Manitoba election foregone conclusion?

Farmers in huge swaths of rural Manitoba are down to just two mainstream political choices now that the Liberals won’t be running candidates in all ridings.

However, that probably won’t change election results, says a leading Manitoba political analyst.

The Progressive Conservatives are heavily favoured to win almost all farm country constituencies in southern Manitoba, and Liberal voters cut loose from their preferred party are more likely to vote PC than NDP.

“Outside of Winnipeg, the Liberals compete mostly with the Conservatives. Inside Winnipeg, they compete mainly with the NDP,” said Paul Thomas, a University of Manitoba political scientist.

Four Liberal candidates were disqualified on the deadline to approve nominations because of problems with names on nomination forms, while another was disallowed because she had been an enumerator before deciding to run for the Liberals.

All the ridings that now won’t have a Liberal candidate are rural.

Thomas said many of the Liberal voters in those seats will probably stay home on election day, unless they are particularly attracted to another candidate.

That will be a PC or NDP choice, unless the Green party or other small parties with little chance of winning seats have a registered candidate.

“Whether those people would take the time to get out and vote, especially in southwestern Manitoba, where many, many seats are automatically Conservative victories, remains to be seen.”

A Mainstream Research poll released March 31 found that the PCs have 42 percent support in “the rest of Manitoba” outside Winnipeg, the Liberals have 17 percent and the NDP 12 percent, with 23 percent undecided and six percent Green supporters.Provincially, the PCs have 36 percent, the Liberals and NDP both have 18 percent, 22 percent are undecided, and six percent are Green.

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