Brian Gallant's Liberals hold wide lead in new MQO poll

Premier Brian Gallant’s Liberals are continuing to hold a wide lead over their political rivals, but a new poll is showing underlying discontent in the province.

MQO Research poll shows Liberals lead in support but New Brunswickers concerned with jobs, economic outlook

Premier Brian Gallant's Liberals hold a wide lead over their political rivals, according to a new MQO Research poll. (CBC)

Premier Brian Gallant's Liberals are continuing to hold a wide lead over their political rivals, but a new poll is showing underlying discontent in the province.

The new MQO Research poll, which was released on Tuesday, shows the Liberals have the support of 51 per cent of decided or leaning voters, compared to 28 per cent for the Progressive Conservatives.

The NDP is a distant third place with 11 per cent, the Greens are at nine per cent and "other" parties are at two per cent.

The number of undecided voters, meanwhile, is 31 per cent.

Rod Budgell, the executive vice president of MQO Research, said the province's budget that hiked the HST and ran a deficit doesn't seem to have dented the Liberal government's support.

"In the big picture, deficit budgets don't mean a drop in support as long as the public has a sense of a plan from government," he said.

MQO Research conducted the random telephone sample of 601 New Brunswickers between April 8 and 16. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The sample size for decided and leaning voters removes the undecided voters, which increases the margin of error to 5.14 percentage points.

Voters concerned about economy

Any enthusiasm about the sizeable lead over the Progressive Conservatives and NDP in terms of overall support is dampened by the low levels of support for the Gallant government's performance.

Job creation in the province is a major concern for voters, according to a new quarterly political poll. (CBC)
MQO had voters rank the government's performance on a 10-point sliding scale, with one being poor and 10 being excellent.

The overall government performance was ranked between one and five by 60 per cent of respondents, and Gallant's leadership was put in the bottom category by 59 per cent.

MQO's Budgell said the numbers should give the Gallant government some pause.

"A cold reminder to say you still have public support, but you need to continue to work harder," Budgell said.

The poll also showed 73 per cent of respondents ranked the Gallant government in the one-to-five range on the issue of creating jobs, opposed to 20 per cent in the six-to-seven range and seven per cent in eight-to-10.

The government's ranking in managing the economy wasn't much better. The poll showed 72 per cent were in the bottom category, 20 per cent in the six to seven range and six per cent in the top range.

When asked about the province's general outlook over the last three months, 45 per cent said the province is "about the same," while 31 per cent said it is getting worse and 10 per cent said it is a lot worse. 

The province has been hit with months of poor economic news.

New Brunswick's jobless rate hit 10.2 per cent in March, it had the highest youth unemployment rate in Canada in February and it had the largest increase in employment insurance claims in January.

About the Author

Daniel McHardie

Digital senior producer

Daniel McHardie is the digital senior producer for CBC New Brunswick. He joined CBC.ca in 2008. He also co-hosts the CBC political podcast Spin Reduxit.

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