Manitoba voters have spoken, electing an NDP majority government to replace the struggling Progressive Conservatives. According to recent polling, voters in Manitoba prioritized public safety, healthcare, and counter-poverty measures, all of which the NDP had a distinct advantage over the Tories. A Probe Research poll commissioned by CTV last month revealed that PC support shifted towards the NDP, as voters believed the NDP could better address key electoral issues.
NDP leader Wab Kinew garnered the trust of the public on most issues, with the exception of job and investment attraction. The NDP focused on healthcare and their vision to combat poverty and homelessness, ultimately securing victory. Both parties had similar support regarding public safety and crime. Notably, the NDP had more than double the voter trust on healthcare compared to the PCs, with 46% and 18% respectively.
For Winnipeggers, the key issues became poverty and homelessness, public safety, and healthcare. Two weeks before the election, political analyst Royce Koop predicted an NDP surge in suburban Winnipeg, citing the party’s strong focus on healthcare. He noted that the NDP had effectively kept healthcare on the front page throughout the campaign.
An Angus Reid survey conducted in mid-September showed the NDP with a six-point lead over the Tories among decided and leaning voters, with 47% to 41%. While the Tories held a substantial lead in rural Manitoba, the NDP nearly doubled their support in Winnipeg, with 53% to 31%.
Despite the PC’s fiscal record and a $270 million surplus at the end of fiscal year 2022/23, they struggled to resonate with voters on other issues. The newly-released public accounts revealed that the surplus increased government revenues by $1.9 billion more than expected in Budget 2022, while adding $1.1 billion more in expenses. Provincial government debt stood at $30.3 billion, with interest charges costing taxpayers $1.9 billion last year.
Although this surplus marked Manitoba’s first since 2019, Kinew argued that the PCs did not use it to provide additional inflation-relief measures for families. He criticized their decision not to cut the gas tax or Hydro rates, questioning the priorities of PC leader Heather Stefanson and her team.
The election results demonstrate the importance of prioritizing public safety, healthcare, and tackling poverty in the eyes of Manitoba voters. The NDP’s focus on these issues resonated with the electorate and led to their majority government victory. Now, it remains to be seen how the NDP will deliver on their promises and whether they can effectively address the needs and concerns of Manitobans.