A political scientist at Memorial University believes Monday's defection of a Tory caucus member is what convinced Kathy Dunderdale that it was time to resign as premier.

Kelly Blidook said the polls have been hinting that a change in leadership was coming, but Paul Lane's departure to the Liberals was likely the last straw.

'I think Newfoundland and Labrador is actually a bit unique in terms of how big, larger than life certain premiers become'- MUN political scientist Kelly Blidook

"I think that just really, you know, that was it. It became clear to Dunderdale at that point that, you know, this was going to be it, it didn't make sense to drag it out. I think it was clear that the bottom had arrived for her," said Blidook.

He said Dunderdale wasn't able to capture the imagination of the public as past leaders like Danny Williams. 

"It wasn't that everything she did was unpopular ... sure there were some unpopular things, but some of it was just her inability to communicate and feel like she belonged in the post."

"I think Newfoundland and Labrador is actually a bit unique in terms of how big, larger than life certain premiers become, and Danny Williams was certainly one of those, Brian Tobin as well," he said. 

"There were various premiers that you can go back and see that they were significant. There's a way that people sort of attach to these people, but I think they also really understand how to engage — and how to make themselves attach."

Blidook said even without the defection, it was clear Dunderdale's resignation was coming within the next month or so.