NDP tops Tories in latest poll

James McLeod
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Poll shows steady slide for Conservatives

Polling done by Environics Research Group shows the NDP narrowly leading the PC Party in popular support in the province. The poll has a margin of error of 3.2 per cent, which puts the two parties in a statistical tie. — Telegram graphic

For the first time in Newfoundland and Labrador history, the NDP is polling in first place — ahead of the governing PC Party.

According to polling done by Environics Research Group, the NDP now commands 38 per cent of popular support; 35 per cent of decided voters support the PCs, and 26 per cent back the Liberals.

“It’s pretty big,” said Derek Leebosh, vice-president of Environics. “I think we’re getting to a point where there could be a competition between Newfoundland and Quebec over which is the most NDP province in Canada.”

Environics surveyed 1,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians between June 19-29; the results are considered accurate within a margin of error of 3.2 per cent 19 times out of 20.

The numbers put the NDP and PCs within the margin of error — essentially tied — but they continue to tell the story of steadily slipping poll numbers for Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s party.

During last fall’s provincial election, the Tories took 56 per cent of the popular vote; a poll conducted in May by Corporate Research Associates in May showed the Tories had 49 per cent support.

Memorial University political scientist Kelly Blidook said that the numbers reflect a rough six months for Dunderdale’s government, and with the Liberals largely absent from the public eye most of the anti-conservative vote is migrating to the NDP.

“So long as the governing party is unpopular and so long as one of the two main opposition parties is not doing very much, the other party is going to win in part by default, right?” Blidook said, although he cautioned that things could turn around for the PCs. “It could be that the PCs are actually in a free-fall.


“The numbers certainly are a fall but whether or not this is something they’ll pull out of, I mean, I think that’s a pretty powerful party,” Blidook said.

But NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said she doesn’t buy that this is all just anti-PC Party sentiment; if that was the case, she said, people would say they were undecided instead of supporting the NDP.

“They’re not just saying they don’t know where to go, so obviously they’re seeing in the NDP something they want,” she said. “I don’t think it changes what we do in the next few years; I think it keeps us focused on the direction in which we’re doing.”

In an emailed statement, Dunderdale said, “This poll does not change our focus or our priorities as a government.

“We laid out our four-year plan in October, which received strong endorsement by the people of the province. We will continue to fulfill our commitments, making decisions that are in the best interests of the people and the communities of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball saw positive news in the Environics polling numbers; the Liberals saw an eight percentage point jump in popularity from May’s CRA polling.

“In terms of overall gains we’ve picked up more than any party,” he said. “We’re clearly now in a three-party race in this province.”

Environics also asked people whether they believe the provincial government is on the “right track” or the “wrong track.”

Forty five per cent said they believe things are on the right track; 42 per cent said things are on the wrong track, and 12 per cent refused to answer.

Respondents were also asked about their thoughts on the federal political scene, and the NDP was out in front on that side of things too.

Federally, 49 per cent of respondents said they’d vote for the NDP if an election was held today, 34 per cent supported the Liberals and 17 per cent backed the Conservatives.

Federally, 67 per cent of people say the government is on the wrong track, versus 20 per cent who say things are on the right track.

A lot of that, Leebosh said, is probably the lingering effects of former premier Danny Williams’ ABC Campaign to encourage people to vote for anybody but Conservatives.

New Democrat MP Ryan Cleary said that fits with what he’s hearing from people.

“There’s at least a generation of Newfoundlanders that will never vote federal Conservative because of the carry-over from the Danny Williams days and because of Stephen Harper,” he said. “People don’t see him as a friend of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Blidook said one of the possible effects of these kinds of polling numbers is that Dunderdale will move to distance herself from the federal Conservatives.

For a year or more, Dunderdale has been striking a conciliatory tone with Harper, trying to mend fences.

“That might be the decision that’s ultimately made because why would you stay close to a federal government that polls at 17 per cent in the province and two thirds of people think is on the wrong track?” Blidook said. “Is there just no way of repairing this particular bridge? It’s obvious that even with trying to befriend the federal government, very little came of it. We don’t see decisions that have seemed friendly towards Newfoundland.”

