A new poll suggests the MacDonald Tories have fallen into third place, while the NDP are set to win a minority government.
The Corporate Research Associates poll released Tuesday puts the NDP in first with 36 per cent support. The Liberals are next at 31 per cent while the governing Conservatives have 30 per cent.
“The NDP has certainly held rock solid. Their numbers are almost consistent now for six quarters or more,” said CRA president Don Mills.
“We see a real change in support, based on the statistical margin of error, for the Liberals. And we are speculating that it looks like it’s come at the expense mostly of the Tories.”
The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. That puts the Conservatives and Liberals in a statistical dead heat for second place.
The Liberals seem to be luring away Tory support, jumping up four per cent since the last poll in November. The Tories dropped three points in that time.
This is despite Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil having the lowest leader popularity rate at 22 per cent. Premier Rodney MacDonald and NDP Leader Darrell Dexter had 27 and 28 per cent respectively.
“(McNeil) is slowly building his own credibility and it does take a while to build it,” Mills said. “They were pretty low, don’t forget.”
“Over the last year there’s been quite a change in respect for the leader of the Liberal party. So progress has been made. He’s just not as well known because he hasn’t been around as long.”
Still, because of the riding breakdown, Mills said the Liberals aren’t ready for a leadership run by the next election. His company predicts an NDP minority of 22 seats, with the Conservatives as official opposition with 17 and Liberals with 13.
The poll involved 803 Nova Scotians between February 9 and 28.