The governing PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador’s popularity among voters is starting to wane for the first time in eight years.
And is it any wonder following the resignation of former PC premier Danny Williams – likely the most popular politician this province has ever produced with approval ratings up over 80 per cent at times. And he dragged the party itself up the approval ladder. The latest Corporate Research Associates (CRA) poll indicates the PCs would now only generate 49 per cent support from the electorate. And new leader Kathy Dunderdale has slipped from 75 per cent approval rating last November, to now 60 per cent.
There is speculation among some political pundits that party heavyweights – Jerome Kennedy, Tom Marshall, Darin King, etc. – decided to sit back and let Mrs. Dunderdale weather the post-Danny popularity drop for the PCs before campaigning for the leadership.
Mrs. Dunderdale suggested herself the Muskrat Falls debate, federal Conservative cutbacks in this province, fish plant closures and now the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Mill concerns have impacted the party’s, as well as her own, popularity.
Perhaps a contributing factor to the decline is Mrs. Dunderdale’s apparent aloofness when dealing with these issues, particularly the fish plant closures.
Mrs. Dunderdale suggested herself the Muskrat Falls debate, federal Conservative cutbacks in this province, fish plant closures and now the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Mill concerns have impacted the party’s, as well as her own, popularity. -
The numbers show though she remains among the top three in approval ratings for premiers across Canada. Some premiers and other governing parties around the world would love to have 50 per cent support of their electorate.
Media reports have attempted to show a long-term trend with a downward tendency in the numbers.
Two noticeable points in the survey is one, the continued surge of the NDP, now standing at 33 per cent among decided voters. It’s the federal ‘Jack Layton effect’ still impacting on Canadian politics.
The other is the low appeal of the once dominant Liberal party now at 18 per cent of decided voters. Liberal leader Dwight Ball’s hope to attract a fair share of the 30 per cent listed as undecided is also stretching it a bit.
The real poll numbers though to be excited about will come in a little over three years from now, when the next provincial election is held (2015). But the real intrigue will likely come before then though, when the PC party decides whether it wants to keep Mrs. Dunderdale as its leader.
Reprinted from the Southern Gazette, by George Macvicar, editor