Newfoundland and Labrador Liberals and PCs are statistically tied as the cost of living and healthcare are in focus

From September 19 to 25, 2023, Abacus Data conducted a representative online survey of 500 adults living in Newfoundland and Labrador. The survey asked questions about both federal and provincial politics. This is the second report looking at provincial politics. On Thursday we released a look at federal politics in the province.

If a provincial election was held today, the NL Liberals would get 40% of the vote followed by the PCs at 38% and the NDP at 21%. Compared with the results of the last provincial election, the Liberals are down 8, the PCs down 1 and the NDP is up 13.

The Liberals are well ahead in western Newfoundland and Labrador, while the PCs are well ahead in eastern and central Newfoundland. On the Avalon Peninsula, the Liberals and PCs are statistically tied.

Demographically, the Liberals are ahead among women while the PCs lead among men. The PCs have a lead among those aged 45 to 59 while the Liberals are well ahead among those aged 60 and over. The two parties are about even among younger residents with the NDP doing best among those under 30.

When asked to rate the overall performance of the provincial government led by Andrew Furey, 37% approve while 35% disapprove. This is much better than how people feel about the performance of the federal government where 26% approve and 49% disapprove.

Views of the party leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador are all net positive. Premier Furey’s net favourable rating is +5 with 38% having a positive impression and 33% having a negative view.

NDP leader Jim Dinn’s net favourable is +17 with 30% positive and 13% negative. Interim PC Party leader David Brazil has a net favourable of +14 with 28% positive and 14% negative.

The top issues in the province are overwhelmingly the cost of living and healthcare. When asked to select the top three issues facing the province, 84% select the cost of living, 74% select healthcare, and 43% select housing affordability.

Cost of living is a top issue because so many residents are either living paycheque to paycheque or falling behind.

When asked to rate the provincial government’s performance in several policy areas, evaluations were mixed when it comes to education, growing the economy, and improving infrastructure. Views were more decidedly negative when it comes to managing the healthcare system, dealing with housing, and responding to the rising cost of living.

When asked specifically what is to blame for the rising close of living, NL residents point to multiple factors, but far more believe companies charging more to make more profits deserves much of the blame. Decisions by the federal government and Prime Minister Trudeau, global supply chain shortages, and the pandemic are also frequently cited as major factors. Only 1 in 5 NL residents think decisions made by the provincial government and Premier Andrew Furey are to blame a lot.

When asked which factor is most to blame, 36% blame companies charging more to make more profit, 31% blame decisions by the federal government and Justin Trudeau., 16% blame the COVID-19 pandemic while only 3% blame decisions by the provincial government.

The PC Party Leadership Election

About 1 in 5 residents say they are following the PC Party leadership election very or somewhat closely. Among those who support the PC Party currently, that rises to 29%.

When asked their views on the three leadership candidates, most said they either didn’t know the candidates well enough to have an opinion or had a neutral impression.

Tony Wakeham had the highest awareness and net favourable while Lloyd Parrot had the lowest familiarity, and Manning had has the lowest net favourable.

Among PC supporters (not members), the results were somewhat similar. While PC supporters were more familiar with the candidates, impressions of all three candidates were generally positive. Tony Wakeham had more intensely positive views than the other two but Wakeham (+33), Manning (+31), and Parrot (+25) all had quite favourable net impressions.

When PC supporters were asked which candidate they would vote for if they were voting in the leadership election, 29% selected Wakeham, 16% Manning, and 7% Parrot. 48% said they didn’t know who they would vote for.

The Upshot

According to Abacus Data Chair & CEO David Coletto“Like in other jurisdictions across Canada, the cost of living is the focus for people living in Newfoundland and Labrador and no government is immune from it’s impact on political support.

Almost most residents feel that the provincial government is not handling that issue well, Premier Furey’s approval rating remains above water – more approve than disapprove. This is in sharp contrast with how people feel about the federal government and Prime Minister Trudeau.

Premier Furey is generally well liked half-way into his second term as premier.

If an election was held today, it’s likely that we would see none of the parties winning an outright majority of seats as the Liberal vote share is down, the PC vote is steady with the last election while the NDP vote is up significantly.

So far, it appears the PC leadership election has not captivated the province. But if PC supporters had their choice, Tony Wakeham is the more favoured candidate.”

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The survey was conducted with 500 adults living in Newfoundland and Labrador from September 19 to 25, 2023. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 4.5%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Newfoundland and Labrador’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

This survey was paid for by Abacus Data Inc.

Abacus Data follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here:


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