Blidook cautioned that the Environics polling numbers could just represent a moment in time, but he said if the tight race between the PCs and the NDP is borne out, it will change the political environment in the province.

“I think things will be different,” Blidook said.” Whether or not that leads to better policy outcomes, it certainly means there’s going to be more concern and more debate, and when the government does things, they’re going to be more careful about defending it and possibly even tarring their opponents in the process.”



Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: NDP, Conservatives, Corporate Research Associates Environics Research Group PC Party

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Fred Penner
    July 09, 2012 - 15:20

    It is time we adjusted the rules for democratic elections to ensure that only our best and most accomplished people are able to run for office. Does it seem unreasonable that a phD in economics (or equivalent experience) be minister of finance, an engineer be minister of industry, degree in Phys Ed for minister of sport and recreation, etc. We have suffered for far too long electing those to office who possess only the "gift of gab".

  • McCadden
    July 07, 2012 - 06:07

    I don't care what the NDP government is doing in Manitoba. They have had leadership problems for years! Lorraine Michael is the only credible leader in the current House of Assembly. I would trust her and an expanded NDP caucuss with the leadership of this Province because - they wouldn't pass draconian legislation about Access to Information nor would they give the green light to developing Muskrat Falls - a project which will backrupt customers of Light and Power. Dunderdale wants to proceed with this "legacy to Danny Williams" despite the fact that Muskrat Falls has not been proven to be financially viable. Go NDP go. The voters are not wrong in placing the NDP as the most trustworthy Party in this Province (see Poll taken July 5th).

  • james from wpg
    July 06, 2012 - 06:26

    if you want to see disaster in your province then vote NDP. here in manitoba the socialist have us over a billion dollars in debt for the fiscal year, user fees on just about everything, overtaxed, wasted tax dollars on a useless museum, football stadiums while its roads crumble, 2.5 cents on gas, taking from manitoba hydro to make us believe they ballanced the books, manitoba hydro then raises rates. and how about our health care failure with inquiries coming out of our ears, so go ahead my fellow newfoundlanders vote for the socialist and then get prepared for what awaits you.

    • Mose Ingram
      July 06, 2012 - 15:06

      When the people of a province elect an NDP majority government 4 times running, they have to be doing something right. There will always be those who disagree.

  • Whaddaya At ?
    July 06, 2012 - 06:04

    Why are some people all tore up and wringin' their hands because the NDP topped the Tories in the latest poll ?. Jeez, ya wouldn't know but the NDP were the Hell's Angels. Do ya'll have to be reminded that, currently, we've got Foghorn Leghorn as our Premier, Judge Roy Bean as our Minister of Justice and Wile E. Coyote as our Minister of Natural Resources ?. And you people actually think that things could get worse ?.

  • Harbourmaster
    July 05, 2012 - 23:03

    Just goes to show that NLers do not take the BS lying down. We currently have poor government with the PCs pushing Muskrat Falls and approving Bill 29. If they continue down this wayward path they will be booted out and unfortunately the NDP may will. The main reason being that they are honest and honest governments always win.

  • Annette K. Johnson
    July 05, 2012 - 22:16

    At this point. I'd take anyone over Dunderdale with one exception - Dean MacDonald (no point going from the frying pan into fire). Even John Smith now acknowledges that Dunderdale is no great shakes. Who'da thunk? What's the matter John? Is she having second thoughts about Muskrat?

  • Brendan
    July 05, 2012 - 22:02

    Memo to D Ball: This is a two way race between the rising NDP and the plummeting PC's! You are not even in contention, my son.

  • Ed Dwyer
    July 05, 2012 - 20:34


  • redrantingtory
    July 05, 2012 - 20:28

    OMG, That's all we need is a NDP government led by Michaels. From the pot into the fire. We would be bankrupt in a few years. Companies would be moving out in droves. However I suspect that if the NDP got power they would be singing a whole different tune when they see how hard it is to ballance the books and keep everyone happy. Strange how I have heard a few comment on Bill 29 and how it brought the government down in the polls but I have yet to hear either party in opposition say they would change it if in power. It's suits all parties to well to change Bill 29 and when it comes down to it they all want to keep their party secrets. I would rather have the best of the worst running his province than the NDP who seem to be living in a dream world where money grows on trees and business is to be beat down until it gives in. Say it ain't so that this province who has it's foot in door of the 21 st century will vote in NDP the next election and fast become a have not once again. Scary prospect of have a left leaning government. We were always middle of the road but if we go down that route it won't be long before the people will be crying foul as they have in all other provinces who voted in the NDP.

