Tory budget approval rating low, poll suggests
A survey commissioned by the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees suggests a low approval rating of the PC budget released in late March.
The poll, conducted by Harris Decima, showed 71 per cent of the people surveyed strongly oppose the budget.
According to the poll, 84 per cent of people don't think the government did a proper study or consultation prior to the budget, and 81 per cent said all cuts should be reviewed.
The number of people opposed to the cuts was 78 per cent. Seventy per cent said they are not confident in government's economic forecasts, and 63 per cent said the budget was based on inaccurate forecasts.
Harris Decima surveyed 503 people in Newfoundland and Labrador over the phone from April 26 to May 5.
The poll has a margin of error of 4.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
NAPE hopes for review
NAPE president Carol Furlong said she is hoping the survey will indicate to Premier Kathy Dunderdale that a review of the budget is needed.
"The premier had publicly stated that if people came forward with compelling arguments — if we can provide solid reasons to take another look at some of the decisions they've made — she is prepared to do that," Furlong said.
"We ask what more compelling argument can there be than a scientific poll indicating that 80 per cent of the population are opposed to the budget."
According to Furlong, the poll cost the union around $20,000. She said it was money well spent.
"This is not a popularity contest — this was never, ever intended to be a popularity contest. It was not intended to be a political kind of survey, this is solely about the budget and the cuts that came about as a result of that — that's all this was ever intended to be," Furlong added.
NAPE is currently in contract talks with the provincial government.
Polls a matter of perception, Kennedy says
Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy said in the house of assembly on Wednesday that the results of public polls are open to interpretation.
"The accuracy of polls is something that's always in question, although there's always relevant information in polls," Kennedy said.
"Polls, I guess they're in the eyes of the beholder, Mr. Speaker, and you see that which you want to see."
Kennedy added that government sought opinion from the public prior to the budget.
"I'm not really sure how you consult on a budget other than to do what we did," he said. "We did pre-budget consultations throughout the province, Mr. Speaker. We listened to what the people of the province had to say."
Kennedy pointed out that 79 per cent of the people polled said they knew either little or nothing about the budget.