Liberal support has reached its lowest point since the May 2015 election, bringing the party into a virtual tie with the Greens, according to the latest Corporate Research Associates poll released Wednesday.
The quarterly results show support for the Liberals dropped from 42 per cent of decided voters in February to 34 per cent during the May polling period.
With the Greens seeing a one percentage point drop to 33 per cent, the two parties are in a virtual tie when it comes to who Islanders are saying they would vote for in an election.
UPEI political science professor Don Desserud said the Liberals have been bleeding support that is moving to the Greens and the PCs.
The results must be demoralizing for the Liberals and give a boost to Green supporters, Desserud said.
“It has collateral damage or collateral benefits.”
The Progressive Conservatives saw the biggest change in support with a jump from 17 per cent in February to 26 per cent in May.
NDP support dropped one percentage point to seven per cent.
There were still a lot of Islanders who were undecided with 23 per cent saying they didn’t know who they were going to vote for with another five per cent refusing to state a preference.
A further four per cent said they didn’t support any of the parties or didn’t plan to vote.
Desserud said the rise in Green support has been steady and not the kind of support parties that aren’t part of the mainstream sometimes see before dropping off when people go back to their normal voting habits.
“It’s not volatile,” Desserud said.
He added that without knowing where the people who were polled live, it’s hard to say if the Greens have widespread support across the province.
Support for the Greens has tended to be strong in Charlottetown and weaker in rural areas, Desserud said.
“That makes a huge difference.”
There wasn’t much change in satisfaction with the government with 52 per cent of Islanders saying there were satisfied with the Liberals.
Green leader Peter Bevan-Baker remains the most popular leader with 39 per cent of Islanders saying they preferred him as premier.
Premier Wade MacLauchlan was next at 24 per cent, followed by PC leader James Aylward at 17 per cent.
NDP leader Joe Byrne had the support of four per cent of Islanders.
Desserud said the PCs must be happy with the rise in support compared to the last poll.
Despite Aylward’s party’s fortunes rising, his personal numbers haven’t changed much after several months as leader and Desserud said opposition leaders outside of election periods have a hard time getting traction.
“They don’t have the platform,” he said.
CRA polled 600 Islanders May 2-28, and the overall margin of sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points with a 95 per cent confidence level.
The margin of error for decided voters on the question of the party of choice was plus or minus 4.9 percentage points based on a sample size of 400 people.