Nfld. & Labrador

CRA poll: Liberals poised to sweep N.L. election

A public opinion poll released Tuesday shows the Newfoundland and Labrador political landscape will be dramatically different after the Nov. 30 provincial election, with two-thirds of decided voters saying they support the Liberals.

Dwight Balls says external polls will not influence Liberal campaign

Paul Davis (left), Dwight Ball and Earle McCurdy (right) are battling to be Newfoundland and Labrador's next leader. (CBC)

A public opinion poll released Tuesday shows the Newfoundland and Labrador political landscape will be dramatically different after the Nov. 30 provincial election, with two-thirds of decided voters saying they support the Liberals.

The poll was conducted by Corporate Research Associates, and puts the Liberals well ahead at 67 per cent, a significant improvement from the party's 48 per cent approval rating in August.

The governing Tories, looking for a fourth straight election win, have slipped back to 22 per cent, while the New Democratic Party has practically collapsed, falling to just 10 per cent.

The number of undecided voters was reported to be 23 per cent.

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball seemed to shrug off the poll on Tuesday while campaigning on the west coast.

"You know, as I have said so many times when it comes to external polling, it has no influence," Ball told reporters.

But PC Leader Paul Davis was again on the offensive, accusing the Liberals of "riding out the polls" and misleading voters with a "fantasy" election platform that will likely result in job cuts and and tax hikes.

"If you can't trust them now, how are they going to be when they take over government?" Davis asked during a scrum with reporters in St. John's.

Preference for McCurdy drops

Davis added the opinion polls have been wrong in recent elections elsewhere in Canada, and he feels the PCs have gained momentum from recent televised leaders' debates.

"People are starting to zero in on what the Liberals are going to do," Davis said.

The results were gathered during a telephone survey of 800 Newfoundland and Labrador residents between Nov. 5-22, with overall results accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 95 times out of 100.

In terms of personal popularity, Liberal Leader Dwight Ball climbed to 50 per cent while Premier Paul Davis saw his support drop to 25 per cent. 

Preference for NDP Leader Earle McCurdy fell sharply to 11 per cent, a drop of six points in recent months.

As for the satisfaction rate with government, that figure increased slightly to 50 per cent, indicating that voters are more interested in change than in punishing the Tories for their performance.

It's the latest in a series of polls that show the Liberals on track to reshape the provincial legislature and evict the Tories from the halls of power after 12 years at the helm. 

The results were released a day after the three party leaders faced off in their final debate with voters scheduled to head to the polls in all 40 districts next Monday.

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