A public opinion poll released Friday suggests that Newfoundland and Labrador's Liberals have lost even more ground leading into the last half of the Oct. 11 election campaign.
The Liberals have support of 13 per cent of decided voters, while the governing Tories have 54 per cent and the NDP are at 33 per cent, according to a poll released by MQO Research, which is affiliated with St. John's-based marketing company M5.
The poll, which involved 464 adults, was conducted between Wednesday — the night of the televised leaders' debate — and Friday morning, and involved people who were surveyed by phone and online. A survey with a probability sample of this size has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 per cent.
The poll poses serious questions for Kevin Aylward and the Liberals who have been struggling through the campaign with an accumulated debt and difficulty with recruiting candidates.
Of respondents who had watched the leaders' debate on Wednesday night, only six per cent said Aylward won it. By contrast, 36 per cent chose PC Leader Kathy Dunderdale and 22 per cent chose NDP Leader Lorraine Michael.
"The remainder of respondents said there was no clear winner of the debate," MQO said in a statement.
The poll found similar results among decided voters for preferences for premier. Dunderdale led the three leaders at 62 per cent, while Michael trailed at 27 per cent and Aylward had support of 11 per cent.
Aylward, who was campaigning Friday in eastern Newfoundland districts, immediately questioned the credibility of the poll as M5 has done work Crown-owned energy corporation Nalcor.
"You know, look. Polls are … we'll see what happens," Aylward told CBC News.
"If there's one from an independent firm, not employed by the provincial government, maybe. Maybe, I don't know. We have an election underway. The public will decide on Oct. 11."
Dunderdale, who had been campaigning early Friday in St. Anthony, welcomed the results and said they show there is a race for the opposition.
The poll found that 18 per cent of those surveyed were still undecided on how they would vote.