Manitoba Tories spent a lot of political capital in 2017. Will they reap the rewards in 2018? – Manitoba

He may have finished the year with his arm in a sling and call-outs over what some say was a sexist gaffe, but a recent poll shows Premier Brian Pallister’s government has halted its year-long slide in support.

The Tories spent much of 2017 delivering the first parts of massive changes to health-care delivery in Manitoba and appeared to pick a fight with the federal government on a monthly basis.

So far the Trudeau Liberals have yet to entirely shut the funding door on Manitoba in response to Pallister’s noisy opposition to everything from pot tax revenue to carbon tax schemes.

And so far, consolidating emergency departments and other health services in Winnipeg continues to be a precarious political ride.

2018 could see more of the same, or Pallister’s poll position could sink further as the next rounds of health changes and other reforms and initiatives take hold.

The most recent Probe Research poll done for the Winnipeg Free Press shows 40 per cent of those surveyed support the PCs. 

That is a jump of four per cent from a similar poll done in September, but the Probe numbers show the Tories have slipped nine per cent from a year ago.

If the poll snapshot marks an uptick for the PC government, it also should give pause to the NDP, who are in a near dead heat with the Liberals for second spot at approximately 25 per cent of the 1,000 people surveyed.

Probe’s margin of error for the poll says the results are within ± 3.1 percentage points of what they would have been if the entire adult population of Manitoba had been surveyed. 

Political scientist and author Chris Adams worked at Probe before taking the position of rector at St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba.

Adams says the “levelling out” of support for the Tories appears to be good news for Pallister — showing the value of his strategy of taking on big challenges early in his mandate. 

Political scientist Chris Adams says improvement in PC support won’t…

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