Saturday, June 5, 2010

A CRA-load of polls - two interesting races

Corporate Research Associates, a polling firm in Atlantic Canada, has released a slew of provincial polls for all four Atlantic provinces. Unsurprisingly, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador are dominated by their respective governing parties. But there are some interesting races starting in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

But first, Prince Edward Island, the fiefdom of Robert Ghiz and his Liberal Party.Compared to CRA's last set of polls in February, the Liberals have lost three points but are still way ahead with 61% support. The leaderless Progressive Conservatives are at 27%, up one. The Island New Democrats have gained two points to 8% and the Greens are down one to 3%.

A majority, or 64%, of Prince Edward Islanders are satisfied with the governing of the island, though that is down three from February. Ghiz is the best man to be premier for 47% (down one), compared to 16% for the next leader of the PC Party (down one).

Not much of a race here. The same goes for Newfoundland & Labrador, the domain of Danny Williams and his Progressive Conservatives.Here, the Progressive Conservatives are down five points but still lead with a staggering 75%. The Liberals have gained one but are, oh, still 59 points behind the PCs. The NDP is up three to 8%.

Fully 87% of Newfoundlanders are satisfied with the government. Incredibly, that is down six points! And this isn't a case, as in PEI, where the leader is less popular than the ruling party. Williams is the best man for his job for 79% of Newfoundlanders (down two), while Yvonne Jones of the Liberals is at 11% (up three).

But while the island kingdoms are tranquil, there is more trouble on the mainland. First, New Brunswick, where Liberal leader Shawn Graham is struggling.But he's actually doing better than in February. Perhaps his back-pedaling on the NB Power deal has helped. His party has gained one point and stands at 37%, still five points behind the Progressive Conservatives, who are steady at 42%. The NDP is down two to 16% and the Greens are up one to 5%.

The best news for Graham is that satisfaction is up seven points to 41%. His personal popularity is also up: three points to 28%. More importantly, that pushes him past PC leader David Alward, who is steady at 27%. Roger Duguay of the NDP is at 10%, down one.

Will Graham be able to right the ship before the next election, likely in September of this year? I'm going to have to get cracking on a projection system for the province...

But the most interesting development in this set of CRA polls is from Nova Scotia. There, Darrell Dexter's NDP government has plunged in popular support.The party is down fully nine points to 37%, while the Liberals have gained that much and are now only two points behind the NDP, with 35%. The odd-party out is the Progressive Conservative Party, which is up two points but lagging behind with only 24%. The Greens are down one to 4%.

Satisfaction with the government is down six to 43%, while Dexter's popularity has plummeted by 11 points to 24%. Stephen McNeil of the Liberals is up three to 29%.

The good news for the NDP is that the next election is three or four years away, but could the Liberals return to power in Nova Scotia, which they haven't held since 1999?