Dwight Ball and the Liberals have an extraordinary lead over the governing Tories at the start of the Newfoundland and Labrador election campaign, according to a poll released Friday.
About 66 per cent of voters would choose a Liberal candidate if an election were held now.
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That's more than three times the 19 per cent scored by the Progressive Conservatives, who face an uphill battle to win a fourth straight mandate.
PC Leader Paul Davis asked Lt.-Gov. Frank Fagan Thursday to dissolve the House of Assembly, setting in motion the election that has long been set for Nov. 30.
The poll, which was conducted between last Friday and this Wednesday, also found the NDP are in the third place with 15 cent per cent of voter support.
The poll involved 800 adults who were interviewed by telephone. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
The PCs have been trailing the Liberals in opinion polls since August 2013, and have not been able to gain much traction with voters since Davis took command of the party 14 months ago.
Abacus found that Tory candidates will have their work cut out for them to earn votes. Only 32 per cent of respondents said they would even consider voting PC, compared to 37 per cent for the NDP.
The poll suggests that the provincial Liberals are picking up support in the afterglow of the Oct. 19 federal election, which saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sweep Atlantic Canada while forming a majority government.
During the last Abacus poll in June, the provincial Liberals had 53 per cent of voter support, meaning a gain of 13 points in just three months.
"The provincial Liberal support is virtually identical to the support received by the federal Liberal party (65 per cent) in the [federal] election," Abacus said in a statement.
Abacus said a striking finding among respondents was the desire for change.
Overall, 85 per cent of those asked said they wanted some sort of change, with 60 per cent agreeing with the statement "it's definitely time for a change in government in Newfoundland and Labrador."
Abacus found the top issue identified by respondents without prompting involved the economy and jobs, the choice of 34 per cent. About 18 per cent picked health care.
The third pick, oil prices, was the choice of four per cent, with nearly the same picking either Muskrat Falls, Churchill Falls or hydroelectric prices.
A prior version of this article said the PCs have been trailing the Liberals in polls since mid-2014. In fact, the switch happened in mid-2013.Nov 06, 2015 6:35 PM NT