Last week’s poll results said it all.
The provincial Progressive Conservative Party is in deep trouble.
The Corporate Research Associates poll indicated that support for the Robert Ghiz-led Liberals rebounded, having gained seven points since August, capturing a 49 per cent approval rating from those Islanders polled.
And those points, it would seem, have been gained at the expense of the Tories.
It was the first poll conducted since what was the implosion of the PC caucus in October. That was when then Tignish-Palmer Road Tory MLA Hal Perry, in a move that shocked most everyone, no matter the political colour, crossed the floor to join the Liberals.
And, the very next day, former party leader Olive Crane was given the boot from Opposition caucus by interim leader Steven Myers.
Perry’s departure and Crane's ousting no doubt, as indicated in this most recent poll, have taken a heavy toll on a party that has, in the past year, been struggling with infighting and what many have called backroom interference.
The ruling Liberals, although 48 per cent polled said they were dissatisfied with the their performance, would have to do something drastic, extremely drastic, to lose the next election unless the Tories can turn things around quickly to rebound.
In this CRA poll, the Tories have plunged to 17 per cent support, a loss of six points since August. And support for Myers as a leader is just as abysmal, with only 12 per cent of those asked lending support to the party’s interim leader.
The Tories are now third, behind the NDP in the polls, even though NDP support has dropped six percentage points to 26 per cent.
Island NDP leader Mike Redmond is holding his own, with the support of 25 per cent of those questioned, more than doubling the support for Myers.
So, with the dust somewhat settled on this fall’s implosion of its caucus, which, undoubtedly has caused a split within the party, what can the Island Progressive Conservative Party do to get those numbers to rise?
Well, putting a reputable, elected leader in place would be a good first step. Who that would be is open for debate.
But, to date, there seems to be no movement afoot to hold a leadership convention.
One thing is for certain, with a provincial election about two years away, the Tories need to do something — and do it fast — if they stand a chance at winning let alone retaining opposition status.