Grits on the rise in Western Manitoba?

By all accounts, the November, 2013 byelection in the southwestern Manitoba riding of Brandon-Souris should never have been as close as it was. And yet, there was a punk rocker who’d spent a good chunk of his life in Toronto leading late in some polls in a riding where the Conservatives had been absolutely dominant for decades. In the end, Conservative Larry Maguire won with 44.16% of the vote compared to Liberal Rolf Dinsdale’s 42.75%.

Was that an aberration?

Maybe not. 

A new poll is out this weekend that suggests Grit fortunes in this traditionally Conservative heartland are on the rise.

The poll was done Jan 11 to Jan 26  by Probe Research Inc. and was commissioned by the Brandon Sun. Probe polled, by telephone, 803 residents of western Manitoba, in the ridings of Brandon-Souris and in Dauphin-Swan RIver-Marquette, ridings held respectively by Maguire and Conservative Robert Sopuck.

In Brandon-Souris it found that 44% would vote for Maguire while 36% would vote for Justin Trudeau’s candidate. Just 10% would cast a ballot for Thomas Mulcair’s NDP. The best the Liberals have ever done in a general election here was in 1993 when Kim Campbell was leading the Progressive Conservatives to disaster and the Liberals won this with 33% of the vote. It’s the only time the Liberals have ever held this party of Manitoba. (Ironically, the PC candidate in that election was the unlucky Larry Maguire!)  In the four general elections in which voters here could cast a ballot for Merv Tweed and Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party of Canada, the Liberal candidate got 24% (Martin 04), 18% (Martin 06), 8% (Dion 08) and 5.4% (Ignatieff 11).

Notably, Dinsdale will not try again here. On his Facebook page, Dinsdale said there were personal reasons for that choice but he also said Liberal HQ had made it clear they didn’t want him around. “I regret to say, The Liberal Party has made deciding not to run an easy choice for me to make,” Dinsdale wrote.

In Dauphin, Sopuck and the Conservatives are the preferred pick of 46% of voters compared to 34% for the Liberals and 11% for the NDP. Historically, this riding too reliably picks the small-conservative candidate going back to 1958. The NDP held it briefly from 80-84 and the Liberals won it in that 1993 wipeout. But, again, counting from 2004, here’s how the Liberals did here:  20% (Martin 04), 18% (Martin 06), 14% (Dion 08) , 6.6% (Ignatieff 11)

The pollster says its results are accurate to within 3.5 points 95% of the time.


3 thoughts on “Grits on the rise in Western Manitoba?”

  1. Sorry to be critical about your new look but the list of social media sites (F, Twitter, G etc.) on the left-hand side hide part of the post, ergo a pain in the butt to read. Couldn’t that list be moved to the right-hand side?

    Another criticism, if I may, again not related to this post. At today’s presser with German Chancellor Merkel, you asked the first question, IMO totally unrelated to what the Chancellor & the PM were there for. I find it rude to have foreign dignitaries be ignored, as if their presence is insignificant or irrelevant. I realize you are not the only journalist to ask questions on “domestic” issues but surely such pressers are not the appropriate place to do so?

    1. Thank you for your interest in my input.

      As I’ve stated many a time, I wish the PM would relent a little and do more and longer pressers, which he usually does quite well, IMO, even if they are limited. He’s not a man given to Obama-like rhetorical flourishes — which many journalists, including Canadian ones seem to be enamoured of — with his answers usually focused on the topic at hand. But just because the journalist does not like the answer given does not mean the PM has refused to answer, as some accuse the PM of doing.

      I appreciate that, contrary to claims made by anti-Harperites, including journalists, you have once again clearly stated that the PM does not know ahead of time what questions will be put to him nor does he choose which journalists ask a question (unlike Obama).

      Although you present a good argument for asking your question about Eve Adams, i.e. you have very little access to the PM for “domestic” questions in Ottawa, I still maintain the Ukraine situation far outweighs in importance what an opportunistic politician, no matter how photogenic, says or does. Giving precedence to Ms. Adams over Chancellor Merkel doesn’t speak well of Canadian journalists’ priorities.

      Despite my disagreement with you on this and perhaps other points, you still remain at the top of my TJL (trustworthy journalists list), for what it’s worth.

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