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Tories take big lead in poll of Newfoundland and Labrador voters

Progressive Conservative Leader Paul Davis.
Progressive Conservative Leader Paul Davis.

Unless you’re a Tory politician, Thursday’s poll results from MQO Research came as an unpleasant reality check.

Dwight Ball

The Liberal government led by Premier Dwight Ball is deeply unpopular. The NDP is basically a non-factor. The Progressive Conservatives are riding high, despite being without a permanent leader and less than two years removed from being tossed out of office by the voters.

Earle McCurdy

If an election were held today, according to the MQO poll, the Tories would get 48 per cent of the vote, the Liberals would get 35 per cent and the NDP would get 16 per cent.

Fully one-third of the 600 respondents said they were undecided, and another 10 per cent said they didn’t know who to vote for, or they refused to say who they would vote for.

Ball is consistently unpopular. When asked to rate his performance on a scale of 1 to 10, 77 per cent of respondents gave him a five or less.

Ball said he’s had to make unpopular decisions because of the province’s financial problems, but things are getting better on that front.

“It’s coming together and, you know, it takes a while sometimes for everyone to actually see how it impacts them personally,” he said. “There’s been significant progress made. The polls are not reflecting that, as of yet, but my job is to manage the affairs of the province, and not to be governed by polls.”

Opposition Leader Paul Davis said the numbers are encouraging for the Tories. He said he interprets the numbers as a combination of voter anger against the Liberals, and support for what the Tories have been doing.

“We’ve worked hard to earn back the support of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We’ve been working hard to bring forward the issues and concerns that people are expressing to us,” he said.

“This tells me we have to continue to work hard to earn the trust of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”

NDP Leader Earle McCurdy acknowledged the numbers are disappointing, considering the fact the NDP is the only party that wasn’t in charge at any point during the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric boondoggle.

“We have to hang in there, and who knows what circumstances will be like in a year’s time? And more to the point, in two years’ time?” he said.

“As we get closer to the reality of the impact of Muskrat Falls on power rates, that will become more of an issue. Obviously, at the moment the Tories are escaping being tarnished with that. I don’t think that will last indefinitely.”    

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