Brian Gallant's Liberals losing ground in recent poll
Despite drop, the Liberal party is still the top choice among those sampled
Voters appear to be souring on the new Liberal government of Premier Brian Gallant, a new poll suggests.
The latest quarterly survey of voters by Corporate Research Associates found 38 per cent of decided voters would cast ballots for the Liberals, a steep drop from 54 per cent three months earlier.
The party is still the top choice among those sampled, but by a much narrower margin.
"Hard decisions are also not always popular," Liberal party president Britt Dysart says in a written statement.
The poll was conducted in the wake of the government's first budget, which led to weeks of news coverage of changes to how seniors pay for nursing homes and to subsidies for daycares.
During that time, district education councils also voted to close several rural schools.
"We know that we face serious challenges in New Brunswick, they need serious action and those actions aren't easy," Dysart says in his statement.
Most of the lost Liberal support has moved to the New Brunswick NDP, which jumped from nine per cent to 23 per cent.
Both shifts are well beyond the poll's margin of error, which is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
The Progressive Conservatives, who lost power in last year's election and are the Official Opposition in the legislature, haven't budged in a significant way: they are at 28 per cent in the new poll, up from 27 per cent last time.
NDP leader Dominic Cardy says the poll is just a snapshot, but it suggests New Brunswickers realizes Liberal election promises to cut the deficit without touching programs were hollow. "People are seeing it's not working," he says.
Cardy also says the NDP election win in Alberta and growing support for the federal New Democrats may be rubbing off. "We're part of the same party."
PC party president Jason Stephen also says the federal trend for the NDP is rubbing off provincially.
"All we can do is try to reach out to as many New Brunswickers as we can," he says, pointing out the party will hold a leadership race next year. "We expect that will raise the profile of the party again."
The NDP has no seats in the Legislature. The Liberals have 26, the PCs have 21, and the Greens have one. There's one vacant riding with a by-election that must be called within about six months.
Gallant remains the top choice for premier, with 29 per cent of decided respondents picking him, but that's down from 43 per cent in the last CRA poll.
NDP leader Dominic Cardy was at 19 per cent, the interim PC leader Bruce Fitch was at 18, Green leader David Coon was at 11 and People's Alliance leader Kris Austin was at three.
CRA conducted the poll between May 12 and June 1. The firm sampled 802 New Brunswickers; of those, 495 answered the question on who they would vote for.