Majority of N.L. residents support Muskrat Falls development, CRA poll says

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An aerial view of Muskrat Falls. — File photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

A new poll by Corporate Research Associates says there appears to be little opposition to the development of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of residents completely or mostly support the Muskrat Falls project, according to the poll.

One-quarter (27 per cent) completely or mostly oppose the hydroelectric project, while very few neither support nor oppose the development (five per cent) or do not offer an opinion (five per cent).

Support is highest in the eastern region of the province with seven in 10  (72 per cent) of residents from this area in support of the project while six in 10 (62 per cent) St. John’s/Avalon residents, and a similar number of western region residents (58 per cent) in support of the development.

“Despite on-going criticism of the Muskrat Falls project,”  Don Mills, chairman and CEO of Corporate Research Associates, said “a clear majority of citizens in Newfoundland and Labrador support the hydroelectric development project.”

Among those who support the Muskrat Falls development, CRA says economic advantages such as being good for the economy, job creation and having another source of energy are top mentions.  Opponents of the project most often cite the cost of the project as their reason for opposing it.

These poll results are part of the CRA Atlantic Quarterly, an independent, quarterly survey of Atlantic Canadians, based on a telephone sample of 400 adult Newfoundland and Labradorians, conducted from Feb. 11 to March 8, 2013.

CRA says overall results are accurate to within plus or minus 4.9 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.

Organizations: Corporate Research Associates

Geographic location: N.L., Avalon, Don Mills Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Lucien Beauregard
    April 02, 2013 - 22:35

    Wake up Newfoundland and Labrador ! Muskrat Project as well than Gull Island are two very good projects for Newfounland and Labrador However I believe that Newfoundland should wait the result of litigation about the Upper Churchill before starting of Muskrat project construction. Three years ago, on February 23, 2010, Nalcor filed a motion in Quebec Superior Court against Hydro-Quebec to address inequities in the 1969 Upper Churchill Power Contract pricing. From my point of view, Newfoundland should easily win that battle. The result would be, at least, an income increase of 1 billion $ per year. Unfortunately, this will not happen, because there is no body in Newfoundland who are fighting for it. Nobody in Newfoundland seems to be interested to win that easy battle. As a Quebecers, I don’t understand why, you, peoples of Newfoundland and Labrador are not sitting every day in front of the Quebec Parliament, requesting justice, fairness and equity in the Churchill Falls Contract. You are doing a big mistake, if you believe that the two Montreal Lawyer’s Firms, hired by Nalcor three years ago, will win this motion without your energetic involvement ! Lucien Beauregard, P. Eng Quebec

  • Sam
    April 02, 2013 - 11:52

    I have to laugh! Whenever a poll suits the naysayers point of view, well this is what the people believe! But when it reflects their opposing views, well the poll is flawed or rigged! This is the same crowd that does the quarterly political poll...oh last time the polls were perfect to those same people. I am at a point where i don't really even notice the polls at all! Its just sickening to read all the comments regarding them. We have become a land of complainers...never thought i would see the day! This used to be such a civilized place to its a cut your throat type of environment if you so happen to believe in anything positive in the province. To you naysayers on everything...your the reason i would move away from here! But you know i am stubborn and i love this place as much as you guys. Remember we all have an opinion and they all count!

    • wanda white
      April 02, 2013 - 13:27

      What'd they do? Keep calling till they got 400 nods? Corporate isn't REALLY independent now is it?

    • david
      April 02, 2013 - 20:30

      Sam: A poll should agree with, and reflect, the majority point of view. You may view this as some sort of weird 'irony', but it's actually how it's supposed to work.

  • tom
    April 02, 2013 - 11:51

    Yes - the money is coming from credit - which is why the loan guarantee is so important. I don't think MF has been clearly articulated as to what it means to average rate payers - just rhetoric. I am on the fence - I need more information. Given the bad estimating on oil prices we saw last week - how can we estimate profit in 30 years? I know if we do this and then have any oil spill - the province will be bankrupt. Scares the heck out of me.

  • SD Redgrave
    SD Redgrave
    April 02, 2013 - 11:36

    The poll is a joke. The date's are not current with public opinion as of today. Propaganda is easily recognized. "Polls, We don't need no stinking Polls!!!" Tell the Dunderdale government , Newfoundland is smarter than they thought!!!

  • Scott Free
    April 02, 2013 - 11:14

    Whomever pays for reports & polls own them; and the owner gets to select the findings; period.

  • Paul
    April 02, 2013 - 10:53

    Cleaner energies...all for it. However, when a project of this size is rushed through as this one it invites skepticism. I think there is not enough known about the Muskrat Falls deal for anyone to make an educated decision. Just what the government has said. Studies and reports presented did not take into account the newfound wealth of oil in the US due to fracking. Within the next couple of years the US will actually be an exporter of oil for the first time in 40 years. The determination as to the market for Muskrat Falls in my mind has put this in serious doubt except to power mining in Labrador and supposedly for the island. The government has dismissed any thought of a PUB review insisting that the PUB not be given the time to review even though the project is subject to review by the PUB equivalent in NS. Too much secrecy on one of the largest projects ever to be undertaken in the history of the province.

    • Eli
      April 02, 2013 - 12:00

      Not hard for me to make an educated decision Paul. When something this huge required legislation protection it doesn't take an Einstein to know the books were cooked long ago. Those so called huge percentages in the eastern region who favour it have high paying jobs and don't give a rat's ass about the bills.

