Greens slightly ahead but voter satisfaction could still favour Liberals
P.E.I.’s Green Party is still ahead of the pack – by a hair – in the latest opinion poll.
Despite a fall full of funding announcements, as well as a rosy economic forecast, P.E.I.’s Liberal party has failed to vault over the popularity of the province’s Green party in the latest poll by Corporate Research Associates. The poll shows the Green party slightly ahead at 37 per cent of decided voters, with the Liberals at 36 per cent. The PC party, in the midst of a leadership contest, remained at 20 per cent, while the NDP stood at 7 per cent.
A CRA poll conducted in August showed the Green party at 38 per cent, the Liberals at 35 per cent, the PCs at 20 per cent and the NDP at 7 per cent.
The most recent poll was conducted between Nov. 2 and 19 with 604 residents of Prince Edward Island. The margin of error is +/- 4.0 percentage points. The sample was distributed according to population density between P.E.I.’s three counties. A total of 32 per cent of voters are either undecided, refused to say or do not plan to vote.
According to Don Mills, chairman and CEO of CRA, the results bode well for the provincial Green party. The party has seen its public support increase from 25 per cent in November 2017 to 37 per cent in November 2018.
But Mills also pointed to an increase in voters who identified as either completely or mostly satisfied with the performance of Premier Wade MacLauchlan. The latest poll found 57 per cent of voters are either completely or mostly satisfied with MacLauchlan, compared with 49 per cent in August.
In the last 25 years, Mills said only one party in Atlantic Canada has won government without achieving over 51 per cent satisfaction of electors prior to an election.
"I would say that would be very good news for the government," Mills said.
“They're actually in pretty good shape even though they're virtually tied with the Green party. Their performance numbers are actually good news for the party going into a possible election."
Mills said the satisfaction was largely due to the strong performance of the Island’s economy. Unemployment is low, while job growth leads other Atlantic provinces.
Mills suggested the biggest hurdle for the Liberals may be Premier Wade MacLauchlan.
"The personal popularity of the premier is not as good, obviously, as Peter Bevan-Baker," Mills said.
MacLauchlan was named the most preferred leader by 25 per cent of voters in the poll while Bevan-Baker was named the favourite of 38 per cent. Interim PC Leader James Aylward, who announced he would be stepping down before the next election, stood at 16 per cent support while the NDP’s Joe Byrne stood at 5 per cent support.
Mills was unsure if these numbers mean the Island could be headed for a minority government. The results of the PC leadership race, due to be decided in early February, could shift the polls.
"It really depends on the Progressive Conservative Party, if they can kind of make some inroads," he said.