Published Monday September 20th, 2010
Poll: But Liberals aren't getting support lost by Conservatives
FREDERICTON - The race isn't over yet.
The gap in voter support between the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals is narrowing with one week to go before the provincial election.
Conservative support has dipped while the Liberals posted a slight increase, according to the latest rolling poll results carried out by Corporate Research Associates exclusively for the Telegraph-Journal.
The poll, which spans from Sept. 12 to Sept. 18, indicates a seven-point lead for the Conservatives over the Liberals with the Tories garnering 45 per cent of voter support and the Grits receiving 38 per cent.
"The race has tightened somewhat since the debates," said Don Mills, CRA president and CEO.
"The PCs have lost support over the past few days, although the Liberals have not benefited from that lost of support."
Tory support dropped to 45 per cent from 49 per cent, while the Liberals climbed to 38 per cent from 37 per cent.
The New Democrats rose slightly to 10 per cent from nine per cent, the Green Party edged to six per cent from four per cent and the People's Alliance also climbed to one per cent from zero.
The CRA survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 per cent and a sample size of a bit less than 700 voters, also showed the gap in voter preference for leader shrinking.
Tory Leader David Alward remains in the lead with the support of 29 per cent of voters, down from 31 per cent, while Liberal Leader Shawn Graham remained the same at 26 per cent.
Margaret Brigley, executive vice-president of CRA, said in an interview Sunday that Alward's lead is within the margin of error.
"What the results show us is although party and leader preference still appear to be in favour of the Conservatives, the race certainly isn't over yet," she said.
Brigley said the televised debates last week seem to have contributed to the shift in the polls.
"One week ago we saw a gap between the two parties and that gap continued to grow up until the debates," she said.
"The results suggest the debates may have made a difference because the gap is shrinking and we see now again that it is very close."
With seven days to go before voters head to the ballot box, Brigley said both parties need to demonstrate why they deserve a vote.
"There is no doubt that this week will be critical for each of the parties to really demonstrate why their party is best suited to be in power," she said.
NDP Leader Roger Duguay dipped slightly to five per cent from six per cent, while Jack MacDougall of the Greens nudged up to four per cent from three per cent and Kris Austin of the People's Alliance held at one per cent.
The undecided vote for party preference sits at 22 per cent, whereas the undecided vote for leader preference is slightly higher at 27 per cent.