07 June 2011

Dunderdale disapproval doubles; Tory vote drops to 44%

What a difference a federal election can make to provincial poll results.

According to the latest Angus-Reid poll,  43% of respondents are satisfied with Kathy Dunderdale’s performance as premier down from 55% in February and 67% for her predecessor last November.

Undecided remains at 35% of those polled.

But here’s the thing:  Those who said they were dissatisfied with Dunderdale’s performance went from 10% in February to 23%.

That trending is bad news for Danny Williams’ hand-picked replacement.

News for the Tories doesn’t get any better from Corporate Research Associates who conducted their quarterly omnibus poll from May 11 to May 28.  Margin of error for the poll is 4.9%. CRA polling seems to inflate Conservative vote in the province by anywhere up to 15 or 20 percentage points and deflate the undecided and will not vote categories by a comparable percentage.

Forty four percent (44%) of respondents said they would vote for Dunderdale’s provincial Conservatives if an election were held tomorrow. That’s down from 56% in February and 51% from last November.

“Undecided” (including refused to state and won’t vote) in the CRA poll reportedly held at 23%. It hit 31% in November just before Danny Williams announced his resignation.

So where did those ex-Tory voters go in the CRA poll?  Liberal support increased from 11% in November 2010 to 16% in the most recent poll.  The New Democrats picked up the most, going from 6% in February to 15% in May.  But here’s the thing:  before that they were hovering at 5%. 

Kathy Dunderdale and the Conservatives were already trending downward anyway.  Hitching her star to Stephen Harper didn’t seem to help the Premier’s standing with voters.  Meanwhile, the strong showing of the New Democrats in the metro St. John’s area federally seems to have been carried over in CRA’s polling.

While local media and the New Democrats will likely be torquing these results based primarily on CRA’s misleading way of reporting its research, whether the New Democrats can hang on to those numbers without help from Jack Layton remains to be seen.

What you can say is this:

  1. Kathy Dunderdale and the provincial Conservatives are in serious political trouble.  Voter support for her and her party is on the way down, continuing trends that go back about a year.
  2. At the very best, voters remain uneasy about Kathy Dunderdale. At the very worst, Angus-Reid numbers suggest there is growing opposition to her leadership. If the trending in that poll continues, Dunderdale’s satisfaction numbers will be 31% with 35% unsatisfied and another 35% unsure.
  3. At the same, voters are unsure about the opposition parties.  While the NDP seem to be having a small flourish, the numbers are nothing to write home about, especially after a prolonged period below 10%.  Meanwhile, the Liberals under Yvonne Jones have shown some modest progress over time. In CRA’s poll, both Michael and Jones are neck and neck which is pretty much where they have been for most intents and purposes for years.  Dunderdale is in a sad spot:  41% of respondents think she is the right leader for the province.

Bottom line:  People aren’t sure about Dunderdale and the Conservatives but they also aren’t sure about the other two leaders and their parties.

There’s a long time to October and any of a number of things could change the political landscape in the province dramatically one way or the other. 

- srbp -