Will New Brunswick be the next province to elect a Liberal government when voters head to the polls in September?
Liberal parties are on a roll at the provincial level, with three consecutive victories in Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario (four with British Columbia, though the B.C. Liberal Party is more closely associated with the federal Conservatives). They could continue that winning streak in New Brunswick, which is scheduled to hold its next election on September 22.
The Progressive Conservative government of David Alward, elected in 2010, is on the ropes according to the polls. The Tories have not led in any poll since November-December 2012, and managed only 28 per cent support in the last survey by the Corporate Research Associates conducted in May.
That compares quite poorly to the 49 per cent the party took in 2010, when the Liberals under Shawn Graham were defeated after just one term in office.
Under new leader Brian Gallant, who at 32 is more than two decades younger than the 54-year-old premier, the Liberals have rebounded. The last poll put the party at 53 per cent support, the highest they have managed since before the last election. In the past year, the Liberals have averaged a lead of almost 20 points over the Tories.
Despite his youth and relative inexperience, Gallant is the favoured person to be premier by about one-third of New Brunswickers, compared to just 20 per cent for Alward. The PC leader, with 29 per cent approval in the most recent Angus Reid Global poll, is one of the least popular premiers in the country.
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UP NEXT: Trudeau-McNeil 'Bromance'
Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil, right, arrive at the Public Gardens to meet with supporters in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On May 24, 2013 Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil was joined by Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau for a day in Halifax and a rally at Pier 21
UP NEXT: Memorable Trudeau Photos
Come At Me, Bro
Justin Trudeau trains at Pan Am Boxing Club in Winnipeg on Friday Feb. 1, 2013.
Justin Trudeau & co. making faces.
Justin Trudeau splits his pants while pushing the "scrum machine" in support of Prostate Cancer Canada in Toronto Thursday, July 21, 2011.
Justin Trudeau gets his geek on at Montreal Comiccon in September 2012.
So Long 'Stache
Justin Trudeau has his moustache shaved off to raise money for the Judy LaMarsh Fund, that supports female candidates, at the Liberal Party convention in Ottawa on Saturday, January 14, 2012.
Coming For MacKay
Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay (left) is chased by Liberal MP Justin Trudeau in a motorized wheelchair during a wheelchair race relay on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 12, 2010. Twenty-five MPs and senators used a wheelchair for the day in support of the Canadian Paraplegic Association's Spinal Cord Injury and CPA awareness month.
All For One, One For All
Justin Trudeau all dressed up for the Montreal Movember Gala in 2010.
Pierre Trudeau's sons, Sacha, left, and Justin, tackle their mother's paperboy in Ottawa in this undated photo.
'Family... And A Cow.'
He Can Certainly Take A Punch
Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau delivers a right hook to his older brother Justin during a play fight in 1980 at Ottawa airport as the boys await a flight with the return of their father, then-prime minister, Pierre Trudeau.
Be Honest With Me, Who's Cuter?
Justin Trudeau strikes a pose with an adorable baby.
A Very Furry Christmas
Justin Trudeau poses with his family on his 2010 Christmas card.
Former Liberal MP Ken Dryden, left, and Justin Trudeau play table hockey as they visit Sun Youth, a community organization, Monday, Jan. 14, 2008 in Montreal.
Yanking Their Chain
Then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau, left, watches as his 11-year-old son Justin swings on a chain during a tour of an old fort in the Omani town of Nizwa Dec. 2, 1983. Trudeau and Justin spent the day visiting the towns of Jebel and Nizwa 165 kilometres south of Muscat.
The writing may thus be on the wall for the Progressive Conservatives, as Atlantic Canada continues to turn a deep shade of red. The Liberals hold sway in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, and are leading in the polls in Newfoundland and Labrador as well. The federal Liberals, under Justin Trudeau, routinely garner majority support in polls done in the region.
But incumbents have a habit of being difficult to defeat, and Gallant will be leading his party into a campaign for the first time.
The other rookie leader will be Dominic Cardy of the New Democrats, who currently hold no seats in the legislature. The party was experiencing a surge of support in 2013, displacing the PCs in second-place in one poll. But their support peaked in the first half of the year, at between 26 and 27 per cent. That dropped to 21 per cent in February 2014, and decreased again to 16 per cent in the survey from May.
The New Democrats appear to be going through the same sort of transformation that the NDP has undergone in other jurisdictions. In Ontario, Andrea Horwath earned criticism from within her party for her move to the centre, and Cardy has suffered the same rebukes. But the NDP leader appears to be making an attempt at expanding the reach of the party, and one former Liberal and one current PC MLA will be carrying the party flag in September.
An issue that could emerge to be of great significance in the campaign is abortion. It is very difficult to get the procedure in the province, as it is only covered by the provincial government if it takes place in a hospital and there is written agreement by two physicians that it is "medically necessary." Obtaining an abortion is slated to get even tougher, as the only private clinic in the province is scheduled to be shut down this summer (though a fundraising campaign has been launched to save it).
The PCs stand by the province's restrictive regulations, and the Liberals have promised only to review the law. The NDP, however, wants to repeal them and get New Brunswick in line with the rest of the country. If Cardy can make enough noise about the issue, he may put Alward and Gallant in an awkward position.
But at this stage, the election appears to be the Liberals' to lose. Momentum certainly seems to be on the party's side.
Éric Grenier taps The Pulse of federal and regional politics for Huffington Post Canada readers every week. Grenier is the author of ThreeHundredEight.com, covering Canadian politics, polls and electoral projections.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported that the former Liberal premier of New Brunswick was Stephen Graham. In fact, it was Shawn Graham.
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