Winnipeggers support action on root causes of poverty, homelessness: poll

Poverty and homelessness are two major issues Winnipeg’s next mayor will have to deal with. Recent polling shows Winnipeggers want the city to zero in on the root causes.

A Probe Research poll, commissioned by CTV News Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Free Press, found there is high support among Winnipeggers for the city to address these issues.

“I think for the first time in quite a while we have seen the kind of trifecta of crime, poverty and homelessness become this huge, just like a massive issue for Winnipeggers, really eclipsing almost every other issue in the civic election,” said Mary Agnes Welch, a principal with Probe Research.

In total, 81 per cent of respondents said they would support safe consumption sites – with only 18 per cent opposing the idea.

The results of a Probe Research poll commissioned by CTV News Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Free Press. Probe Research conducted a random survey of 600 adults living in Winnipeg between September 8 and 18, 2022. (Source: CTV News Winnipeg)

“Despite kind of the reticence of the provincial government to allow these to happen, Winnipeggers are fairly supportive of the idea of safe consumption sites,” Welch said. “I think that does make some sense to me – we’re seeing a lot of those high levels of overdose deaths.”

Support was highest among those living in the city’s core area.

The results of a Probe Research poll commissioned by CTV News Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Free Press. Probe Research conducted a random survey of 600 adults living in Winnipeg between September 8 and 18, 2022. (Source: CTV News Winnipeg)

Women, younger people between 18 and 34, and renters were more likely to support safe consumption sites, along with BIPOC and racialized communities.

NDP supporters were most in favour of the idea, while only 24 per cent of Tories were on-board.

The results of a Probe Research poll commissioned by CTV News Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Free Press. Probe Research conducted a random survey of 600 adults living in Winnipeg between September 8 and 18, 2022. (Source: CTV News Winnipeg)

The poll also found there is more than 90 per cent support for the city to hire more mental health workers and create more shelter spaces.

Welch said this is a sign Winnipeggers want to tackle some of the root causes of homelessness and poverty.

“The other thing that poll found, a bit surprisingly, is that Winnipeggers have at least some interest in creating kind of designated encampment areas,” Welch said.

In total, 78 per cent of respondents were in favour of this idea, while 21 per cent were opposed.

Similar to consumption sites, those in support of this were largely women, younger people, renters, those who identify as Indigenous, BIPOC or a member of a racialized community, and NDP supporters.

The results of a Probe Research poll commissioned by CTV News Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Free Press. Probe Research conducted a random survey of 600 adults living in Winnipeg between September 8 and 18, 2022. (Source: CTV News Winnipeg)

Welch said homelessness and poverty are among the main issues in the election and a focus for many of the mayoral candidates.

“The other interesting thing, [is] that what the mayoral candidates are kind of focusing on is not necessarily way more cops, way more enforcement, get tough crackdown on poverty and homelessness,” she said. “Pretty much all the mayoral candidates are looking at this through a root causes kind of a lens, which is in line with what Winnipeggers think and feel.”

These results come from a survey conducted by Probe Research of 600 adults living in Winnipeg between September 8 and 18. The results, with 95 per cent certainty, have a margin of error of +/- four percentage points. The margin of error is higher in the survey’s subgroups. 

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