The governing Tories are holding a strong lead heading into October's election, while the NDP is challenging the Liberals for second place, a new poll shows.
"I'm pleased," Premier Kathy Dunderdale told reporters in St. John's, reacting to the latest quarterly poll by Halifax-based Corporate Research Associates, which found the Tories had 54 per cent of support among decided voters. That's down a few points from 57 per cent recorded in a May survey.
The poll found support for the NDP has increased from 20 per cent to 24 per cent since the last poll, while support for the Liberals is unchanged at 22 per cent. Twenty-six per cent of people surveyed said they were undecided.
"It's a snapshot in time, but it shows that the numbers have stabilized and that's very good news for me personally and the party as a whole," Dunderdale said.
The results show Dunderdale's Conservatives are down from the record highs of the Danny Williams era — CRA pegged the government at 82 per cent of voter support in the immediate wake of the 2007 landslide — but nonetheless have a 30-point lead over the nearest competiion.
The fact that the NDP, not the Liberals, are in second place appears to set the stage for a competition for the Opposition.
The Liberals currently hold four of the 48 seats in the legislature, while the NDP have only one.
"We are moving upwards as a party," said NDP Leader Lorraine Michael, who sees the poll as a welcome harbinger of the Oct. 11 election.
"We seem to be the party with momentum, and I'm pleased about that."
The poll was conducted between Aug. 15 — the day after Kevin Aylward was appointed leader of the Liberal party — and Aug. 31, the last day of a string of high-profile spending announcements that the governing Tories have made this summer.
Aylward took the poll results in stride, saying that the Liberals intend to fight for every seat in the province.
"This means to me that there is work to do, but I can say this with the candidates that we have now nominated and coming forward, we are in major play in a major number of seats," Alward said.
Meanwhile, the poll also found that 76 per cent of respondents are either completely or mostly satisfied with the PC government's performance. The result is up five points from the last poll in May.
The CRA tracking poll is based on a sample of 400 adult Newfoundland and Labrador residents with overall results for the province accurate to within 4.9 percentage points in 95 out of 100 samples.