The Progressive Conservative party is still the toast of Manitoba voters, but support for the NDP appears to be edging upwards after bottoming out in December.
The Conservatives, under Leader Brian Pallister, are the party of choice for 45 per cent of decided voters, virtually unchanged from three months ago, according to a new Probe Research poll conducted for the Winnipeg Free Press.
The NDP, which saw its provincial support erode to 26 per cent six months ago, is now the choice of 32 per cent of decided voters.
However, the Manitoba Liberals are losing ground. Grit support dropped to 16 per cent in Probe's most recent survey compared with 23 per cent three months earlier, while support for the Greens and other political parties rose to seven per cent compared with three per cent three months earlier.
"The Tories seem to be holding their own here," said Probe Research president Scott MacKay. "And any kind of movement that we're seeing appears to be happening between the NDP and the Liberals right now. But the NDP are recovering slowly."
Although the gap between the Conservatives and the NDP has narrowed slightly provincewide, the PCs are maintaining their lead in Winnipeg. The Tories are now favoured by 41 per cent of Winnipeggers (compared with 38 per cent three months ago), while the NDP is the choice of 36 per cent (up two points since March). Both parties gained at the expense of the Liberals, who saw their city support drop eight points to 17 per cent.
Outside Winnipeg, half of the decided voters prefer the PCs (52 per cent versus 61 per cent in March), while 25 per cent would vote NDP (up from 17 per cent in March).
The Conservatives are most popular among men, older voters, middle- and high-income earners and those with less formal education.
According to the most recent poll, 51 per cent of males would cast their ballot for the Tories if a vote were held today, while only 27 per cent of men would vote NDP. Among those aged 55 and over, 51 per cent would vote for the PCs, while 28 per cent would cast their ballot for the NDP.
Among women, the results are much closer. The Tories have the support of 38 per cent of decided female voters compared with 36 per cent for the NDP and 17 per cent for the Liberals.
Overall, 13 per cent of Manitobans surveyed were undecided or refused to say which party they supported. That compares with 20 per cent three months earlier.