Premier’s approval rating last in country, poll finds

Daniel MacEachern
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Kathy Dunderdale

A new poll suggests Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s approval rating is worst in the country, while her opposing counterparts have two of the highest ratings of any party leader in Canada.

The Angus Reid data, released Monday, puts Dunderdale’s approval rating at 26 per cent, behind Pauline Marois of Quebec (27 per cent), Darrell Dexter of Nova Scotia and David Alward of New Brunswick (both at 28 per cent), and Alison Redford of Alberta (29 per cent). Dunderdale’s rating is far from Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s, whose 67 per cent is tops in the country by a wide margin; Christy Clark of British Columbia is the next most popular premier, and even she comes in at 45 per cent, 22 percentage points behind Wall, the only premier where a majority of respondents are satisfied with the premier’s performance.

Sixty-eight per cent of respondents said they disapprove of Dunderdale’s performance, highest among the premiers, with six per cent unsure (numbers add up to more than 100 per cent due to rounding).

The poll was conducted online from May 31 to June 4, among 6,540 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20. There were no results from Prince Edward Island, which did not have a large enough sample size to be statistically valid.

Dunderdale’s rating is down from 37 per cent in December, but up a tick from March’s 25 per cent. Opposition leaders Dwight Ball of the Liberals and Lorraine Michael of the NDP have the highest ratings (53 per cent and 57 per cent, respectively) of any party leader in the country, apart from Wall. Ball’s 53 per cent ties him with Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil as highest approval rating among official Opposition leaders in the country. According to Shachi Kurl, Angus Reid vice-president of public opinion, the margin of error for the Newfoundland and Labrador data is plus or minus 5.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20, putting the opposition leaders neck and neck.

Both opposition leaders were in Labrador Monday, campaigning for today’s provincial byelection in Cartwright-L’anse au Clair. Ball — from L’Anse au Loup — said the Liberals have come a long way in a year and a half.

“If we went back and reflected on one year ago and said, ‘Did you ever think you’d be in this position this year?” I don’t think many people would have done that. But all of this, I think, is a result of all the hard work that we’ve put in as the official Opposition,” said Ball, who said government stumbles are a factor as well.

“We’re seeing that in the disapproval rate of the premier. I think they’ve mishandled this year’s budget and they’ve made some very poor decisions, and I think people are really questioning the management ability of this premier and this government and ministers, the decisions they’ve been making. The people have lost confidence in the management of this government right now.”

Michael, reached in Red Bay, said it feels good to know that people are responding to her. “It’s something that will encourage me to keep working hard, listening to what people are saying, and working hard responding to that, so it’s tremendous encouragement to me,” she said, adding Dunderdale needs to examine why her own rating is so low. “For me, the premier does say that polls are just polls, but when polls trend the way the polls are trending for her — that trend is downwards — if I were in her shoes, I definitely would be trying to find the answer for that, and I think that’s what she’s going to have to do.”

A representative for Dunderdale’s office said, with the premier in China on a trade mission and government offices closed for Discovery Day, no one was available for an interview on the poll. But a spokeswoman did email a written statement on behalf of the premier’s office.

“We are in the process of transitioning government to a more effective delivery of services. Newfoundland and Labrador’s process is being recognized on the national stage, with accolades most recently from BMO and RBC for our strong economic outlook. However, we do recognize that some people still feel the need to register their discontent. Change can be difficult,” reads the statement. “It is interesting to note that provincial governments in over half of the provinces represented in this recent poll are in a similar position to our province. While no one wants to be down in the polls, our focus is and remains fixed on doing the work to ensure our province’s future is secure. So, while Premier Dunderdale continues to make decisions in the best interests of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, we need to ensure the decision making processes are clear to all residents.”

Twitter: @TelegramDaniel


Organizations: NDP, RBC

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec New Brunswick Alberta Saskatchewan British Columbia Prince Edward Island Cartwright Red Bay China

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Recent comments

  • loulou
    June 25, 2013 - 16:10

    I think you all need to rethink what you are talking about, the province is doing real good , there is lots of work, money is good, lots of work for the forseeable future. Premier Dunderdale is carrying out the work Danny didn't finish. We are the best province in Canada, Stop and smell the roses.

  • Little Man Dan
    June 25, 2013 - 14:14

    On a go forward basis Kathy, you're doomed!

