Nfld. & Labrador

Liberal Siobhan Coady holds massive lead in St. John's West: poll

An Abacus Data poll released Tuesday for the district of St. John's West shows Liberal Siobhan Coady with a massive 33-point lead.

NDP Leader Earle McCurdy, incumbent Tory Dan Crummell have steep hills to climb

An Abacus Data polls released Tuesday reveals that Liberal candidate Siobhán Coady (left) is the heavy favourite to win in St. John's West. Her opponents include PC incumbent Dan Crummell and NDP Leader Earle McCurdy (right). (CBC)

Dan Crummell is dismissing an Abacus Data poll that puts him in dead last among the three candidates in St. John's West.

"Absolutely not," Crummell replied when asked if he trusted the poll, which puts him at 19 per cent support among decided voters.

Crummell is the incumbent, and was a high-profile minister in the Progressive Conservative government under Premier Paul Davis.

But he appears to have been swept up in a widespread sentiment for change in the province as the PCs struggle to hold a grip in power that began in 2003.

500 people surveyed

The poll was released Tuesday and shows Liberal Siobhan Coady with a massive 33-point lead over NDP Leader Earle McCurdy, and an even larger gap over Crummell.

The poll, commissioned by VOCM News, surveyed 500 eligible voters in the district, with 57 per cent of decided voters saying they would vote for Coady.

McCurdy received the support of 24 per cent, while Crummell, the former minister of environment and conservation, came in third.

The number of undecided voters was 26 per cent.

Crummell said he was surprised by the poll results.

"The poll absolutely does not reflect what I'm hearing in my day-to-day canvassing, and it does not reflect the polling that my volunteers are doing. Everything on the ground indicates I'm very much in this race," Crummell told CBC News Tuesday afternoon.

Crummell said there's still plenty of campaigning left to do, and a lot of things can happen between now and Nov. 30.

McCurdy defends decision to pursue a seat in St. John's West

McCurdy, meanwhile, was elected in March as the NDP Leader, and has never held a seat in the House of Assembly.

He has defended his decision to run in the district, a seat historically held by the Liberals and the PCs, saying other NDP candidates are expected to face tough opponents, and he is no different.

"I went in with my eyes open, I knew that was a tough district for us. I think the federal election proved that there really is no such thing as a safe riding anyway," he said Tuesday morning.

McCurdy announced in June he would contest for the seat, saying at the time that internal polling results were encouraging.

So what's changed?

"The federal election didn't help, obviously, to be candid about it, that gave the Liberals a bounce," said McCurdy.

"But voters still have another couple of weeks to get their heads around the fact that Justin Trudeau is not on the ballot in any of the 40 seats."

Polls have given edge to Dwight Ball, Liberals

The results are in line with recent province-wide polls that put the Liberals well ahead, with Dwight Ball heavily favoured to form a strong majority government and become the province's 13th premier on Nov. 30.

The PCs held 28 seats at the time the legislature was dissolved last week and have held power in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2003.

But the Liberals have won a series of byelections in recent years and went into the election with 16 MHAs.

The party has also received a bump from the recent federal election that saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals form a majority government.

The NDP had just three seats heading into the campaign.

Despite the poll numbers, McCurdy emphasized that campaigns can make a difference.

With less than two weeks left before election day, McCurdy vowed to keep fighting hard to win St. John's West.

The poll was conducted from Nov. 8-12. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

With files from Mark Quinn

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