It will be May 22. Gary Doer called it today. Going in the most recent poll by Probe Research had the NDP and Tories tied at 40% with the Liberals at 15%, with the NDP stronger in the city and the Conservatives holding a big lead in the rural areas. This would probably give the election to the NDP, which has traditionally had a more efficiently distributed vote. Using a regional version of my forecast model I find it gives the seat distribution as NDP - 29, Conservative -26 and the Liberals - 2, so this one starts out very close.
The NDP has never won a third term in Manitoba, but the 1988 experience when the Pawley government melted down is not a relevant precedent. In 1977, despite having the popular Ed Schreyer as Premier, the NDP lost to Sterling Lyon's PCs. That election was influenced by the North American recession of 1974-75, which had its roots in the 70s oil crisis. This time the economy is much stronger so if the NDP does not win it it likely to be because the usual accumulation of grievances collected by all governments has overwhelmed them. Not many provincial governments win a third term but it is TC's view that Gary Doer is a highly effective stump politician so a third NDP majority is a distinct possibility. It will be an interesting and a close race.