Article by: ADAM HURAS
A new poll suggests the Gallant Liberals have a “comfortable lead” over the Progressive Conservatives, despite the party registering its lowest voter support in more than two years.
A new poll suggests the Gallant Liberals have a “comfortable lead” over the Progressive Conservatives, despite the party registering its lowest voter support in more than two years.The quarterly survey from Halifax-based Corporate Research Associates finds that roughly four in 10 decided voters in New Brunswick support the Liberals, 43 per cent.But that’s down from 47 per cent three months ago and from 51 per cent last year.
It represents the lowest level of support for the Liberals since August 2015, when support was registered at 36 per cent. Despite that, the polling firm adds that the Brian Gallant-led Liberal party “continues to hold a comfortable lead over other provincial parties in terms of voter support.” Meanwhile, support among decided voters for the Blaine Higgs-led Progressive Conservatives stands at 30 per cent. It was 28 per cent three months ago and largely hasn’t moved in more than a year.
“At 43 per cent they’re going to get a majority,” said Don Mills, chairman and CEO of Corporate Research Associates of the Gallant Liberals. “But it does look like the high levels of support the Liberals were getting a year ago has diminished.“If the Liberals were to bleed a little bit more, it would make it an interesting election.”
The Gallant Liberals won the popular vote in the 2014 election by eight per cent.That translated into 27 seats, compared to 21 for the Tories.The new poll suggests a 13-point lead with just over six months to go before New Brunswickers are sent to the polls on Sept. 24. Mills said the difficulty is that the Tories haven’t seen their numbers move, despite the Liberals losing support.
The new poll suggests the New Democrats have 13 per cent voter support, the Greens 11 per cent and the People’s Alliance three per cent in the poll released on Thursday.Polling numbers suggest that Green support has doubled over the last year, while the NDP and People’s Alliance sit stagnant.The number of residents who said they are undecided sits at 33 per cent, compared to 34 per cent last quarter.
The poll also suggests that satisfaction levels with the government are relatively unchanged over the past three months with 52 per cent of New Brunswickers polled stating they’re satisfied with the performance of the provincial government. That number was 49 per cent three months ago.The results are part of the independent polling firm’s quarterly telephone survey of Atlantic Canadians, and are based on a sample of 800 New Brunswickers, conducted from Feb. 1 to March 3. Results accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.
The new Corporate Research Associates poll comes in contrast to other recent polls that have size up the looming election race differently.A quarterly telephone poll of 600 New Brunswickers conducted by MQO Research from Jan. 18 to 25, had Liberal support at 46 per cent and the Progressive Conservatives at 37 per cent, with a margin of error of four percentage points 95 out of 100 times.
A Mainstreet Research poll released Jan. 23 suggested the Gallant Liberals and the opposition Progressive Conservatives are in a dead heat. That poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.52 per cent, 95 out of 100 times. Mainstreet surveyed 776 New Brunswickers age 18 and over by phone on Jan. 3 and 4.
The Angus Reid Institute in December suggested Gallant’s approval rating stood at 24 per cent, ranking second-last in a ranking of premier’s across the country. A total of 287 New Brunswickers completed an online panel survey to reach that result.