New Brunswick’s Blaine Higgs has highest approval rating among premiers in Canada: poll

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New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs has the highest approval rating among premiers in Canada, according to the results of a new poll from the Angus Reid Institute.

The poll covers the past three months, a time period that encapsulates Canada’s response to COVID-19.

All of the premiers included in the poll have seen a jump in popularity since the last poll in February.

READ MORE: Approval of prime minister, premiers soars amid coronavirus response — Ipsos poll

Higgs, who sits at 80 per cent approval, has shepherded his province through the pandemic with no deaths so far.

The level of support means Higgs is the most approved of premier in not just Atlantic Canada but across the country.

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New Brunswick has recently entered the yellow phase of its COVID-19 recovery plan, which permits many businesses to reopen, although strict physical distancing must be followed.

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Approval for Higgs has shot up by 32 percentage points over the past three months, earning him the highest level of support he’s ever received in the poll since he formed government in 2018.

Nova Scotia’s Stephen McNeil has also seen a large bump, with his approval climbing to 63 per cent.

He has not experienced this level of support in the Angus Reid poll since June 2014, when he had 66 per cent of residents behind him.

In February 2020, McNeil had just 28 per cent approval in the province.

READ MORE: New Brunswick legislature adjourns as at least 3 MLAs return home after new coronavirus cases

Nova Scotia has been the hardest hit province in Atlantic Canada.

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As of May 28, there have been 1,055 cases of COVID-19 in the province and 59 deaths.

Despite announcing his resignation only weeks before the pandemic began, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball has an approval of 57 per cent, a jump from the 26 per cent support he held in February.

The data matches with a general trend of support for the Atlantic region’s premiers during the pandemic.

A poll conducted by Ipsos in April 2020 found that 77 per cent of Atlantic Canadians approved of their own premier’s handling of the crisis.

As a result of its small population, the data on Prince Edward Island isn’t released by Angus Reid.

The organization said the small population precludes drawing discrete samples.

Angus Reid conducted the poll of a randomized sample of 5,001 adults across Canada.

The poll of New Brunswick has a margin of error of ± 6.4 per cent, Nova Scotia has a margin of error of ± 5.7 per cent and Newfoundland and Labrador has a margin error of ± 6.1 per cent

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

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