Robert Ghiz’s Liberals remain the party of choice in Prince Edward Island and maintain a wide lead over the NDP and Progressive Conservatives, according to the latest Corporate Research Associates poll.
The Liberal party gained four points this quarter and now has the support of over half of decided voters in P.E.I.
Meanwhile satisfaction with the Ghiz government dropped seven points since November to 43 per cent, and dissatisfaction remained steady at 51 per cent.
CRA chairman and CEO Don Mills said the satisfaction numbers represent the government’s performance ratings, and the Ghiz Liberals have been both up and down in this area over the last year.
“It’s been bouncing a little bit, which is reflective of tough economic times, I think,” Mills said.
Normally when governments drop in satisfaction levels, opposition parties see gains, he added
This has not happened in P.E.I.
“When you have half the population not satisfied with government, it should mean that the Opposition is doing better, so the question is, why not?”
The NDP is in second place ahead of the Opposition Tories for the third consecutive quarter. But the party, which has no elected members, dropped four points this quarter to 22 per cent.
The Progressive Conservatives did not gain or lose support since the last poll, but still only have the support of 17 per cent of decided voters.
Interim PC Leader Steven Myers has the backing of one in 10 Islanders, down three points to nine per cent.
Mills pointed to the fractures in the PC party that last fall saw Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry cross the floor and former party leader Olive Crane kicked out of caucus.
And without a permanent leader, the party will likely continue to struggle for support, Mills said.
“That party has been divided for some time, so until they have their convention, pick their new leader and come together behind their new leader, it’s going to be tough.”
Premier Robert Ghiz held onto his position as most popular leader at 35 per cent, unchanged since last quarter.
NDP Leader Mike Redmond is second behind Ghiz in personal popularity at 19 per cent, but lost six points since November.
Mills said both Redmond and his party are yet untested and that P.E.I. voters may be starting to scrutinize them a little more closely.
“Clearly they’ve dropped back in terms of support, so people might have taken a look and decided that it’s not what they’re looking for.”
The Green party held steady at seven per cent and leader Peter Bevan-Baker gained one point and stands also at seven per cent in personal support.
One in 10 Islanders prefer none of the four leaders, while 18 per cent are undecided or did not offer an opinion on who their preferred premier would be an increase of seven percentage points.
The number of Islanders undecided about which party they would vote for rests at 27 percent, compared with 29 per cent last quarter.
These results are based on a sample of 300 adult Islanders, surveyed by telephone between Feb. 6 and Feb. 27.
Overall results are considered accurate to within plus or minus 5.6 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.
The margin of error for voters who said which political party they prefer is higher, as it is based on a sample size of 183 voters. Party results are considered accurate to within plus or minus 7.2 per cent.