Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister speaks during the province's latest COVID-19 update at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg Monday, March 30, 2020. The Manitoba government says it will now test anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to see if they have the novel coronavirus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

A new poll suggests the opinion of how Premier Brian Pallister and the province have handled the COVID-19 pandemic has plummeted since the summer.

Probe Research surveyed 800 adults living in Manitoba to hear what they thought of Brian Pallister and the Progressive Conservative government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey ran between Oct. 31 and Nov. 3.

Probe Research said less than one-half of Manitobans surveyed approve of the province’s response work to protect the health of Manitobans and deal with the economic impact of the pandemic.

The survey also showed Manitobans’ approval of the province’s response has dropped significantly since June.

It said the group of people that feel the province is doing a good job of protecting public health plummeted from 77 per cent in June, to around 45 per cent now.

The majority of the people who approve of the province’s response to protect public health do not live in Winnipeg (56 per cent), voted for the Progressive Conservative government (71 per cent), and are over 55 years of age (53 per cent).

There are two faces that have become well-known in Manitoba since March – Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer for Shared Health, and Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer.

Both had very strong approval, with 83 per cent of those surveyed saying they approve of Siragusa, and 81 per cent saying they approve of Roussin.

But when it comes to Manitoba’s political leaders, confidence has wavered.

Only 41 per cent of those surveyed said they approve of Premier Brian Pallister, and 43 per cent said they approve of Manitoba’s Health Minister Cameron Friesen.

In terms of Manitoba’s response to the pandemic, 74 per cent of Manitobans surveyed said they feel the government has been more reactive than proactive in dealing with the pandemic.

More than half said the province’s COVID-19 public health guidelines are confusing.

Three-quarters of those surveyed said it is important for the province to keep Manitoba schools open, with more than 80 per cent saying all students in the province should have the option of remote learning.

Probe Research said the findings in the poll, for comparison purposes, have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.