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Provincial party leaders (from left) NDP Earle McCurdy, Liberal Dwight Ball and PC Paul Davis.
New polling data from Forum Research indicates that the election campaign could be a bit closer than previously thought, with PC Party leader Paul Davis gaining ground on the Liberals.
According to the poll done by Forum on Tuesday evening, the Tories have the support of 29 per cent of decided and leaning voters.
The Liberals still have a huge lead, with 52 per cent of decided and leaning voters, but that’s dropped from 65 per cent in a poll by Forum at the start of the campaign.
The NDP has also gained ground, going from 13 per cent in Forum’s Nov. 6 poll to 19 per cent in the poll conducted this week.
The Forum numbers are a sharp departure from all of the previously released public opinion polling, including surveys done by Abacus Data, MQO, Corporate Research Associates and Forum’s own survey at the start of the campaign.
But Forum’s numbers are much fresher than any of the other data; the poll was done by automated interactive voice response, and surveyed 842 randomly selected people on the evening of Nov. 24.
By comparison, a poll released Monday conducted by Corporate Research Associates showing the Liberals at 67 per cent and the Tories at 22 per cent, was conducted between Nov. 5-22, using live phone interviews.
For more than a week, Davis has been insisting that his party is feeling a shift in momentum, ever since the first televised debate of the campaign, which he was widely seen to have won.
In the second televised debate held on CBC Monday night, Davis was aggressively on the attack, castigating Ball for a platform built on “fantasy” financial projections.
According to the Forum poll, Davis’s disapproval rating stayed solid at 43 per cent, but the number of voters who approve of his performance increased — from 34 per cent back on Nov. 6 to 39 per cent this week.
Ball’s approval rating over the same period stayed basically unchanged, with 45 per cent of people saying they approve of his performance. However, 33 per cent now say they disapprove of his performance compared to 24 per cent who disapproved back at the beginning of the month.
In both Ball and Davis’s cases, the number of people saying they don’t know how they feel about the leader went down.
New Democrat Leader Earle McCurdy’s disapproval rating has increased as the campaign went on; this week 47 per cent of people say they disapprove of his performance, compared to 34 at the start of the election.
When people are asked who’s the best choice for premier of the province, Ball is still winning — but only narrowly. Thirty-four per cent say Ball is the best choice, compared to 30 per cent for Davis and 10 per cent for McCurdy.
Thirty-five per cent don’t know, or say none of the above.
The poll of 842 N.L. voters is considered to have a margin of error of three per cent 19 times out of 20.