Corporate Research Associates is seeking a public apology from Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward for comments he made after the Halifax-based firm released a poll showing Brian Gallant’s Liberals with a large lead in public opinion.

Alward told reporters on Tuesday they shouldn’t trust those results.

“CRA has been great over the years at playing games,” Alward had said. "You only have to go back to the last election when in the weekend leading up to the voting, they were saying it was too close to call or even that we were behind. In reality it was a 42 to 13 landslide.”

On Wednesday, CRA had its lawyers send a letter to Alward, requesting a retraction of his "defamatory statements," that "disparage" the company's reputation, said chairman and CEO Don Mills.

"Through hard work and diligence, CRA has built its reputation as a non-partisan public opinion polling company since its founding in 1978. Comments attributed to Mr. Alward impugn that reputation and imply bias in our work." Mills said in a statement. 

The latest CRA poll showed the Liberals were picked by 48 per cent of decided voters as their preferred party, followed by the Progressive Conservatives at 29 per cent, the NDP at 17 per cent, the Green Party at four per cent and the People's Alliance at two per cent.

CRA surveyed 800 people between Aug. 19 and 31 on the telephone. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error on the decided vote is four percentage points, based on a sample of 588.

New Brunswickers will be heading to the polls on Sept. 22.

On Sept. 21, 2010, a CRA poll commissioned by the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal showed support for the Tories rising to 46 per cent with the Liberals at 36 per cent and the NDP at 11 per cent. The poll had a 3.7 percentage point margin of error.

The final results had the Tories with 48.8 per cent of the vote followed by the Liberals with 34.4 per cent and the NDP with 10.4 per cent.

A CRA poll at the very start of the 2010 election campaign had Shawn Graham’s Liberals at 41 per cent, the Tories at 36 per cent and the NDP at 16 per cent.

The latest CRA poll reinforced the findings from the previous four surveys conducted by the company.

The Liberals have ranged from 43 per cent to 53 per cent, between August 2013 and 2014. The Progressive Conservatives have ranged between 23 per cent and 31 per cent. The NDP, meanwhile, has been between 17 and 24 per cent during the same period.

SOURCE: Corporate Research Associates