New Brunswick Election: The NB Power Deal Lingers

Today, we released the results of a province-wide survey on the New Brunswick election.  Election Day is September 27 and our survey found that the race between the Tories and Liberals is close.  The PC Party led by David Alward has a four-point lead over the governing Liberal Party (PC 42%, Liberal 38%).  The NDP is third at 11% with the Green Party running at 6%.  Of the 749 eligible voters who completed the survey, 17% said they were still undecided on who they were going to vote for.

The most notable finding of our survey was the impact the failed deal to sell NB Power to Hydro Quebec is having on the election.  New Brunswickers overwhelmingly oppose the sale of NB Power.  Sixty one per cent (61%) either strongly disagreed or somewhat disagreed that selling NB Power was the right thing to do for the province. Only 35% agreed.  Moreover, when asked what the next government should do with NB Power, 65% said the government should not sell it and keep full control over the power utility.  Only 16% believed the government should try and sell NB power again.

While deciding who to vote for is a complex decision influenced by many factors, survey results indicate that the NB Power deal is a major hurdle for the re-election efforts of Shawn Graham’s Liberal Party.  With half of voters saying the issue is very or somewhat important to their vote choice and most of them opposing the deal, the Liberals are on the wrong side of an important issue.

The data also offers some insight into what the results may have been if the failed sale of NB Power had not happened or had been more successful.  Among the 51% of the New Brunswick electorate who are not engaged on the issue (said it is not important to their vote), 43% said they are voting Liberal while 22% are voting PC.

In other words, the Liberals would probably be cruising to re-election instead of fighting to hold onto power if it was not for the blown NB Power sale.

For those interested in the election, some good resources include:

http://www.cbc.ca/nbvotes – CBC’s election coverage

http://nb.punditsguide.ca/ – a great resource for information on the candidates and ridings

http://www.threehundredeight.blogspot.com/ – election forecasting website

http://nbpolitico.blogspot.com/ – a blog on NB politics

David Coletto is CEO of Abacus Data and leads its Public Affairs research practice. He has a PhD from the University of Calgary and is an adjunct professor at Carleton University.

Contact David Coletto:

T: 613-232-2806 x. 248

E: david@abacusdata.ca

W: http://www.abacusdata.ca

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