The New Democrats gaining strength in Newfoundland and Labrador's election campaign at the expense of the Liberals, a public opinion poll released Tuesday suggests.
MQO Research, an affiliate of St. John's marketing company M5, found that 53 per cent of decided voters support the governing Progressive Conservatives, while 29 per cent support the NDP. The Liberals trail at 18 per cent, said the poll.
The poll, conducted between last Friday and Sunday in the lead-up to Monday's official campaign launch, involved 413 adults, who were contacted over the phone or online. A survey with a probability sample of this size has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 per cent.
The MQO poll, which found that 20 per cent of the public is undecided, comes two weeks after the release of a Corporate Research Associates poll, which had the same margin of error and which was conducted over the last 16 days in August.
The CRA poll pegged support for the PCs at 54 per cent, with the NDP at 24 per cent and the Liberals at 22 per cent.
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael welcomed the results, but cautiously, while launching the party's platform in St. John's Tuesday.
"They're interesting," she said. "It's a sign to us that maybe people are saying they like what the NDP is saying … The message to me is, 'keep working.'"
The poll found that Tory Leader Kathy Dunderdale was the preferred choice for premier among the party leaders, with 64 per cent of voter support. Michael ranked second at 22 per cent, with Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward in third at 14 per cent.
The poll also shows a considerable lead for the governing Tories, who held 43 of the legislature's 48 seats heading into the campaign.
"The numbers are pretty stable, as far as the Tories are concerned," Dunderdale told reporters in Labrador West.
"It's pretty early days still. So it's a good way to start."
The poll found that 53 per cent of those surveyed ranked their satisfaction with the Tories at 7 or higher, on a scale of one to 10.
MQO also canvassed voters on which issues matter most to them. Health care was the top choice, with 26 per cent of the electorate choosing that topic. About 13 per cent chose Muskrat Falls or Lower Churchill, while 12 per cent picked the economy.
Other issues that trailed included the fishery, education, employment and the provincial debt.