The federal Liberals have moved to the head of the pack in voter support in Atlantic Canada, according to the latest Corporate Research Associates poll.
The poll, released this morning, shows support for the federal Liberal party has increased its standings in all four Atlantic provinces, jumping to 36 per cent regionally, up from 23 per cent in November 2011. This places them ahead of the other three main political parties in the region – the first time the party has done so since August of 2010.
Prince Edward Island saw the biggest surge in support for the Liberals in Ottawa. When asked what party they would vote for if an election were held today, 52 per cent of Islanders said they would vote Liberal. That’s an increase of 24 percentage points since November 2011.
The governing Conservatives were on the back end of this swing in support. Stephen Harper’s Tories lost major ground in P.E.I., dropping 27 points from 50 per cent to 23 per cent.
This was echoed regionally, if perhaps less drastically, with support for the Conservative party down nine points to 30 per cent.
Noteworthy also is a rise in the number of those polled who responded they are undecided, would not answer or do not plan to vote.
Regionally, this number has risen from 41 to 44 per cent. In P.E.I., this number stands at 49 per cent, up from 45 per cent one year ago.
Despite the drop in support for his party, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is still the most popular party leader at 28 per cent among Atlantic Canadians, down from 30 per cent last year.
This is not the case in P.E.I., however, where he is the preferred choice for prime minister by only 20 per cent of Islanders. This places him behind Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae/ the next Liberal leader, who gained 10 points in P.E.I. and now stands at 31 per cent.
Regionally, Rae also gained ground, jumping from 13 per cent in 2011 to 24 per cent in 2012, giving him the backing of one-quarter of Atlantic Canadians.
Support for NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair remained steady at 22 per cent, but this is in spite of a drop in support for the party in the region.
The NDP dropped six percentage points to 30 per cent in Atlantic Canada. In P.E.I., however, the NDP’s numbers remained fairly steady, with a rise of one point from 21 to 22 per cent.
The federal Green party has also made gains over the last year. Regionally the Greens are at four per cent, up from two. And in P.E.I. the party jumped from one per cent support to four per cent.
Leader Elizabeth May, the lone Green party member in the House of Commons, gained three points in leadership support in Atlantic Canada and two points in P.E.I.
The majority of those polled both regionally and provincially said they are dissatisfied with the Harper government.
The poll surveyed 1,500 Atlantic Canadians over the age of 18 years, between Nov. 7 and Dec. 1, 2012. Results are considered accurate within plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 95 times out of 100.
More to come online with a full report, including a breakdown in the numbers, in the print-edition of The Guardian tomorrow.