    • W McLean
      July 05, 2012 - 22:22

      In 2000, there were nearly 18,000 business enterprises in the province. By 2011, that number has dropped to less than 17,000. Most of that decline happened under Danny's watch. And WRT Bill 29, both opposition parties have said they would repeal it outright. Is that "change" enough?

    • a business man
      July 06, 2012 - 06:12

      I'll tell you right now that I will be among the first to leave. Hell, I am clearly "right wing" but I feel that the Conservatives are not making enough cuts and am moving businesses out of the province for that reason. By my logic, the NDP will only make things worse. But I really don't care. I can have my business anywhere. I don't have to hire workers from any specific country or province. If the citizens of this province really want a NDP government, then they should get one. Just note that jobs will disappear.

    • A business man indeed
      July 06, 2012 - 08:18

      Sounds like another good reason to vote NDP.

  • M
    July 05, 2012 - 20:25

    NDP want to pass Anti-Scab legislation, wanted to shut down the drill rigs off of our coast after the spill in the gulf, want a publicly funded inquiry for every issue raised inside or outside the house of assembly, protest any cost cutting measure in government.......the hit list for these clowns goes on. Tell me this poll is a knee jerk reaction to a tough governing year and that this madness will not translate into votes in three years. You cannot give rampant socialists the keys to a kingdom that has money. They will piss it away in unneeded, ridiculous government programs that will haunt us for years to come. Most disturbing is that the townies, who most benefit from oil activity and economic growth, would consider giving the anti oil and gas and anti business party a vote. Time to give our collective heads a shake. Come on Dean MacDonald. The public need a reasonable alternative to the governing party.

  • Yasmin
    July 05, 2012 - 18:53

    This is great!! I hope we never have a conservative party in power again, they are all corrupt, all they care about is big oil corporations. They just want to maximise profit for the few at the top, and lower everyone else's wages. I find the most ridiculous argument against the NDP is that they just want everyone on welfare, everyone should take a look at the Conservatives, they are handing out billions in Corporate welfare, they make me sick.

  • Don
    July 05, 2012 - 17:25

    Charles --- you are in dire need of medical attention. You actually want to elect a :union party" and turn away future investors in Nfld. You need help pal.

  • Don
    July 05, 2012 - 17:22

    Randy --- You got to be kidding. Are you really sincere that you would vote for Lorraine and the the Nutty Gang ( George, Gerry, Kirby, Lorraine.) Boy, do you ever need medical attention.

  • A Very Concerned Tory
    July 05, 2012 - 17:18

    For those who may be interested, there is a rather prophetic commentary dated June 25, 2012 on unclegnarley.blogspot.ca. A very worthwhile read.

  • God Help Us
    July 05, 2012 - 14:18

    If the NDP form the next government I'm quiting my career and going on welfare.

  • Too Funny
    July 05, 2012 - 13:44

    So what. Unless you were born yesterday then you should know that it doesn't matter which party forms the government. They all promise you the world but once elected they forget about the promises until next election. PC, NDP or Lib, it doesn't matter. It'll just be the same old, same old.

  • Watcher
    July 05, 2012 - 13:20

    Have you SEEN some of the provincial NDP candidates they come up with around election time? Seems like the walk into a downtown coffee shop and ask if anyone wants to join and run for the party... no experience necessary. Not unlike that waitress who won her federal seat in a predominately Francophone riding and couldn't speak a word of French...

  • Jack
    July 05, 2012 - 12:44

    I think the PC's should be worried, the NDP(who don't even have a firebrand leader mind you) is getting its support from areas that have traditionally been PC strongholds, and the Liberals are holding steady and starting to take back their own strongholds. The PC's could do well with the popular vote but still end up with few seats in a future election.

