October 2, 2013 8:18 am
Updated: October 3, 2013 12:54 pm

Voter participation stagnant, while Liberals maintain lead: poll

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that in the latest CRA poll, the Liberal party’s lead over the NDP was 19 percentage points. The actual poll results reflect a lead of 29 percentage points.

HALIFAX – With less than a week left in the Nova Scotia election campaign, pollster Don Mills says two things are clear: voter participation will likely be low, and those who will vote want change.

The Liberals hold a 29-percentage-point lead over the NDP, according to the latest results from a rolling Corporate Research Associates poll conducted for The Chronicle Herald.

Fifty-six per cent of respondents say they’ll vote for the Liberals, 27 per cent favour the NDP, 15 per cent support the Progressive Conservatives, while two per cent are backing the Green Party.

If the NDP government is defeated, it will mark the first time since 1882 voters have kicked a party out of power after just one term in office.

“The NDP have actually been a pretty good government in many respects,” said Mills, chairman and CEO of Corporate Research Associates.

“I think they just got dealt a really bad hand from an economic point of view because we’ve been going sideways for almost five years in terms of the economic environment.”

He said a portion of the people polled are still undecided. While those voters could technically swing the results, Mills said it’s not likely to happen.

“The undecided contain two types of people,” he said. “People who don’t intend to vote,  and people who are going to vote and will vote probably along the lines of the decided.”

While voters could be moving in a new direction, voter apathy is unchanged.

NOVA SCOTIA ELECTION TURNOUT

In 2009 about 58 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot. For this election, Mills expects about 60 per cent participation.

“It’s really terrible, frankly,” he said.

“You know, people really need to participate in the democratic process. I’m hopeful that it’s going to be higher, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Election day is Oct. 8, but there are a already variety of advance polls open to accommodate voters.

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