Debates and opinion polls highlighted week three of the campaign and set the stage for the final days.  

WINNIPEG (September 25, 2023): With just over one week remaining in the election campaign, public domain polls show that the Manitoba NDP hold a demonstrable province-wide lead in the upcoming October 3 election.   

Last week, two polls were released. Angus Reid Institute has the NDP ahead of the Manitoba PCs at 47% to 41%, while Probe Research has the NDP up 11 points with 49% to the PCs 38%. Beyond these top-line numbers, it is important to note the collapse of the Manitoba Liberal Party’s support. In the 2019 election, the Liberals garnered 14.6% of the vote to win 3 seats. Both polls last week had the Liberals at 9%.  

NDP Leader Wab Kinew made direct appeals to former Liberals voters in last week’s television debate, Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce debate, and during his keynote address at his Manitoba Chamber of Commerce breakfast. Of note, earlier in the election Kinew and the Manitoba NDP received an endorsement from former Liberal MP and Manitoba stalwart, Lloyd Axworthy. This has given implied permission for traditional Liberal voters to cast a ballot for the NDP in this election – in order to defeat the PCs. With the Liberals running only 49 out of 57 candidates, the NDP are well positioned to receive much welcomed support from traditional Liberal voters in key ridings outside of Winnipeg, such as Dawson Trail, Dauphin, and Selkirk.  

Last week we also saw the only televised leaders’ debate during the writ-period, where both PC Leader Heather Stefanson and Liberal leader Dougald Lamont set their sights on frontrunner Kinew.  Issues such as health care, affordability and crime dominated the hour-long debate.  Liberal leader Lamont focused all of his questions for Kinew while Stefanson asked a series of questions to Lamont, setting him up to criticize Kinew from the Liberal point of view, while ensuring Kinew had less time to reply. While no leader “won” the debate, it was largely viewed as a missed opportunity for Stefanson and the Manitoba PCs to stop the bleeding in her poll numbers.  

Things we’ll be looking for in final days:  

  • Despite her high disapproval ratings, can a last-minute appeal by Heather Stefanson rally the 2019 PC voters to stop the NDP? 
  • With eight days of advanced voting, can the NDP’s “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) effort seize their current momentum in polls?  
  • Turnout: Change elections usually see higher levels of voter participation. In the 2019 election voter turnout was 55%.
  • With withering support, will traditional Liberal voters stay at home or lend their vote to the NDP to defeat the PCs?

Quick Facts  

  • There are 57 seats in the Manitoba Legislature (29 needed for majority).  
  • 32 out of 57 electoral ridings are in the City of Winnipeg.
  • Before the writ dropped, the PCs had 35 seats, the NDP 18, Liberals held 3 and one seat was vacant.  
  • The Manitoba NDP must win 11 more seats than they currently hold to form a majority government. 
  • Advanced voting – September 23 to September 30  
  • Election Day – Tuesday, October 3

Stay informed. Read Counsel’s past 2023 Manitoba Election insights here.

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Insights provided by Logan Ross, Brad Lavigne, and Counsel’s Western Team.

For more information, contact:

logan ross counsel public affairs

Logan Ross, Vice President


brad lavigne counsel public affairs

Brad Lavigne, Partner – Western Practice Lead