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Gap widens in federal voting intentions in Atlantic Canada

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Supplied by Narrative Research

HALIFAX – The federal Liberal Party has widened the gap between Liberal and Conservative decided voter support among Atlantic Canadians, while support for the Green Party has held across the region, according to the most recent survey conducted by Narrative Research.

With the imminent federal election this Fall, overall decided voter support for the governing Liberals has shifted slightly this quarter and now stands at 43% (up from 39% in May 2019, and down from 47% in February 2019). By contrast, decided voter support for the federal Conservatives has dropped to 30% (compared with 36% in May and 35% in February).

“This has been an important quarter for the Liberal Party. The gap in decided voter intentions has grown to 13 points (up from three points in May), and the question will be whether the gap will remain in the months to come,” says Margaret Brigley, CEO of Narrative Research. “Four years ago the Liberal government swept the region taking all 32 seats. Today, Atlantic Canadians are less unanimous about the Party, making the region a more competitive landscape.”

The federal Green Party has held its dominant position over the New Democratic Party in decided support in this region, a position it reached last quarter for the first time ever. Support for the Greens has reached 15%, sustaining its jump to 14% in May, which was up notably from 6% in February. NDP support stands at 10% (compared with 9% in May and 11% in February).

“Findings suggest that in the Maritimes, the NDP may be replaced by the Greens as the main alternative to the Liberals or Conservatives,” says Brigley. “But in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Green Party has not successfully established itself and the NDP has gained traction as the third party of choice.”

On a province-by-province basis, among decided voters, this quarter the Liberals maintain their lead in Nova Scotia, and have assumed a strong lead over the Conservatives in Newfoundland and Labrador. The greatest change in the past quarter has been in New Brunswick where the Liberals have overtaken the Conservatives among decided voters. In Prince Edward Island, the Conservatives hold the lead over the Liberal Party.

Among the roughly four-in-ten Atlantic Canadians who are undecided or won’t say which party they plan to vote for, 19% are leaning towards the Liberals, 16% are leaning towards the Conservatives, 7% are leaning towards the NDP, and 6% towards the Green Party, while 51% of this group remains either undecided (unable to offer a leaning preference) or refuses to state which party they are leaning towards.

Meanwhile, the share of Atlantic Canadians who are satisfied with the performance of the federal Liberal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remains low at 43% (in May it had reached its lowest mark of 41% since the Liberals took power).

In terms of which party leader voters most prefer as prime minister, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is the preferred choice of 31% (compared to 30% in May 2019 and 35% in February). Preference for Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer appears to have waned this past quarter and he is now the choice of 21% (compared to 26% in May and 26% in February). Green Leader Elizabeth May is the choice of 16% (up from 15% in May and 9% in February), and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is preferred by 8% (compared to 9% in May and 6% in February).

“Findings suggest that Andrew Scheer failed to build momentum in the region this past quarter, despite increased scrutiny on the Liberal Party over the SNC Lavalin affair. By contrast, Trudeau has held his position overall as the most preferred leader in the region, despite some differences of opinion across provinces,” says Brigley.

These results are part of Narrative Research’s Atlantic Quarterly®, an independent, quarterly survey of Atlantic Canadians, and are based on a sample of 1,500 adult Atlantic Canadians 18 years of age or older, conducted from July 31 – August 22, 2019, with overall results accurate to within ± 2.5 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.

Narrative Research, www.narrativeresearch.ca, is one of Canada’s leading public opinion and market research companies. Founded in 1978, and formerly known as Corporate Research Associates, Narrative Research is dedicated to providing clients with state-of-the-art research and strategic consulting services. Follow us on Twitter @EveryNarrative.