08 Jun 2007

Harper Government Pays Price For Accord Stand In NL And NS

HALIFAX: Satisfaction with the performance of the federal government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper has declined significantly in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia over the past three months, according to the most recent survey conducted by Corporate Research Associates Inc. This decline is most dramatic in Newfoundland and Labrador with the percentage of residents completely or mostly satisfied with the federal government dropping from 47 percent in February to only 17 percent in May of this year.  Conversely, dissatisfaction has risen dramatically, with 78 percent of Newfoundland and Labrador residents completely or mostly dissatisfied with the performance of the federal government (up from 47% three months ago).  In Nova Scotia, satisfaction with the performance of the federal government declined from 50 percent in February to 37 percent in May, while dissatisfaction rose from 41 percent to 56 percent.  In contrast, satisfaction levels in New Brunswick have experienced a very small decline in the past three months (49%, compared with 52%), although dissatisfaction has increased more so (44%, up from 37%). PEI has remained largely divided with 46 percent satisfied (unchanged) and 46 percent dissatisfied (up 3 points).

“The ongoing dispute between the federal government and the provincial governments of Nova Scotia and especially Newfoundland and Labrador has had a significant impact on the public’s overall satisfaction with the federal government” states Don Mills, President and CEO of Corporate Research Associates Inc. “Danny Williams has made good on his promise to hurt the cause of the federal Conservatives in his province, at least in the short term.”

This decline in satisfaction also corresponds to a dramatic decline in support for the federal Conservatives among Newfoundland and Labrador residents, although not among Nova Scotia residents.  Currently, less than two in ten (17%) Newfoundland and Labrador residents support the Conservatives, down from one-half (49%) of residents in February 2007. Both the Liberals (53%, up from 37%) and the NDP (27%, up from 13% in February 2007) have benefited notably from the decline in support for the Tories in Newfoundland and Labrador.  In Nova Scotia, support for the Conservatives is only down two percentage points (30%, compared with 32% three months ago). In New Brunswick, support for the Conservatives remains unchanged at 40 percent, while in PEI support for the Conservatives stands at 35 percent (down from 38%).

Personal popularity of Conservative leader Stephen Harper has also declined dramatically in Newfoundland and Labrador, but only slightly in Nova Scotia. Just over one in ten (13%) Newfoundland and Labrador residents prefer Stephen Harper as Prime Minister, down from four in ten (40%) three months ago. Backing for Jack Layton has almost doubled and currently stands at 30 percent (up from 16%). Preference for Stéphane Dion has also increased and currently stands at 34 percent (up from 27%). In Nova Scotia, one-quarter (26%) of residents back Stephen Harper, down only slightly from 30 percent three months ago. In New Brunswick and PEI, support for Stephen Harper has changed little and stands at 36 and 32 percent, respectively.

These results are part of the CRA Atlantic Quarterly®, an independent survey of Atlantic Canadians, and are based on a sample of 1,509 Atlantic Canadians (404 NL, 401 NS, 401 NB and 303 PEI) adult residents, conducted from May 9 to May 31, 2007. Results are accurate to within +2.5 percentage points, with provincial results accurate to within +4.9 percentage points for NL, NS, and NB and +5.7 percentage points for PEI, 95 out of 100 times.

View tables here.

For more information, please contact: Don Mills, President and CEO at (902) 722-3100

Amanda Bates