Poll shows demand for centre party, stronger opposition in Saskatchewan

Click to play video: 'Poll shows demand for centre party, stronger opposition in Saskatchewan' Poll shows demand for centre party, stronger opposition in Saskatchewan
WATCH: Half of the respondents said an organization that fit politically between the Saskatchewan Party and New Democrats would be a welcome development – Oct 16, 2020

The Angus Reid Institute has released its latest poll showing the Saskatchewan Party has a 27-point lead over the Saskatchewan NDP heading into the final leg of the election campaign.

The survey also found that voters are looking for an alternative that fits between both parties.

Half of all respondents answered that a party that fit between the Saskatchewan Party and New Democrats would be a welcome development.

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One University of Saskatchewan political scientist said in this election, both parties have moved further apart when it comes to policy, making the gap for voters in the middle even wider.

“There is a big segment of the population that historically is neither conservative, nor NDP. That can run up to 20 to 25 per cent of the population,” Greg Poelzer said pointing out this group generally votes for the Liberal Party of Canada in the federal election.

He added that this part of the Saskatchewan Party base is concerned about Scott Moe’s tactics when it comes to dealing with Ottawa and would rather have the party approach the federal government like Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

Click to play video: 'Breaking down Wednesday’s provincial debate' Breaking down Wednesday’s provincial debate
Breaking down Wednesday’s provincial debate – Oct 15, 2020

However, NDP supporters are also expressing a desire for more choice. Nearly 70 per cent of those who said they intend to vote for the New Democrats stated they’d like to see a viable option in the centre compared to 36 per cent of likely Saskatchewan Party voters.

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Poelzer noted in the previous two elections, the NDP’s platform was closer to the centre but some of its voters further on the left weren’t enthusiastic about the party in 2011 and 2016.

Some of the smaller parties are hoping to fill that void.

Leaders from the Progessive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Green Party and the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan all told Global News they view themselves as strong alternatives for voters who aren’t pleased with the status quo.

Poelzer noted all of the smaller parties have platforms more to the right or left compared to the big two, so taking some votes from the centre is highly unlikely.

A University of Regina political scientist said the gap between the two big parties probably isn’t what the New Democrats were expecting to see this election.

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“It says something about sort of some internal problems maybe inside the opposition around not being able to capitalize on the absence of Brad Wall,” Tom McIntosh said.

More than 750 people answered the online questionnaire between Oct. 8-13, which happened to be the week leading up to the leaders debate.

Read more: Party leaders in Saskatchewan focus on spending in civil election debate

McIntosh added the poll’s timing was unfortunate for the NDP, because many believe leader Ryan Meili performed well in the televised debate, but the poll was completed the day before.

The survey also found 64 per cent of respondents would like to see stronger opposition in the legislature.

That includes 43 per cent of people who intend to vote for the Saskatchewan Party.

Angus Reid said the poll has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

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