Forum poll suggests PCs and NDP closing gap with Liberals in N.L. election

A poll from Toronto-based Forum Research suggests that the Progressive Conservatives and NDP are gaining ground on the Liberals.
The Forum poll results show the PC Party and the NDP gaining a little bit of ground ahead of the provincial election on Nov. 30 (Terry Roberts/CBC)

A poll from Toronto-based Forum Research suggests that the Progressive Conservatives and NDP are gaining ground on the Liberals ahead of the Newfoundland and Labrador election on Nov. 30, countering the results of another poll released earlier this week.

In a random sampling of 842 Newfoundland and Labrador voters, the Forum poll found that 52 per cent planned to vote Liberal, 29 per cent Progressive Conservative and 19 per cent NDP.

An earlier poll by Forum Research just after the writ dropped had the Liberals at 65 per cent, the PCs at 21 per cent and the NDP at 13 per cent .

While the poll was conducted with random sampling, a majority of those surveyed — 584 — were from St. John's and the rest of the Avalon Peninsula. 

The poll surveyed 118 people from Grand Falls-Windsor and central Newfoundland, 115 from Corner Brook and western Newfoundland, and 25 from Labrador. 

Some voters may be reconsidering 

In a news release, Lorne Bozinoff, the president of Forum Research speculated that the change in polling numbers was a result of voters reconsidering in light of widespread predictions of a Liberal sweep.

"Make no mistake, the Liberals still sport a huge lead, but probably not enough for a legislative sweep," said Bozinoff.

Voters torn between Ball and Davis 

The Forum poll was conducted on Nov. 24, a day after CBC News hosted a televised debate between Dwight Ball, Earle McCurdy and Paul Davis.

According to Forum Research president Dr. Lorne Bozinoff, some voters are reconsidering their vote in light of previous poll results predicting a Liberal sweep. (CBC)

The results suggest that voters are torn between the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives when it comes to which party has the best leader. 

Dwight Ball was the choice of 34 per cent of those polled, while 30 per cent saw Paul Davis as the best option to lead.

Just 10 per cent picked the NDP's Earle McCurdy. The remaining 26 per cent were undecided. 

Contrast to CRA poll

The Forum poll stands in contrast to a Corporate Research Associates (CRA) poll released earlier this week that showed the numbers trending in the opposite direction, with the Liberals gaining at the expense of the NDP and Progressive Conservatives.

Unlike the CRA poll, the Forum poll was conducted over the phone with an automated telephone result system.

The results, which are considered accurate within three percentage points, 19 times out of 20, come as party leaders continue to make last ditch efforts to target voters, with only four days left in the election campaign.

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Andrew Sampson is a journalist with CBC in Halifax.