Support for Nova Scotia’s NDP government remains strong, but it’s waning, according to a new poll.

Forty-six per cent of Nova Scotians would vote for the NDP if an election were held today, down seven percentage points from November and 14 points from August, according to the latest poll released by Halifax-based Corporate Research Associates.

In that same period, the Liberals rose eight points to 26 per cent. Support for the Progressive Conservatives rose six points to 22 per cent.

CRA president Don Mills believes the numbers may reflect the NDP expending some of its political capital — capital he says it will need for the upcoming budget.

“Nova Scotians took a fairly significant leap of faith to elect a government that had never been in government before. And the expectations were very high,” Mills said. “The erosion of confidence in the government to do a different kind of government is starting to be fairly evident.”

Mills said the drop in satisfaction is indicative of that erosion.

In August 2009, 61 per cent of Nova Scotians surveyed were satisfied with the government. In this new poll, the number is down to 49 per cent, with 41 per cent of respondents mostly or completely dissatisfied with the government’s performance.

Premier Darrell Dexter’s popularity also took a hit, but remains the preferred choice for leader at 35 per cent, followed by Stephen McNeil of the Liberals at 26 per cent.

The next leader of the Progressive Conservatives, to be determined this fall, was favoured by 11 per cent.

“Mr. Dexter’s numbers are still pretty good,” Mills pointed out. “While they’ve dropped … they’re still higher than they were before the (2009) election.”

The poll results are based on the responses of 807 Nova Scotians conducted from Feb. 9-24, and is accurate within 3.4 percentage points.

Poll results

Voter Intention
Aug. 2009 Nov. 2009 Feb. 2010
NDP 60% 53% 46%
Liberal 18% 22% 26%
Conservative 16% 21% 22%

Leader Popularity
Aug. 2009 Nov. 2009 Feb. 2010
Darrell Dexter 50% 44% 35%
Stephen McNeil 12% 21% 26%
Next PC Leader 10% 12% 11%
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