The fallout from the March 22 provincial budget continues for Premier Brad Wall.
According to a new poll from Mainstreet Research, 46 per cent of people approve of Wall, just narrowly ahead of the 45 per cent of people who disapprove of him.
“These are very different numbers for Brad Wall than what we usually see,” said David Valentin, executive vice-president of Mainstreet Research, in a news release. “We saw Brad Wall with 52 per cent approval last October with 43 per cent disapproval … his approval and disapproval numbers are now essentially tied.”
As for the opposition, Mainstreet said the NDP now lead in Regina and Saskatoon. Valentin added the Sask. Party still enjoys a “dominant lead” outside the two cities.
Mainstreet said the latest numbers are clearly driven by the provincial budget, which has a net approval rating of -19. The data shows 26 per cent of people polled in Saskatchewan approve of the budget, while 45 per cent disapprove, and 18 per cent weren’t sure. Eleven per cent of those polled said they weren’t following the provincial budget.
Mainstreet’s research also showed how individual parts of the budget fared:
- 51 per cent of people are against the closure of STC
- 43 per cent are against the expansion of the provincial sales tax (PST)
- 49 per cent are against the funding cuts to libraries and universities
- 63 per cent oppose the end of the grants in lieu program
“These are a raft of unpopular spending cuts the government says is necessary to achieve balance, and while the budget itself is outperforming most of these measures in approval, individually these components are mostly being panned,” Valentin said. “The highest approval number for any of those measures is 21 per cent for the expansion of the PST.”
He added that 40 per cent of Saskatchewan people support cities suing the province over the lost revenue from the grants in lieu program. Thirty per cent of people were opposed while another 30 per cent were unsure.
Overall, according to Mainstreet, 23 per cent of Saskatchewan residents said budget cuts were necessary, while 29 per cent said they were not and another 30 per cent thought cuts could have been done in a better way.
“All of this adds up to a rough reaction to a tough provincial budget,” Valentin said.
The company surveyed a random sample of 1,704 people using both landlines and cellphones. The Mainstreet poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.37 per cent, 19 times out of 20.