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Nova Scotia Liberals keep high approval rate in 2nd coronavirus wave

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil takes questions from reporters during a COVID-19 briefing in Halifax on Nov. 3, 2020. Communications Nova Scotia

New research shows the approval rating of the Nova Scotia Liberal government is now slightly higher than pre-COVID-19.

Approval rates for Premier Stephen McNeil, who announced his resignation in August, also remained stable, according to a new report by Narrative Research.

The report, conducted in November with 800 respondents, says satisfaction with the government is at 73 per cent this quarter, compared to 48 per cent in February.

Nova Scotia, alongside its former Atlantic bubble partners, received praise globally for leading the province through the coronavirus pandemic and maintaining a relatively low number of confirmed cases.

Read more: Nova Scotia reports 9 new cases of COVID-19, ready to receive Pfizer vaccine

CEO of Narrative Research Margaret Brigley said this has been a challenging time to govern.

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“With an increase in COVID-19 caseloads and some evidence of community spread, the government has introduced difficult restrictions on businesses that significantly impact residents,” she said in a release.

“Despite those actions, the levels of overall satisfaction enjoyed by the provincial government since the pandemic are unprecedented, suggesting Nova Scotians are generally supportive of the government actions.”

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Coronavirus: Nova Scotia extending winter break for public schools, Premier says – Dec 11, 2020

According to the report, McNeil continues to be Nova Scotians’ top choice for premier, although a new leader is set to be elected Feb. 6.

McNeil announced on Aug. 6 that he would be retiring because he’s “tired,” “it’s time,” and he believes that changes in leadership are important to political parties and government.

Read more: ‘It’s time for someone else’: N.S. Premier Stephen McNeil stepping down from public office

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The report says 43 per cent of respondents indicated McNeil was the preferred candidate, while PC leader Tim Houston got 16 per cent of the vote indication.

Forty-nine per cent of respondents indicated they would vote Liberal in the next election.

–With a file from Elizabeth McSheffrey