  • Tony Rockel
    April 02, 2013 - 10:51

    I seriously question the methodology and sample size of this poll, but if it genuinely reflects public opinion, then God help us all. They are going like sheep to the slaughter.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    April 02, 2013 - 10:39

    Why is it that polls showing support for Muskrat Falls seem to always come out BEFORE key milestones related to the project (shortly before the sanction decision, and now the latest, with the actual survey actually have taken place before the budget/public service cuts)?.......... Is the timing of these polls and the timing of their release a deliberate attempt to keep voters/citizens on side with this boondoggle, especially at times when there might be a risk that support could falter? ............ Coincidence? I doubt it.

      April 02, 2013 - 12:05

      Wow, attacking the messenger. If only this survey was as unbiased as the one on vision2041.

  • Cyril Rogers
    April 02, 2013 - 10:13

    For us naysayers, this story is too tempting to resist. The questions asked will make a huge difference in how people respond and can be phrased in such a way as to create a desired outcome. If the majority of people in this province support it, then I have no choice but to accept their decision....even though I believe that it is a grave error. History will determine the wisdom of the project but there is little doubt in my mind that it is going to have a severe negative impact on the fiscal capacity of this province. My objections have always been twofold: the enormous cost, which is yet to be determined, and the fact that it will not be needed or, if energy needs arise, we would have been able to develop several alternatives at far less cost.

  • coco
    April 02, 2013 - 10:12

    This is a press release from a company called Corporate Research Associates. It's not a story as such. For information about their clientele see the Market Sector Expertise tab under About Us on their website.

  • Richard
    April 02, 2013 - 09:55

    I support developing Muskrat Falls. I support developing Gull Island, too. But if I think this deal is a sham, and a pollster asks "Do you support Muskrat Falls?" How do I honestly answer that question? All I'm saying is that the pollsters and journalists covering this manufactured news story owe the readers the most basic explanation of the poll's methodology. Is that too much to ask without setting off the temperamental kool aid drinkers

  • Dean
    April 02, 2013 - 09:51

    What's the percentage from Labrador, or when you say the province do you only mean the island?

  • Political Watcher
    April 02, 2013 - 09:44

    A point to note that is omitted from this story is that the poll was conducted before the Provincial budget was brought down. I say to go back and ask again now that people are beginning to see what it is costing us and then see the results.

  • Brenda
    April 02, 2013 - 09:42

    I second some of the other opinions given. I for one support the push for cleaner energies over the long term, thus I do in a way support Muskrat Falls. What I don't support however, is the hastened manner in which they have gone about pursuing the project. Rumour has it in fact, that the trees and scrub are not being removed in a manner that would cut down on levels of heavy metals in the subsequent flood waters, as they are required to be doing. I would like to know the phrasing of the questions asked by the pollsters.

  • Don
    April 02, 2013 - 09:41

    I wonder how Richard and Jon would have responded if the poll had been reversed. Most Newfoundlander's approve of Muskrat Falls project weather Richard or Jon like it or not, but they will never accept that.

  • Jon Smith
    April 02, 2013 - 09:36

    A 400 adult sample is very small. 300 of them could be working directly for Nalcor,SNC lavalin, Pennecon , HJ O'Connell or Woodwards.

  • Mark
    April 02, 2013 - 09:31

    Another ad placement paid for by the Dunderdale crew?

  • Calvin
    April 02, 2013 - 09:30

    So Richard, I guess we know which percentage point you fall in under, lol.

  • John Smith
    April 02, 2013 - 09:26

    72% in the eastern region support the project...time for the naysayers to crawl back under their rocks...

    • david
      April 02, 2013 - 12:50

      Crawling beats slithering...although a recent poll concludes differently.

  • Michael
    April 02, 2013 - 09:26

    Richard, you are right, big difference in the two questions. I am definitely opposed to the development of Muskrat Falls.

  • Steve
    April 02, 2013 - 09:25

    We've been screwed and our grand children will be paying for this. There is no need for Muskrat falls. Canada itself would be the economic superpower of the world if we were to switch to green energy. Newfoundland has a huge potential with green energy as well. Muskrat falls is nothing more than the same old government and corporate greed that has kept Newfoundlanders down time and time again.

  • saelcove
    April 02, 2013 - 09:25

    So how was the question asked, probably a phone poll and we all know how they work

  • Frank Carroll
    April 02, 2013 - 09:24

    I note that some of my earlier questions were answered in what appears to be a second draft of the story - but not all of them.

  • No Way Out Now
    April 02, 2013 - 09:23

    These types of poll results are useless to the reader without reporting the phrasing of the question. For example, many people might "mostly support" Muskrat Falls because they support a move towards cleaner energy. But if you ask them if they think Muskrat Falls is a good deal for NL you might get a completely different answer. I, for one, support NL in any move towards more sustainable energy, but if you asked me whether I think this Government is capable of pulling this off I would say no.

  • The KoolAid Sessions
    April 02, 2013 - 09:23

    Did Paulsters vote online for this one Too?

  • Frank Carroll
    April 02, 2013 - 09:20

    A: Who paid for the survey? B: How many people were surveyed? C: When was the poll conducted? Before or after the budget came down? D: What is the survey's margin of error? E: What was the exact wording of the question? E: A comment such as “a clear majority of citizens in Newfoundland and Labrador support the hydroelectric development project" should be put in the context that polls are estimates based upon what one would hope would be a representative sample of the population. That's why we need a clearer picture of the poll's validity and reliability.

    • Read it
      April 02, 2013 - 10:59

      Most of your questions are answered in the article.

  • Richard
    April 02, 2013 - 09:11

    It would be nice to know what question the pollster actually asked. Asking Newfoundlanders if they support development of Muskrat Falls is probably going to generate a different response than asking them if they support being the ones to pay for it.

    • Tom
      April 02, 2013 - 09:31

      I would think that anyone living in the province now knows where the money for the project is coming from. All you have to do is watch the news one day a week and it is pounded down your throat. Let's build it and get on with business. Enough talk, let's act