Liberal Leader Brian Gallant has increased his lead in the latest Corporate Research Associates poll, only a few months before the Sept. 22 provincial election.
Gallant’s Liberals were picked by 53 per cent of decided voters as the party they would cast a ballot for if the election were held today, followed by the Progressive Conservatives at 28 per cent, the NDP at 16 per cent and the Greens at three per cent.
The People’s Alliance remained with zero per cent support and the number of undecided voters was 33 per cent, according to the CRA poll.
The Liberals gained 10 percentage points in the May political poll compared to the company's February poll.
The Tories, meanwhile, declined by three percentage points and the NDP dipped by five percentage points.
Corporate Research Associates surveyed 800 New Brunswickers between May 12 and 31. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error on the sample of 439 decided voters is plus or minus 4.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
There were other problem areas in the poll for Premier David Alward’s Progressive Conservatives.
Only 35 per cent of respondents were completely or mostly satisfied with the government’s performance compared to 54 per cent who were completely or mostly dissatisfied.
Margaret Chapman, the president of CRA, said the Alward government’s satisfaction levels should be particularly troublesome for the Tories as the election draws closer.
“We are nearing historic lows,” she said.
“That is really as low as we have ever seen it and that tell us that people are ready for a change. It is a difficult time for anybody to be in government with the current economic conditions.”
Chapman said the satisfaction level for Shawn Graham’s Liberal government in February 2010 were marginally lower than that of the Alward government.
She said her company has not seen a government elected in Atlantic Canada with a satisfaction level below 50 per cent.
Chapman said there is still plenty of time for the numbers to change before New Brunswickers head to the polls on Sept. 22. But if a change is going to happen, Alward is going to need to reverse a trend that has been building over several months.
“One trend is very evident is that satisfaction has been dropping for three years and dissatisfaction with the government has been rising over the same period,” Chapman said.
Another concern for the Tory leader is his personal popularity. Alward was picked by 20 per cent of respondents as the person they most wanted to be premier.
Gallant was selected by 35 per cent of respondents. NDP Leader Dominic Cardy was in third with 11 per cent, followed by Green Party Leader David Coon at six per cent and People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin at one per cent.