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CRA poll shows P.E.I. Liberals remain the preferred party, but only by nine points

Premier Wade MacLauchlan is shown in the provincial legislature Wednesday. The latest Corporate Research Associates poll shows the P.E.I. Liberal party has dropped to its lowest level of support in 13 years. MacLauchlan’s personal popularity stayed almost the same as last quarter with 27 per cent of Islanders listing him as their preference for premier.
Premier Wade MacLauchlan is shown in the provincial legislature Wednesday. The latest Corporate Research Associates poll shows the P.E.I. Liberal party has dropped to its lowest level of support in 13 years. MacLauchlan’s personal popularity stayed almost the same as last quarter with 27 per cent of Islanders listing him as their preference for premier. - Mitch MacDonald

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The P.E.I. Liberal party may be the preferred party among Islanders, but it has dropped to its lowest level of support in 13 years, according to the latest Corporate Research Associates poll.

The results show 37 per cent of decided voters would choose the Liberals in an election, down from 45 per cent in August.

This is the lowest polling level for the party since February 2004, according to CRA.

The governing party is just nine points ahead of the Opposition Progressive Conservatives, which is at 28 per cent of decided voters.

But it is the Green party that appears to be benefiting from the drop in support for the Liberals. The Greens are up seven points since August to sit at 25 per cent, while the Liberals are down eight points.

Green party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker says he believes this poll echoes the message that voters sent to government in last week’s District 11 byelection, which saw Green candidate Hannah Bell win the seat over the traditional Liberal and PC parties.

“Voters are ready and comfortable for something different,” he said.

“It does seem like disaffected Liberals are more likely to go Green now, and given that they are the most popular party that’s an enormous opportunity for us to glean votes.”

Bevan-Baker remains the most popular leader in the province at 33 per cent, which was a drop of four percentage points since August. But he remains ahead of Premier Wade MacLauchlan, whose personal popularity stayed almost the same as last quarter with 27 per cent of Islanders listing him as their preference for premier.

New PC Party leader James Aylward was the choice of 14 per cent of Islanders, which was a one-percentage point increase over former interim leader Jamie Fox.

Aylward stressed Wednesday he has only been party leader for six weeks – which has been a “whirlwind” time period with a snap byelection happening concurrently with the fall sitting of the legislature.

He preferred to focus on the drop in support for the Liberal party and his assertion many of the government’s “good news announcements” over the last month have contained few details.

“I think people are starting to see through that now, especially when you have grandparents or seniors going to start to apply for these programs that government rolled out and announced, and they’re realizing it’s just a smokescreen, that there’s not anything actually there,” Aylward said.

He acknowledged the PC party has a lot of building to do.

“Yes, we do have some work to do to prove to Islanders that we’re ready to move forward and offer an alternative to this tired Liberal government, and that’s my main goal and objective moving forward – to show Islanders that we are ready.”

The CRA poll showed 27 per cent of Islanders were undecided while another 10 per cent had no preference, did not plan to vote or refused to say.

Support for the NDP was at 11 per cent, down one point since last quarter. NDP leader Mike Redmond was the preferred premier of six per cent of Islanders. Redmond announced his immediate resignation as leader late Wednesday.

The quarterly poll had a sample size of 600 people interviewed between Nov. 1-30 with an overall margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points with a 95 per cent confidence level.

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