  • Kevin
    June 25, 2013 - 12:06

    WOW................thats more support than I though she should have. She deserves 0% probably even a NEGATIVE #......she is useless. It is only a matter of time before we are a HAVE NOT PROVINCE again.......back to Ottawa begging for money...................

  • Tony Rockel
    June 25, 2013 - 12:04

    Accolades? Yes, but look who they're coming from-- the usual fat cats. What do they care about the rest of us?

  • Graham
    June 25, 2013 - 11:26

    Well Fred sometimes the truth is hard to deal with, but no matter how you say it Dunderdale should step down and step down now for the good of the party if nothing else. Do I expect her to do that? Not a chance. Apparently she dosent see any of this as a problem. After all she keeps telling us everything she does is for "for the people of the province" Well Premier Dunderdale how many ways do you have to be told before it actually sinks in that the people of the province don't want you as Premier. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Don't go away mad just go away.

  • Bill Smith
    Bill Smith
    June 25, 2013 - 11:06

    Not surprised at all that Dunderdale is the least popular premier in the country. The vast majority of people have lost compete confidence in her and the PC government and don't trust their leadership. I voted PC before but can not with good conscience support them anymore, they are too out of touch with what is good for the people of this province.

  • Jay
    June 25, 2013 - 11:00

    But it is the same story based upon the same Angus Reid poll that you ran yesterday. Fred Penner's question is still legitimate. Slow day, or is the telegram doing its own "poll manipulation" by running negative stories continuously?

    • Daniel MacEachern
      June 25, 2013 - 14:30

      What appeared on the website yesterday was a brief written immediately after the information was released. On the website today is the story that appeared in today's paper expanded with context and response from the political parties.

  • Jack
    June 25, 2013 - 10:59

    Don't worry folks. Won't be long until Nova Scotian Premier, Darrell Dexter, will be last on the list due to the string of problems they are facing due to his incompetent leadership including major job losses, continuous economic bleeding, a Utility and Review Board that caters to utility company's demands and not to the Nova Scotians they serve, high taxes and user fees, and red tape that is becoming more like Greece. Won't be long until Nova Scotia becomes the next Greece and Halifax as the next Athens. Also won't be long until Nova Scotia experiences Greek style civil unrest on the streets of Sydney, Halifax, Truro, Kentville, Bridgewater, New Glasgow, and other major Nova Scotian communities until the UARB are abolished, red tape is reduced, and taxes are reduced once and for all.

  • Fred Penner
    June 25, 2013 - 10:43

    This story is based on a poll which was conducted May 31 to June 4 and I believe this was the subject a story at that time. Why has it reappeared now in the Telegram? Slow day?

    • Pam Frampton
      June 25, 2013 - 10:53

      The earlier coverage you're referring to, which was in The Telegram June 17, was based on a CRA poll conducted between May 8-30 and delved into provincial politics. Today's story is absolutely new information, based on a more recent poll of Canadians on provincial leaders across the country.

  • phil e
    June 25, 2013 - 10:09

    Hey Dunderdale, how about this for a new line to explain your dwindling popularity....... "IThe opposition parties aren't popular because they know what they are doing.....they are popular because I am so un-liked in my own province and I surround mysaelf with people who are as incompetent as I am....So I am the one propping up the oppositions me me.."

  • phil e
    June 25, 2013 - 10:02

    "However, we do recognize that some people still feel the need to register their disconten" "with accolades most recently from BMO and RBC for our strong economic outlook" Who in Gods names does your PR Kathy???. feel the need to register their discontent???? And since when do accoaldes from banks mean anythign to the common man?? As far as I can tell, things are getting harder for the average Joe in this province. The oil companies and Danny might be getting richer, but I see no benefit. to us working stiffs. Higher rent, houses prices out of reach, taxes rising, crime rising, prices for everything rising. Good times Dunderdale...

  • John
    June 25, 2013 - 09:36

    This is not surprising, people of the province have lost trust in this government and want change. I have voted PC for many years including last election but I regret my decision. I will be voting Liberal or NDP next election depending on who presents the better platform. The PCs are out of touch and care nothing for the well being of this province.

  • Torey Nomore
    June 25, 2013 - 09:35

    Could it have anything to do with the millstone Muskrat Falls; the Abitibi fiasco; the Quebec Innu slaughter of the George River herd; the layoffs in public service; the lies, deceit, cover-ups and cozying up to Harper? Do you want more reasons? I cannot vote Tory no-more.