Liberal Leader Brian Gallant witnessed a growth in popularity for both his party and his leadership in the last three months, according to the latest Corporate Research Associates poll.
The Liberals opened up a lead in party support with 41 per cent of respondents saying they would vote for Gallant’s party.
The Progressive Conservatives and New Democratic Party were stuck in a statistical tie for second place, according to the CRA poll.
The Tories were supported by 29 per cent of respondents compared to 27 per cent who supported the NDP.
The Liberals gained six percentage points between February and May, while the Tories lost three percentage points and the NDP inched up by one percentage point.
Meanwhile, the Green Party was selected by three per cent of respondents as the best party to lead the province. The People’s Alliance of New Brunswick had one per cent support, in the latest survey.
The level of undecided voters was 45 per cent.
Don Mills, the chief executive officer of Corporate Research Associates, said the Tories need to be watching their standing in the latest poll very closely.
"I think they need to be concerned about it right now. There are only 15 months before the next election in New Brunswick. There is certainly enough time to turn it around," Mills said.
The next provincial election will be in September 2014.
The CRA poll also painted a dismal picture for Alward’s Progressive Conservative government. Support for the provincial government’s performance is continuing to decline.
The poll found 51 per cent of respondents were completely or mostly dissatisfied with the Alward government’s performance compared to 38 per cent who are completely or mostly satisfied.
A year ago, 45 per cent of respondents were completely or mostly satisfied with the Alward government's performance and 45 per cent said they were completely or mostly dissatisfied.
Mills said he has never seen a government re-elected with less than 50 per cent support.
CRA interviewed 800 New Brunswickers between May 14 and 30 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. (The margin of error for the party support numbers is 4.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, based on 442 decided voters.)
Gallant also received a jolt in personal popularity in the last three months.
The poll showed 31 per cent of respondents picked him as their preferred premier followed by 20 per cent who picked Tory Leader David Alward and 17 per cent who selected NDP Leader Dominic Cardy.
The survey was conducted a month after Gallant won the Kent byelection.
Mills said the NDP's continued strength "complicates the political scene."
He said the NDP may not win the next election, but their share of the vote could create a minority government situation, similar to what happened in Nova Scotia.
"I think is a little disenchantment of both the Liberals and Conservatives by some portion of the population," Mills said.
"I think, as happened in Nova Scotia, where it took awhile for the NDP to develop some core support, they won a majority government because I think people essentially gave up on the other two parties."