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McNeil Liberals regain lead in latest poll of Nova Scotia voters


Premier Stephen McNeil announces $48.8 million on Sept. 4, 2019 for a new interchange along Highway 103 to be cost-shared with the federal government and the town. - Josh Healey
Premier Stephen McNeil announces $48.8 million on Sept. 4, 2019 for a new interchange along Highway 103 to be cost-shared with the federal government and the town. - Josh Healey

A new poll on provincial political support shows Premier Stephen McNeil’s Liberals have opened a bit of a lead over the Conservatives among decided voters.

It’s a good news-bad news situation, though, as half of Nova Scotians are not satisfied with the provincial government.

According to the results from polling firm Narrative Research, support for the Nova Scotia Grits has risen to 39 per cent among decided voters, a rise of eight per cent over the past three months. That’s still down from the 43 per cent who supported the Liberals in August of 2018.

Support for the PCs is down to 28 per cent. They were at 33 per cent in May.

The NDP is down five per cent from its May support, now sitting at 16 per cent among decided voters. The Greens are pretty much even with them, at 15 per cent, up two points.

Margaret Brigley, CEO of Narrative Research, said it’s not clear how much pickup a party might be enjoying as a result of traction from federal government election news and announcements.

“Certainly there’s a lot of discussion in terms of what’s happened with the Green Party federally within the region, as well as even provincially within New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. So, not sure how much that may influence decided voter intentions.”

In the measure of dissatisfaction, 49 per cent are not happy with the performance of the provincial government. In May, that number was 56 per cent.

Brigley said the data showed clear variations in satisfaction based on where the decided voters lived in the province.

“We see that those in Cape Breton express the lowest satisfaction with the government and also when we look at decided voting intentions, it’s interesting that those within the Halifax Regional Municipality are more likely than others elsewhere in the province to indicate that they’d vote Liberal,” Brigley said.

“Within Cape Breton, and within the rest of mainland, it’s pretty much neck-to-neck Liberal and Progressive Conservative, but within Halifax, it’s two-to-one, residents are more likely to vote Liberal than Progressive Conservative.”

The poll also shows that 35 per cent of voters are undecided. A further four per cent declined to state their preference and the same amount, four per cent, do not plan to vote.

Support for the leaders of the parties didn’t change much in three months, with McNeil having the backing of 25 per cent of respondents, compared to 24 per cent in May. Nineteen per cent prefer PC leader Tim Houston, down from 20 per cent. NDP leader Gary Burrill sits at 14 per cent, down from 16. Green Party leader Thomas Trappenburg gained two points to 12 per cent support.

Twenty-four percent of voters are undecided on the matter of leadership, while four per cent prefer none of the leaders, the release said.

Narrative Research’s independent, quarterly telephone survey of Atlantic Canadians is based on a sample of 800 adult Nova Scotians, conducted from July 31 to August 22, 2019, with overall results accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.

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