  • stephanie
    July 05, 2012 - 12:29


  • Rob
    July 05, 2012 - 12:19

    WOW, this has all the loyal tories posting comments. I wonder would Dunderdale take these numbers into an election. She shown how to lose a government in 9 short months.

  • Steve
    July 05, 2012 - 12:17

    Nice to see the usual fear mongers out when the topic of the NDP comes up. I for one am ready to give them a chance.

  • Rich
    July 05, 2012 - 12:08

    What's with all the polls? We just had 2 a month ago and now another one! I am not a Party person, i vote for the person i feel is best for my district. But right now...i am sick of all the stupid talk about polls. Lets all enjoy the summer. I guess it gives the media something to talk about...and thats what is important!

  • John Smith
    July 05, 2012 - 11:40

    Polls, a snapshot in time...there is only one poll that matters, and that is years away.The NDP and the liberals spun the bill 29 BS out of proportion, they fillabustered a bill that we have been using now for three years?? I would like to know who commissioned this poll? Interesting how it coincided with the waste of time about bill 29.The Dunderdale government are no great shakes...but they are light years ahead of the opposition...and that's saying something...

  • Brad
    July 05, 2012 - 11:30

    The process of the PC party dying has been going on for a year and a half. Little bits at a time and almost free fall. Does any party that wants to keep government ram through Bill 29 in a four day filibuster? This is all abit of history repeating itself - Tobin - Grimes - Williams... now Williams - Dunderdale - ??. We need a real change in NL.

  • Kevin Power
    July 05, 2012 - 11:02

    A very scary thought indeed. Ontario still hasn't fully recovered from our experience with a NDP provincial government. Even Bob Ray is no longer and NDPer, he's wearing the red jacket now.

    • Steve
      July 05, 2012 - 12:18

      Still trotting out Bob Rae after all these years, a man who was elected at the height of the worst recession Ontario experienced since the '30s? If you want to make a more accurate comparison, BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have all had long experience with NDP provincial governments. In the case of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, those NDP governments have done very well in balancing the provincial budgets there numerous times.

  • GT
    July 05, 2012 - 11:00

    If you're going to report that the difference of support between the NDP and Tories is within the margin of error, your headline should read "NDP and Tories tied for support in latest poll" and not "NDP top Tories in latest poll". The headline is misleading and the margin or error exists in statistics for a reason.

  • Margaret
    July 05, 2012 - 10:53

    Please don't let this be real,This beautiful place does'nt need this.

  • Taxpayer
    July 05, 2012 - 10:53

    Us working folks will have to work a lot harder and give the government a lot more of our hard earned dollars to support those poor down trodden welfare leeches if the NDP were to form a government - you know that the NDP is all for the free ride for those of society who sit home and wait for the cheque to come in the mail. God help us all if we end up with an NDP government(?) in any way shape or form. Right now neither party has the brains to organize/run a piss up in a brewery and neither has a leader worthy of my vote. I am not impressed by any of the leaders or sitting members, and until some younger, educated, smart and forward-thinking people come forward and put their names on the ballot, I won't bother to take the time to vote.

  • concerned
    July 05, 2012 - 10:42

    so long prosperity. with all due respect to mizz michael she would be a joke as premier. she may be a real nice person but putting her up against anyone with a brain would be catastrophic to us. muskrat falls gone no new oil or mineral deals but lots for the welfare crowd who are too lazy to get out of bed but who can complain with the best of them. not a supporter of either party but miss michael would kill this province for our youth.

  • Wake Up
    July 05, 2012 - 10:27

    May God have mercy on our souls. Wanting a pro-abortion, pro-gay-"marriage," pro-prositution-legalization, pro-euthanasia, pro-sex-ed-for-young-children, party in power. Some people might like their high-tax, high-spend, rack-up-the-debt, irresponsibie fiscal agenda, but "what profit a man to gain the world, but loose his soul?"

    • Hemril
      July 05, 2012 - 11:26

      I think that Nova Scotia has proven that once all the prejudice is removed, people see that the NDP is a solid option to form government. Think about Gary Doer in Manitoba and Roy Romanow in Saskatchewan. These were fiscally responsible people, with a social conscience. Thomas Mulcair is also proving that on the federal scene where we have an obscene government which is trowing democracy out the window and building prisons for crimes that does not exist instead of taking care of the less fortunate people. And by the way, I pay taxes. If taxe increases are justified, I have no problem with that.

