Tories halt decline in support, poll shows

Newfoundland and Labrador's governing Progressive Conservatives have managed to stop the bleeding of voter support, a poll released Wednesday suggests.

Corporate Research Associates found that 46 per cent of decided voters would back a PC candidate if an election was held now. That's up marginally from 45 per cent three months ago.

The NDP received 31 per cent of decided voter support, down two points, while the Liberals gained a point with 23 per cent.

CRA's latest quarterly tracking poll shows that a decline in support that has beleaguered the PCs appears to have levelled out. The Tories had 60 per cent of voter support just a year ago, in the afterglow of winning a third majority term in the October 2011 election.

Premier Kathy Dunderdale, though, appears to still be struggling to regain the confidence of many voters.

CRA, which surveyed 800 adults between Nov. 13 and Dec. 1, found that Dunderdale was the pick of 36 per cent of respondents as the best choice among the political leaders for premier. That is down from 37 per cent in a poll from August, and still substantially less than the 59 per cent of one year ago.

Support for NDP Leader Lorraine Michael dropped two points to 29 per cent from the summer, while Liberal Leader Dwight Ball gained two points, climbing to 18 per cent.

Satisfaction with the Tories has also stabilized. CRA found that 58 per cent of respondents were either completely or mostly satisfied with the party's performance.

CRA pollster Don Mills said the survey shows relatively good news for Dunderdale and the PCs.

"In relative terms, they're doing good," he told CBC News.

"They have come down from a significant height, post-Danny Williams, but it's still positive."

The poll was largely taken in the period leading up to Friday's signing of the term sheet of a federal loan guarantee for Muskrat Falls, and amid often sharp criticism over how the government has handled the hydroelectric project.

"It seems the government has found its footing," Mills said.

The latest CRA poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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