Voter support for Newfoundland and Labrador's New Democrats has cratered in the wake of this fall's caucus implosion, a poll released Wednesday says.
Corporate Research Associates found that the Liberals with newly elected leader Dwight Ball were in first place, with 52 per cent of voter support.
But the poll also found that Liberal gains came largely at the expense of the NDP, which was rocked this fall when members of caucus questioned Lorraine Michael's leadership, followed by the departure of MHAs Dale Kirby and Christopher Mitchelmore, who now sit as Independents.
The governing Progressive Conservatives, which fell to third place during the course of the year, moved into second place with 29 per cent of the support of decided voters.
The NDP dropped from 33 per cent in the summer to 19 per cent this fall. NDP support is now less than half of its peak last winter.
CRA also found that the Liberals were on top, in terms of voter preference for leader. Ball, who won the Liberal leadership on Nov. 17, while the quarterly poll was underway, is the choice of 39 per cent of those who responded after his win.
Dunderdale popularity up slightly
Premier Kathy Dunderdale's personal popularity climbed from 22 per cent to 25 per cent, while Michael's own popularity dropped sharply from 35 per cent to 18 per cent.
"It was pretty devastating for the party, frankly. It's an amazing story to see a party implode the way that it has," Mills said.
Mills said he would have expected Michael to have retained some support as leader in the wake of the caucus revolt, but instead is being held personally accountable.
The poll found that voter satisfaction with the Tory government has increased, with four per cent completely satisfied and 38 per cent mostly satisfied with the PCs. That's up from three per cent and 28 per cent, respectively, three months ago.
"They may have turned a corner, after heading down for quite a considerable length of time," Mills said.
CRA's quarterly poll involved interviews with 1,200 adults, who were surveyed between Nov. 7 and Nov. 30.
The margin of error is 2.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.