By David Coletto
On Friday we released the vote intention of eligible voters in Newfoundland and Labrador from the random telephone survey we conducted with VOCM on provincial politics in the province.
Today, we release the full report on the provincial politics portion of the survey. Tomorrow we will release our look at federal politics in the province.
Direction of the Province and Time for Change
Despite an 11-point drop in support for the incumbent Progressive Conservative Party, eligible voters in NL are more likely to say that things in Newfoundland and Labrador are headed in the right direction than off on the wrong track. This is an improvement in the overall mood of the province since March.
However, when about their feelings about a change in government, a majority of voters (59%) felt that it is definitely time for a change in government in Newfoundland and Labrador. Another 21% thought it would be good to have change, but that it was really not that important to them. 20% of respondents thought it was either definitely best to keep the PCs in office or that it would be good to continue with the same party in power, but that it’s not that important to them – a difficult climate for a government looking to earn a fourth straight mandate from voters.
Respondents were asked what the most important issue facing Newfoundland and Labrador was unprompted. There was no consensus choice but the economy and jobs, health care, and the budget deficit were the top three elected issues. Other issues identified by respondents included oil prices, the fishery, natural resources, and infrastructure.
After asking respondents to identify their top issue, we asked respondents which NL political party is best able to deal with the issue. Overall, 35% of respondents believed the Liberals would best handle the issue they thought was most important while 19% selected the PC Party and 15% picked the NDP. 22% were unsure while 8% said none of the parties could handle the issue they thought was most important.
On the top three issues, the Liberals lead on which party is best able to deal with the economy, health care, and the deficit.
The HST Increase
The survey also asked respondents whether they felt the proposed 2-point HST increase scheduled for January 2016 should be cancelled if the price of oil continues to increase. Half of respondents (51%) stated that the increase should be cancelled no matter what happens to oil, while roughly a quarter (25%) felt it should be cancelled if the price of oil does in fact continue to increase. Only 16% felt the HST should increase regardless to help manage the deficit.
Party Leader Impressions
Liberal Leader Dwight Ball is viewed much more positively than PC Leader and Premier Paul Davis and somewhat more positively than NDP Leader Earle McCurdy. Over four in ten eligible voters in NL have a positive impression of the NL Liberal Leader while only 16% view him negatively. His net +28 rating is significantly better than the net +2 rating for the Premier, Paul Davis and the net +17 for NDP Leader Earle McCurdy.
In his own right, Paul Davis’ personal numbers remain positive although they have softened since March.
The new NDP Leader Earle McCurdy is viewed positively by many voters. Thirty-six percent have a positive impression of him compared with 19% who view him negatively. Although 11% are unsure about him, that is relatively low considering the short time he has been NDP leader.
Since our last survey in March 2015, Mr. Ball’s personal numbers have only changed slightly with his positive rating down three points (from 47% to 43%) and his negatives only up three percentage points. In contrast, Mr. Davis’ personal numbers are have worsened somewhat. While his positive numbers are unchanged, his negative numbers are up four percentage points since March.
Assessing the Opposition Parties
Although the provincial Liberals and NDP scored similarly across most of the tested statements regarding how they would handle themselves in office, there was a key difference in how they were perceived as leaders.
While 63% of respondents felt the Liberals were ready to be government, just 37% felt the same about the NDP.
The random live-interview telephone survey commissioned by VOCM was conducted with 722 eligible voters living in Newfoundland and Labrador. The survey was completed from June 17 to 21, 2015. The margin of error for a probability-based random sample of 500 respondents using a probability sample is +/- 3.7%, 19 times out of 20.
The data was statistically weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched population of Newfoundland and Labrador. The tables within this report detail the weighted and unweighted counts for the sample.
Note the small sample sizes when reviewing results in subgroups.
For more information about the poll’s methodology or the results, please contact David Coletto, CEO at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 613-232-2806.
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