Liberals see poll as proof Dunderdale is failing

The interim leader of the Liberal party says the latest poll that puts the Grits well above the Tories is proof that Kathy Dunderdale is in deep trouble.

Dunderdale says party is listening, touts strong economy

Interim leader Eddie Joyce says Dunderdale is in trouble, reports Glenn Deir 1:55

The interim leader of the Liberal party says the latest poll that puts the Grits well above the Tories is proof that Kathy Dunderdale is in deep trouble.

"Her future is bleak," said Eddie Joyce, who will be at the helm of the Liberals until members pick a permanent leader in November.

Halifax-based Corporate Research Associates released a quarterly tracking poll Thursday that put the Liberals at 41 per cent support among decided voters, almost double the party's standing a year ago.

Support for the Liberals has been made at the expense of the NDP, which recorded support of 33 per cent. The governing Progressive Conservatives are pulling up the rear, with 26 per cent.

The poll comes in the wake of a national surge in support for the Liberals and federal Leader Justin Trudeau, but also amid a provincial leadership campaign.

Joyce said the Liberals, who were turfed from power in 2003, have been diligent about winning back voter confidence.

"This is a lot of hard work," he said.

"This [reflects] a lot of stands we took over the last 18 months, and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are seeing us as a viable option to this government…Leaders [are] a big part of it, but the party we have shown as a caucus that we are a viable option," said Joyce.  

NDP Lorraine Michael said she took comfort in the poll, which showed that she remains the most popular choice as leader among the parties.

"The fact that people are still choosing me as the leader they prefer is also good for the party and it's good for the caucus," she said.

Michael agreed with Joyce that the CRA poll is troubling for Dunderdale, who took on the reins of the Tories when Danny Williams retired from politics in 2010.

"You know, I'd be very worried if I were she," Michael said.

We're listening, Dunderdale says

Dunderdale, who was not doing interviews on Thursday about the poll results, said in a statement that the economy in Newfoundland and Labrador is strong, but indicated the Tories want to improve their performance.

"There is a message in this for all of us.  We are listening to our people.  Our government spent the summer months on the ground in communities hearing directly from residents," Dunderdale's statement said.

"That was an important process and we will continue to focus on what Newfoundlanders and Labradorians identify as priority areas."

The CRA poll was conducted between Aug. 8 and Aug. 31, and involved 400 adults. The margin of error is 4.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.