The Pollcast: Fear and loathing in Newfoundland and Labrador

Five months ago, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball was one of the most popular provincial leaders in the country. Now he's the least. What happened? Host Éric Grenier is joined by the CBC's David Cochrane.

Host Éric Grenier is joined by the CBC's David Cochrane

Support for Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball has plunged since winning last November's provincial election. (The Canadian Press / Paul Daly)

The CBC Pollcast, hosted by CBC poll analyst Éric Grenier, explores the world of electoral politics, political polls and the trends they reveal.

From hero to zero — that might be the story of Dwight Ball, the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. How did one of the country's most popular provincial leaders become its most despised?

Last November, Ball's Liberals were swept into office in a landslide, winning 57 per cent of the vote and 31 of the 40 seats on offer. The Progressive Conservatives, in power since 2003, were booted back into the opposition benches.

Polling at the beginning of the year showed that Ball had maintained that level of popularity, with two-thirds of voters saying they would cast a ballot for his Liberal Party and 60 per cent saying they approved of his performance as premier.

That ranked him only behind Saskatchewan's Brad Wall as Canada's most popular premier.

But then the Liberals introduced a harsh budget in the spring, and their polling numbers plummeted. In May, the Angus Reid Institute found that just 17 per cent of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians approved of Dwight Ball. 

Last week, a survey from MQO Research pegged Liberal support at just 30 per cent. That put them in third place, behind the PCs and the New Democrats. The poll also showed 71 per cent of respondents thinking the general outlook of the province is getting worse.

Rarely has a plunge in the polls been so deep and so quick. 

To tell the story of how this happened, host Éric Grenier is joined by the CBC's David Cochrane on this week's episode of the Pollcast.

We talk to the CBC's David Cochrane about the declining popularity of Dwight Ball's Liberal government. 20:26

Listen to the full discussion above — or subscribe to the CBC Pollcast and listen to past episodes.

Follow Éric Grenier  and David Cochrane on Twitter.

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