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New poll suggest Higgs Tories carry lead into early September

ADAM HURAS Sep 9, 2020

A new poll suggests the Higgs Progressive Conservatives have carried a lead into early September.

The survey from Toronto-based Oraclepoll Research is sponsored by several New Brunswick conservation groups in order to poll respondents on their support for conserving forests and protecting critical habitat.

But it also asks for voting intentions.

The findings suggest the Tories have the backing of42 per cent of decided voters.

The Liberals trail in second with 33 per cent.

The poll suggests the Greens have 18 per cent support, the New Democrats six per cent and the People’s Alliance two per cent.

The survey was completed during the first week of September, representing the freshest polling data to date.

The poll also breaks down support by demographic, suggesting support for the Tories is strongest with New Brunswick males, those over 55 years old, higher earners, and English speakers.

The Liberals do best with those 45 to 54 years old, those who earn between $50,000 and $74,999, females and francophone voters.

The Greens lead in support from younger residents and lower income earners, according to the poll.

Respondents were also asked an open-ended question without specific choices about what they consider to be the most important issue to them as a voter, with roughly 36 per cent answering issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That was followed by 22 per cent raising various health care concerns, including cuts. Jobs and the economy ranked next.

The poll, sponsored by the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, then asked a series of questions about the environment.

The poll found 87 per cent of respondents want the next New Brunswick government to follow through on the Progressive Conservative commitment to protect 10 per cent of the province by the end of the year.

A total of 68 per cent of respondents then supported conserving 25 per cent of the province by 2025.

When asking voters to identify the top environmental issues facing New Brunswick, climate change and protecting waterways were the most cited.

Sixty-eight per cent said it is important that future protected areas safeguard critical habitat for fish and wildlife, while 70 per cent said new protected areas should provide enhanced outdoor recreation opportunities.

The survey is a sample of 500 adult New Brunswick residents with a margin of error plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.

The poll was conducted by telephone with live person-to person operators at an Oraclepoll call centre facility.

The data was collected between Sept. 1 and Sept. 3.

The full survey can be viewed on ASF.CA