than one-in-five say the government is doing a good job, including three-in-ten 2019 PCPM voters.

There are, however, many months until election day, and many questions left to be answered. One of which concerns the personal resonance of Kinew. Currently, two-in-five residents (38%) view the NDP leader favourably, while half (51%) offer a negative assessment and one-in-nine remain unsure (11%).


About ARI

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.



  • Top issues and performance

  • The leaders

  • Vote intention


Top issues and performance

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson took over from former Progressive Conservative leader Brian Pallister in the late summer of 2021 and faced an abbreviated two-year runway toward a scheduled provincial election. Pallister led his party to a majority government in 2019 but had seen both his party’s fortunes and his personal approval diminish before stepping away. Thus far, Stefanson has been unable to reverse that trend, having yet to register a personal approval rating of higher than one-quarter during her tenure, and struggling to find traction among an urban electorate that appears to be set on change.

That said, the months ahead remain key if the incumbent Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba is to hold on to its governance, and two core issues will likely drive the outcome. For Manitobans, the cost of living and health care are far and away the top two priorities for the province. This is the case for both those who intend to support the PC and the NDP.

Stefanson announced an $87-million Family Affordability Package last August, and a $200-million Carbon Tax Relief Fund in January. Nonetheless, persistent inflation continues to stymy governments and trouble Canadians from coast-to-coast.

Related: Burdened by debt and rising housing costs, three-in-ten Canadians ‘struggling’ to get by

In April, Manitoba’s leaders took part in a forum to discuss issues facing the province, with health care dominating the discussion. NDP leader Wab Kinew discussed the necessity of rewarding rural medical professionals, while criticizing the Progressive Conservatives for COVID-19 management. Last week, the government announced additional funding for northern health services including the expansion of The Pas Primary Health Care Centre.

Notably, health care is the top issue for potential voters over the age of 54 and close to even with the cost of living for top issue among women:

The Progressive Conservative government will need to rehabilitate its image if electoral success is in the party’s future. On every issue asked – 13 in total – at least half of Manitoba residents say the government is currently doing a poor job.

Compounding this perceived poor performance is the specific assessment across the five top issues in the province. On the top four issues, at least 73 per cent of residents offer a negative appraisal. On the fifth – the deficit – 59 per cent say the government has done a poor job.

The leaders

Stefanson’s struggle to garner positive public opinion has been well-documented, but she is joined in majority negative territory by NDP leader Wab Kinew. Half (51%) of residents say they view Kinew unfavourably, though two-in-five (38%) say they hold a positive view of him.

Note: Approval was asked of Stefanson, while favourability was asked of Kinew.

Kinew resonates better with women (47%) than men (28%), while the reverse is true for Stefanson. Kinew also holds an advantage in terms of personal appeal with all age groups:

While near-unanimous disapproval among 2019 NDP voters is perhaps unsurprising, two-in-five (44%) who voted for the PC in that election say they disapprove of Stefanson to this point.

Comparatively, Kinew’s favourability within the group that supported his party in 2019 registers at approximately four-in-five:

Vote intention

One full season yet separates Manitobans and election day, which helps to explain why one-in-five residents (18%) are unable or unwilling to say which party they will support. Including those who are undecided and those who say they will likely not vote, the NDP of Manitoba holds a six-point advantage over the PCs:

This fulsome picture of the electorate is important, given what is says about vote retention. Looking at those who supported each party in 2019, the NDP looks to be retaining 85 per cent of its voters, while the Conservatives are at a 22-point deficit with this measure, at 63 per cent. That said, 19 per cent of these voters say they are undecided, compared to eight per cent among past NDP voters:

What this all means in terms of current vote intention is that the NDP hold a five-point lead in the province among leaning and decided voters:

This advantage has been relatively steady over the past two years, registering between +1 and +6 over that period and with the party never at a deficit:

Kinew’s party holds an overwhelming advantage in Winnipeg, a region home to three-in-five Manitoba residents. More than half (54%) of Winnipeg resident say they would vote for the NDP, compared to three-in-ten (29%) for the PCs. The reverse is true outside of this major urban centre, with the PCs holding a two-to-one lead:

The PCs demographic advantage is clear, as men prefer the party by 11-points over the NDP. That said, women prefer then NDP by a 19-point margin. As with every election, turnout among younger voters will be a key telltale of the result. Young voters offer the NDP a massive advantage, while older voters, who tend to show up in larger numbers, are divided:

Survey Methodology:

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from May 30 – June 3, 2023 among a representative randomized sample of 515 Manitoba adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here

To read the questionnaire, click here.

Image – Manitoba NDP/Facebook; Heather Stefanson/Facebook


Shachi Kurl, President: 604.908.1693 @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821

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