Dwight Ball's Liberals are holding a strong first-place advantage over the governing Progressive Conservatives, just weeks before the Tories head into a leadership meeting, new poll data show. 

Corporate Research Associates found that 53 per cent of decided voters would back the Liberals if an election were held today — the same result as a poll three months earlier. However, support for the PCs dropped from 33 per cent to 29 per cent, a setback for the Tories as Frank Coleman prepares to take over the leadership and the premier's office. 

Political leader CRA spring 2014

(CBC)

The NDP picked up 16 per cent of the support of decided voters, up from 13 per cent. 

CRA was set to release the poll results on Wednesday afternoon, although a political supporter tweeted the results in advance. 

CRA surveyed 800 adults between May 12 and May 31. The overall poll has a margin of error of 3.5 per cent, although the question on party choices, because of a lower sample size, has a margin of error of 4.3 per cent.

The poll did give the Tories some comfort: satisfaction with the government continued to increase, with seven per cent saying they were extremely satisfied with the PCs' performance, and 57 per cent saying they were mostly satisfied. A year ago, those figures were four per cent and 28 per cent, respectively. 

As well, the CRA poll found that personal support for Tom Marshall — who took over as premier in January, when Kathy Dunderdale stepped down, and who will step down in July — had nudged up a point to 33 per cent. 

Ball, who formally took over as Liberal leader last November, remained the choice of 38 per cent of respondents as the best leader to be premier. NDP Leader Lorraine Michael, who received a solid vote of confidence at a convention in May, drew 11 per cent support, unchanged since a poll taken in February.