A change in premiers in P.E.I. appears to have been good news of the Liberal party of P.E.I.
The Liberals have maintained their lead in political support, according to the latest Corporate Research Associates poll. The party saw an eight-point increase since November to rest at 58 per cent among decided voters in P.E.I.
Meanwhile, backing for the Progressive Conservatives grew three points and stands at 26 per cent. Support for the NDP dropped by three points this quarter to 12 per cent, while support for the Green Party dropped by seven points to rest at four per cent.
The poll was conducted before the PC party’s leadership convention where Rob Lantz was elected leader. Some of the polling period also covered a period before the Liberal leadership convention when Wade MacLauchlan was acclaimed as premier. But it was already known MacLauchlan would be become premier during the entire polling period.
UPEI political scientist Don Desserud says he believes the Liberals benefitted in this poll from the fact the Tories had not yet chosen a leader.
“It’s the unknown versus the known,” Desserud said.
He also believes MacLauchlan’s name recognition has been good for the party.
While the Liberals may be enjoying a lead in party support, Islanders have grown more uncertain about the performance of the current Liberal administration.
Satisfaction levels dropped 10 points to 44 per cent over the last three months. The percentage of Islanders who are dissatisfied also dropped by nine points to 30 per cent.
Meanwhile, the number of residents who do not offer a definite opinion on their satisfaction levels jumped 18 points to 26 per cent, up from 8 per cent three months ago.
Desserud says he believes the drop in satisfaction levels and the jump in those undecided about how they feel about the performance of the current administration can be linked to MacLauchlan’s so-called coronation as premier.
“I think they didn’t like the process,” Desserud said.
Nonetheless, Islanders appear to like their new premier as much as they liked Robert Ghiz just before he left office.
MacLauchlan saw a one-point increase over Ghiz’s last poll of personal support in November, garnering 42 per cent in personal support.
Since this CRA poll was conducted before Lantz was elected leader of the PC party, Islanders were polled this month on their opinions of Interim Leader Steven Myers. Ten per cent of Islanders said they preferred Myers, a drop of three points since November.
NDP Leader Mike Redmond also dropped three points and is the second choice after MacLauchlan among party leaders at 14 per cent.
Support for Peter Bevan-Baker of the Green party stood unchanged at five per cent. Six per cent of Islanders preferred none of these leaders, while 23 per cent, up from 14 per cent, were undecided or did not offer an opinion.
These results are based on a telephone survey of 300 adult Prince Edward Islanders, conducted by CRA between Feb. 9 and Feb. 28 with overall results accurate to within plus of minus 5.7 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.