A number of political experts say Nova Scotia's election campaign has the potential to get rough following a rancorous spring legislative session and with an incumbent government fighting for its political life.

Quick Facts:

  • Major parties: Liberals, New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives
  • Leaders: Premier Darrell Dexter (NDP), Stephen McNeil (Liberal), Jamie Baillie (Progressive Conservative)
  • Ridings: 51.
  • Standings at dissolution: NDP 31, Liberal 12, Progressive Conservative 7. Two vacant.
  • Main campaign issues: The economy, leadership, energy, health, education.
  • Most recent general election: June 9, 2009.
  • Number of eligible voters in 2009: 714,675.

Lori Turnbull, a political scientist at Dalhousie University, said without a huge ideological difference between the three parties the campaign will get pretty negative.

Turnbull expects that negativity to spill over at the leadership level as opposed to individual ridings where local issues tend to be the main focus.

Jeff MacLeod of Mount Saint Vincent University agrees and said tensions will be heightened because the jobs of Premier Darrell Dexter and Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil are riding on the outcome on Oct. 8

But Doug Brown of St. Francis Xavier University said although he believes the campaign will he hard fought, it won't be unduly dirty.

He said issues such as power rates, economic development and financial management will likely end up being more important.