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Brad Wall's popularity takes hit after belt-tightening budget: poll
Published Monday, April 3, 2017 6:47PM CST
He's one of Canada's most popular premiers, but a new poll shows the latest provincial budget has taken a bite out of Brad Wall's public appeal.
The Mainstreet-Postmedia survey found Wall's approval rating dropped from 52 per cent in October to 46 per cent in March.
The poll also shows only 26 per cent of respondents approve of the 2017-18 Saskatchewan budget, while 45 per cent don't agree with it.
When asked which party they would vote for if an election were held immediately, about 39 per cent of respondents said they would support the Saskatchewan Party, while 33 per cent would choose the NDP. About 20 per cent of those surveyed were undecided.
Jim Farney, a political science professor at the University of Regina, says he thinks the Sask. Party still has time to rebuild from this budget. But overall, he says, it’s still a popular party.
"I think they really need a change in tone and policy, so to say, ‘Listen, we're back in fiscally austere times, we've made some hard decisions, but we'll be honest and open with that,’" Farney said.
The government says it’s not surprised by the results, as the latest provincial budget impacts every person in Saskatchewan.
Finance Minister Kevin Doherty has defended the tough decisions in the budget.
"I think what people have to keep in mind is three years from now, our plan is to get back to balanced,” Doherty said.
“We're not kicking the can down the street on this. We're not going to run deficits in perpetuity that are just deferred taxes for our children and our grandchildren. We're going to make some difficult decisions now."
The NDP Opposition believes the result of the last election may have been different had people known about the belt-tightening budget before casting their ballots.
"Clearly, people are starting to understand that this is a government that can't manage,” said NDP finance critic Cathy Sproule.
“We're now suffering the results of this management, waste and scandal.”
The poll, which surveyed more than 1,700 people by phone from March 30 to March 31, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.37 per cent, 19 times out of 20.