    • I'm awake. Are you?
      July 05, 2012 - 22:26

      You take care of your soul, my dear, and I'll take care of mine. Give me a government that'll let me decide whether to get an abortion, to ask for help dying if I am in constant and incurable pain, to teach my children about safe sex. Give me a government that'll support the sick, the destitute, those in need of help. Give me one that will take money from those who can afford to give, and use it to build programs that will allow society to grow and improve and become more stable.

  • Non partisan
    July 05, 2012 - 10:24

    It's hard not to laugh at the fear inciting comments planted by the governing party faithful. The NDP would have to pull out all the stops to do a worse job than the governing party. While how the NDP would do in government is anyone's guess, everybofy knows what a crappy job the current government is doing mananging our oil money.

  • Jerome
    July 05, 2012 - 10:23

    What we have to remember is this: Kathy Dunderdale, Lorraine Michael and Dwight Ball will not be leading their respective parties in the next election. How will that change the dynamic? When a poll question asks who would make the best premier from the following candidates, who would you choose? Kennedy - PC MacDonald - Liberal Kirby - NDP The results of a poll like this will give us a much better indication for how the electorate is feeling. Polls taken four years before an election are meaningless.

  • Charles
    July 05, 2012 - 10:18

    Don - Randy...What are ye guys smoking...Dean Macdonald...Now your really trying very hard to put NL..In the hole...This guy haven't got a clue...What going on in our province...There are people today...in our province who are going cold and hungry...Now you want this guy...to push muskrat falls project though...away to go

    • Randy
      July 05, 2012 - 11:31

      Charles- I didn't say i liked the fact macdonald would be premier,i just stated what i believe will happen., but a manority gov. may not be such a bad thing at this time. As for muskrat falls, deals can be re-done and tweeked or cancelled in a minute by government,that craves power.

  • Derek Fudge
    July 05, 2012 - 09:44

    I never thought the day would come when I could dreeam of a NDP government both federally and in Nfld. & Lab. Well that day has arrived and I'm certianly enjoying my dream! Way to go fellow Nflder's & Laber's!! As tommy would say, finally us mice are starting to vote for other mice, instead of cats!

    • David Wilson
      July 05, 2012 - 11:12

      Derek Fudge - Great analogy on the mice... now where source some 4' x 8' sticky traps.

  • Colbert
    July 05, 2012 - 09:37

    Lorraine Michaels Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador? God help us all... We have found the bottom of the barrel...

    • Scott Piatkowski
      July 05, 2012 - 10:03

      You'll forgive me if I assign very little credibility to the views of someone who can't even get her name right.

  • Bill
    July 05, 2012 - 09:23

    Remember in Alberta a few months ago the Wildrose were tied with PC's just before the general election. Look what happened? People sat back and actually thought about what they were doing...and quickly changed their minds. Maybe its a good thing that its out there and people can see it...OMG we might actually elect the NDP here! Ask the people in Ontario...

    • Steve
      July 05, 2012 - 12:21

      Better yet, ask the people of Saskatchewan or Manitoba. Oh wait, you don't want people to know that the NDP have a history of running successful, financially stable and prosperous provincial governments.

  • Randy
    July 05, 2012 - 09:20

    My prediction- A minority liberal government ,with dean macdonald. The pc's will be the 3rd party,and possibly no party if they continue to surport Harper

  • EDfromRED
    July 05, 2012 - 09:17

    We being screwed right now by the PC's Federally and Provincially. The Provincial PCs' disgusting patronizing attitude, displayed during the Bill 29 debacle, was abhorrent. The voters can't wait to turf these arrogant cretins.

  • Tom
    July 05, 2012 - 08:55

    Dunderdale: “We laid out our four-year plan in October, which received strong endorsement by the people of the province." I don't remember endorsing a crackdown on access to information rights. This poll documents the public backlash against Bill 29: a betrayal of the people of this province.

