Very recently, Probe released a new poll on the Manitoba situation. The federal NDP surge seems to have passed the Manitoba NDP by. Just like their last poll, they are in second place with 29%. The Progressive Conservatives, currently the Official Opposition, have a wide lead with 46%. The Liberals, who currently have one seat in the legislature, have 19% support, slightly down from April. The Greens have 5%.
Here is the seat projection using my model:
Winnipeg: 39% Progressive Conservative (19 seats), 34% New Democratic (13 seats), 21% Liberal (5 seats), 5% Green (0 seats)
Not Winnipeg: 58% Progressive Conservative (19 seats), 21% New Democratic (1 seat), 16% Liberal (0 seats), 5% Green (0 seats)
Total: 46% Progressive Conservative (38 seats), 29% New Democratic (14 seats), 19% Liberal (5 seats), 5% Green (0 seats)
With these numbers, the Progressive Conservatives will double their current seat count and form a solid majority government with 38 seats, the New Democrats will have their ranks decimated to 14 seats and form the Official Opposition, and the Liberals will increase their caucus from 1 to 5 seats. The Greens will remain shut out of the legislature.
At this point, it seems all but certain that the Progressive Conservatives will form the next government of Manitoba. The New Democrats at the time of next year’s election will have been in government for 17 straight years, which is long enough for even the most well-received of incumbent governments to get “tired” in the eyes of voters. It doesn’t help that there has been continuing infighting among the NDP with an embattled leader as premier while poll numbers are dwindling.
The Progressive Conservatives have taken control in Winnipeg, an NDP stronghold since the beginning of the 21st century. The NDP does have an incumbency advantage in this region, but if they open up their lead enough, this advantage will slowly get erased. They have also nearly swept the area outside Winnipeg, which makes it hard for any other party to get in.
The NDP’s stronghold has consistently been in Winnipeg. In the 1999 election, 21 of its 32 seats were won there. In 2003, that number rose to 23 out of 35. In 2007, it was 25 out of 36, and in 2011 it was 26 out of 37. It still remains competitive within the city, but its ranks have been decimated outside of the city. It is projected to only win one seat, when previously the areas outside of Winnipeg have returned 1/3 of the NDP caucus. In order to mitigate its losses, it needs to strengthen itself in Winnipeg. Outside of Winnipeg may be a lost cause.
If there is a party to beat the Progressive Conservatives, it is not the NDP but instead the third-place Liberals. That is not to say it is likely that the Liberals will win, but they may create a minority situation that is to their advantage. While the NDP and PC’s may compete over Winnipeg, with the Liberals in third, the Liberals do have a chance outside of Winnipeg. Even though the PC’s have remained strong there for as long as anyone can remember, there are signs that the Liberals are the credible alternative – in many polls before this one, they have overtaken the NDP outside of Winnipeg. It is remotely possible, but possible nonetheless, that through some slick maneuvering, the Liberals can sweep the region outside of Winnipeg and secure a minority through gaining a few seats in Winnipeg.
The Greens have an opportunity to win its first seat as well. The Greens did quite well in Wolseley under leader James Beddome, and if he runs there again, he may have more of a chance. The NDP has an incumbency advantage, but it is very possible that the NDP may be reduced enough and enough support will bleed to the Greens in that seat via a tactical voting move that he will be put over the top and get the Manitoba Greens’ first seat.