Dunderdale says caucus support solid despite poll results

Premier Kathy Dunderdale isn't fazed by the latest dismal poll numbers, which placed her and the Tories in third place among the political parties.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale is taking the latest poor poll numbers for the Tories in stride. 12:27

Premier Kathy Dunderdale isn't fazed by the latest dismal poll numbers, which placed her and the Tories in third place among Newfoundland and Labrador's political parties.

"I have unequivocal caucus support," Dunderdale told reporters Monday night in Arnold's Cove, where she was attending a function.

"We're very tight as a party, we spend a lot of time together, talking together, and I'm very comfortable where I am."

Corporate Research Associates released a poll Monday that showed support for the Tories is at a mere 27 per cent among decided voters.

Dunderdale also placed last among the three provincial party leaders with 21 per cent. But she said regardless of the drop, party support for her leadership remains strong.

Dunderdale said while the public service can be a wonderful job, cuts are always difficult — and Monday's poll results reflected that. But she said she's confident about her time as premier.

"I understand when people get upset because we take difficult decisions that impact on their family and friends and community. That's always difficult," she said.

"But you know, I'll be judged on my four years, and people will make a choice in the poll that really counts about whether or not they give me another kick at it. And I'm very comfortable with being judged on those four years rather than six months."

Parties react

Meanwhile, the biggest surprise in the latest opinion poll may not be the continued Tory free-fall, but that the Liberals and the NDP are running a close race.

The NDP's support sits at 37 per cent, while the Liberals are at 36 per cent. And in terms of leadership, the poll showed provincial NDP Leader Lorraine Michael in first place with 36 per cent, and interim Liberal Leader Dwight Ball with 24 per cent.

Ball said he believes it was the last budget that spelled the downfall for Tory support. He said the latest poll signals a change in the political setting in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"It is a three-party race, which is a new dynamic for most people in this province, in the history of the province," he said.

"Traditionally, it's been really two parties, but it is a legitimate three-party race right now."

The NDP jumped to the head of the political pack for the first time in the last CRA poll, which was released in March.

Michael said she vows to stay the course.

"To me, this is just keep moving, be strong, keep our eye on where we're headed, and no change in the game plan for me," she said.