While it may not be surprising to see another poll put the NDP in first place with eight days before the provincial election, some might be taken aback by big that lead has become.
The NDP have 44 per cent support according to a CBC-sponsored Corporate Research Associates poll released yesterday. It is the first public opinion poll to imply the NDP have a strong chance at a majority government.
While the NDP gained seven points from a poll released two weeks ago, both other major parties dropped. The Liberals fell from 31 to 28 per cent. The Tories went from 30 to 26 per cent.
The poll was conducted from May 18 to 30 and is considered accurate within 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
In 1999 John Hamm won a majority government with just 39.2 per cent of the vote. But much of the NDP support is concentrated in metro Halifax. Even if the NDP manages 44 per cent of the vote, it could be held to a minority government.
But what is looking more and more secure is an NDP victory of some form, according to CRA pollster Don Mills.
“Something big has to change (for the NDP to lose),” Mill said. “That’s a big gap to make up in a week.”
The other parties will have a couple of opportunities to win back points with voters. Today the three leaders meet for the second leaders’ debate of the campaign.
There is also a roundtable discussion with CTV anchor Steve Murphy Thursday. Mills said if any party has a chance to chip away NDP support it is likely the Liberals.
NDP Leader Darrell Dexter doesn’t generally comment on polls but did take a moment yesterday to say he wasn’t reading too far into this one.
“I have never seen a basketball player who celebrated after the third quarter,” he said.