NS Liberals and PCs neck-and-neck in voter support

  • Liberals lose nearly year-long lead in popular support; now in statistical dead heat with PCs. 
  • Half of Nova Scotians are dissatisfied with Premier Stephen McNeil’s government. 
  • McNeil and Tim Houston also in statistical tie on question of leadership. 

HALIFAX, NS March 6, 2019: After leading in the opinion polls for almost a year, Nova Scotia’s governing Liberals are now in a statistical tie with the Progressive Conservative opposition in terms of voter support, according to the latest survey by Corporate Research Associates Inc.  

Among decided voters, 37% of Nova Scotians support the Liberal Party led by Premier Stephen McNeil (compared to 38% last November), while the PC Party led by Tim Houston is backed by 34% (up from 31% in November). Twenty-four percent (unchanged) support the New Democrats led by Gary Burrill and 5% favour the Green Party led by Thomas Trappenberg (compared to 6%). 

One year ago, in February 2018, popular support for the parties virtually mirrored what it is today. That was followed by months of Liberal gains over the PCs – a gap that has now all but disappeared. Meanwhile, one-third of Nova Scotians, 33%, are undecided about which party they would support if an election were held today, 5% refuse to state which party they support, and 4% do not plan to vote. 

Asked about their satisfaction with the overall performance of the McNeil government, more than half of Nova Scotians, 53%, are dissatisfied (up from 48% in November), and 41% are satisfied (down from 46%). Five percent don’t have an answer to the question, and 2% are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. 

The Liberal and PC leaders are also statistically tied on the question of which leader Nova Scotians would most prefer as premier, with the Liberals’ McNeil favoured by 26% (compared with 28% in November) and the PC’s Houston preferred by 24% (compared with 22%). The NDP’s Gary Burrill is the choice of 15% (compared to 18%), Green Party leader Thomas Trappenberg is supported by 4% (compared to 5%) and Ryan Smith of the Atlantica Party is favoured by 1% (unchanged). 

One-quarter of Nova Scotians, 25%, cannot identify who they would prefer to see as premier, while 4% support none of the leaders. 

These results are part of the CRA Atlantic Quarterly®, an independent, quarterly telephone survey of Atlantic Canadians, and are based on a sample of 803 adult Nova Scotians, conducted from January 31 to February 21, 2019, with overall results accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.  

Corporate Research Associates (CRA), www.cra.ca, is one of Canada’s leading public opinion and market research companies. Founded in 1978, CRA is dedicated to providing clients with state-of-the-art research and strategic consulting services. Follow us on Twitter @CRAInsight.  


For more information, please contact:  

Margaret Chapman, COO and Partner, CRA, at (902) 493-3834, mchapman@cra.ca 
Richard Foot, Manager, Atlantic Quarterly®, at (902) 493-3826, rfoot@cra.ca