As Saskatchewan's election draws nearer, a new poll shows a significant gap between the New Democratic Party and the Saskatchewan Party.
On Thursday, an Angus Reid Institute poll showed the Sask. Party held a 27-point lead over the NDP among survey respondents when asked who they were going to vote for. Sixty per cent of the people in the survey said they planned to vote for the Sask. Party, versus 33 per cent for the NDP.
"It doesn't appear that it's going to be the most dramatic election," said research director Dave Korzinski.
"It looks like the Saskatchewan Party is really in the driver's seat."
Korzinski said the Sask. Party dominated on economic questions in the poll. Eighty-six per cent of people in the poll said the party would be best to lead on resources, and 82 per cent favoured the Sask. Party on economic growth questions.
"When you get to those top economic issues, the Saskatchewan Party is the only choice, it appears, for people who are concerned about that," he said.
"They've got the incumbency and they're trusted on the economy."
The NDP managed to lead on social issues, albeit by a smaller margin. Fourty-four per cent of people said the NDP is the best party to lead on health-care issues, and 48 per cent said the NDP would be the best party to lead on the province's COVID-19 response.
However, Korzinski said in general, people seem to be much more interested in the economy.
"It's interesting. COVID-19 is such a big driver in a lot of different provinces," he said.
"In B.C., it's among the top issues and one of the top issues in Ontario. In Saskatchewan, it's not as big of a concern."
However, numbers are much different when broken down by region. When asked about their voting intentions, people in Regina were split evenly between the Sask. Party and the NDP at 46 per cent, with 52 per cent of Saskatoon voters favouring the Sask. Party.
Outside the province's two main cities, the Sask. Party held a commanding lead, with 70 per cent saying they would vote for the Sask. Party, versus 23 per cent support for the NDP.
The poll also showed Sask. Party Leader Scott Moe was much more popular than NDP Leader Ryan Meili. In the survey, 56 per cent of people found Moe appealing, compared to Meili's 31 per cent.
Still, the poll seemed to show some appetite for political change. Sixty-four per cent of people surveyed said Saskatchewan needs a stronger opposition party in place, with 51 per cent saying they would like a third political party in the political centre.
A large number of people also said they were concerned about voting during the pandemic. Fourty-three per cent of people in the poll said they were concerned about voting in-person, or about two in every five people.
The poll shows about 70 per cent of NDP voters were concerned about voting in-person, versus about 30 per cent of Saskatchewan Party voters.
"You don't want to be in a situation where you potentially handcuff a party because their voters are more concerned about it," Korzinski said.
"So, that's when preparation and mail-in voting really becomes important. And I think that Elections Saskatchewan has done a pretty good job of doing that. And hopefully everybody will feel comfortable getting out and expressing their vote."
The Angus Reid Institute conducted the online survey from Oct 8-13, among a representative randomized sample of 759 adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum.
For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.