  • Rob
    July 05, 2012 - 08:29

    It's about time we NLers realized that the NDP introduced Healtcare, Employment Insurance, and Canada Pension Plan. Now they are seeing the CON's as big business bimbo's who could care less about NL and get themselves on boards after politics.

    • Christopher Chafe
      July 05, 2012 - 08:56

      All you have to do is look at Ontario, Sask and Nova Scotia, and all the good that the NDP did with bringing in those "social welfare programs" are thrown out the door. The only way that the NDP will be an effective alternative is when they get rid of their current leader and elect one that has a clue on how to run a province, and don't bite the hand that is feeding Newfoundland(well those who choose to work anyways).

    • Fact check in aisle five
      July 05, 2012 - 09:16

      Sorry, Rob, but that isn't factually correct.

  • Coin
    July 05, 2012 - 08:28

    God help us if the NDP get in power. They'll lie to us, steal from us, and try to keep everything secret. God help us if the Liberals get in power. They'll lie to us, steal from us, and try to keep everything secret. God help us with the PCs in power. They lie to us, steal from us, and try to keep everything secret. I hope we get a full slate of indepenants next time so all of you partisans can see what a real election would look like. Your parties are just stupid little secret clubs. This isn't sports. There is no reason to always pull for one "team.". Look into how your democracy is supposed to work then grow up.

  • G.Bromley
    July 05, 2012 - 08:20

    OMG .... I hope this article is just a BAD DREAM. Please wake me up from this nightmare.

  • Sam
    July 05, 2012 - 08:12

    Easy enough to be popular when you promise the world, and don't cost it out. Also helps when you don't take a stand on any major issues...they play the fence all the time! I think people will eventually see through them...hopefully before they bankrupt the place. Its actually a scary thought...

    • Right on
      July 05, 2012 - 08:32

      Sam, you just described the Danny Williams tories perfectly.

  • Jeremiah
    July 05, 2012 - 08:08

    Imagine Premier Lorraine Michael. "Jazus".

  • Brad
    July 05, 2012 - 08:08

    God guard thee Newfoundland if the NDP get elected. You should ask Nova Scotians how theyre making out with one. The ones that havent left the province yet cannot wait to dump Darrell Dexter and I think he is marginally better than Lorraine! At least he has solutions, Lorraine has none!

    • W McLean
      July 05, 2012 - 10:27

      NL has had an NDP government since 2003. Massive spending, increasing the public sector, increasing state intervention in business and the economy. They just use the colour blue, and call themselves "Conservatives".

  • David Wilson
    July 05, 2012 - 07:51

    God help us!!!!

  • W Bagg
    July 05, 2012 - 07:50

    I guess they aren't the THIRD party anymore jerome. P.S. Pretty manly and genuine apology in the House this past session too............please note my sarcasm. we know who the nasty one is now. Signed, A former Tory supporter, but not now.

  • CommonMan
    July 05, 2012 - 07:49

    Finally! This is great news. The PC's and Liberal's have fought each other back and forth for so long it's great to see a third party step in, I hope the NDP win the next election! GO NDP!

  • Ben
    July 05, 2012 - 07:46

    So we will breach all the oil contracts, pay for houses for everyone in NL(NDP new housing division), and give everyone all we want, no matter the cost! My question is...how are we going to pay for all of this? A note to NLers...'Remember Bob Rae in Ontario'.

    • Steve
      July 05, 2012 - 12:24

      Remember Roy Romanow in Saskatchewan?

  • Harvey
    July 05, 2012 - 07:44

    Not knowing how to effectively govern has already caught up with Ms. Dunderdale. The long sessions in The House showed a lack of integrity, and the arrogance of too many on the gov't side helped cause the slide for the Tories.

  • Don
    July 05, 2012 - 07:27

    Where is Dean MacDonald now that he needed . Please don't elect Lorraine or we will be really in trouble.

    • Dave
      July 05, 2012 - 10:17

      He barely makes his Liberal reinvention committee commitments. Too busy for politics.

  • Barry
    July 05, 2012 - 07:20

    Way to go Dunderdale, ya knob !!!!!

  • Oh My God
    July 05, 2012 - 06:47

    We are so screwed!