Alberta, Manitoba governments losing support on COVID-19 response, poll suggests

A new poll suggests that most people in most provinces feel their governments have done a good job dealing with the pandemic. Just not in Alberta or Manitoba.

The poll released Thursday by the Angus Reid Institute found that 57 per cent of respondents believe Jason Kenney’s government has done a poor job in its response to the COVID-19 emergency while 41 per cent think it’s done a good job for Albertans.

Brain Pallister’s government in Manitoba fared even worse in the poll, with 67 per cent saying that province has done a poor job and just 31 per cent saying a good job has been done. 

By comparison, respondents in Quebec rated their government’s pandemic response 62 per cent good to 36 per cent poor. In Ontario, sentiment is more evenly split, 55 per cent good to 44 per cent poor.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, where there were only 20 active cases as of Wednesday, the polls found 93 per cent of respondents say the government has done a good job and only four per cent say it’s done a poor job.

The national average was 58 per cent good to 40 per cent poor. 

Both the Kenney and Pallister governments have seen at least a 34 percentage point drop in their approval rating related to the pandemic since June, the Angus Reid Institute says.

The Manitoba and Alberta governments are alone in sub-majority approval, the poll found. (Angus Reid Institute)

But the report notes that while the trend is most pronounced in Alberta and Manitoba, public approval of pandemic handling at the provincial level has dropped steeply from the summer in almost every region. 

In June, roughly 80 per cent said their provincial government was doing well — now that average is 58 per cent.

“As Canadians voice concerns about what the coming year will hold for their own personal finances, satisfaction with management of their respective provincial economies and the deficit has dropped considerably over the past six months,” the report said.

The poll found there were only three provinces where a majority of residents say the government is doing a good job specifically on health care — B.C., Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador.

In terms of how well they believe their governments are managing the economy through the pandemic, the poll found that Albertans were joined by Manitobans as well as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in voicing the lowest levels of satisfaction.

In Alberta, 56 per cent said the Kenney government is doing a poor job on the economy. In Manitoba, 51 per cent said the same, and in Newfoundland and Labrador the number was 61 per cent.

In most of the provinces, respondents rated their governments’ economic performance somewhat higher, but still more negatively than they had earlier in the year, the institute noted.

The institute also looked at voting intentions in the provinces. 

In Alberta, the poll found that the race between Jason Kenney’s United Conservatives and Rachel Notley’s NDP continues to be close. 

The UCP holds a four-point advantage over the Opposition NDP at 43 per cent to 39 per cent, with another 10 per cent supporting the Alberta Party and eight per cent saying “other.”

In Manitoba, the percentage of decided voters that would support Pallister’s party if an election were held right away has also declined in recent months, the Angus Reid Institute said.

The Progressive Conservatives are now locked in a statistical tie with the NDP at around 40 per cent, with 21 per cent support for the Liberals and five per cent for the Green Party.

“As their constituents grow more critical throughout the pandemic, both Alberta’s United Conservative Party and Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative Party find themselves tied with their opposition parties in vote intention,” the report said. 

In the other provinces, the incumbent parties all enjoy healthy leads in voter support.