September 8, 2019 11:20 am

Early election call showing no signs of hurting Manitoba’s Pallister: experts

ABOVE: Early election call in Manitoba does not seem to affect support for PCs, Curtis Brown of Probe Research says

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There’s no sign the decision to call an early election is hurting Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister in his bid for re-election.

That’s according to Curtis Brown, a principal with Probe Research, and Global News Chief Political Correspondent David Akin.

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In an interview with The West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson ahead of the Manitoba election on Sept. 10, Brown and Akin said all signs point to Pallister holding a significant lead over the NDP and its leader, Wab Kinew.

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“For the most part it really appears — and has really borne out in a lot of research we’ve been doing — that there hasn’t been a lot of an impact,” said Brown about the decision to call an early election.

More than 113,000 Manitobans have already cast their ballots in the election, according to Elections Manitoba.

That came after Thursday was the final day for them to vote ahead of the official election date.

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Pallister and the Manitoba Progressive Conservatives have pledged more than $850 million in new spending while at the same time vowing to tackle the provincial budget deficit and get the province’s finance back towards balanced.

A poll by Probe Research published last week suggested 44 per cent of Manitoban voters ranked health care as their top concern.

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That same poll suggested Pallister and the Progressive Conservatives are sitting at 40 per cent support compared to 29 per cent for the NDP.

But if there is ground to be gained for Kinew and the NDP, it will likely come from voter concerns about the state of health care in the province, said Akin.

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“Even though Pallister’s got that 11-point lead, I wonder if that might move if people make the decision that health care is more important than balancing the budget,” he said.

“That might be the only hope the NDP has.”

Brown added that the data he is seeing is clear about where voter concerns lie.

“Health care, health care, health care,” he said.

Both the NDP and the Progressive Conservatives have made health care a key plank of their platforms.

Kinew has put forward a pledge to ban mandatory overtime for nurses and reverse the privatization of home care implemented by Pallister’s government.

Pallister, on the other hand, is vowing to inject an extra $2 billion over four years into the province’s health care budget.

He has also promised to create a new strategy for dealing with drug addiction in the province.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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