Ten years after 9/11, the legacy of the special bond between stranded passengers and their local hosts remains strong

Poll position:
X to mark the spot in N.L., P.E.I.

Voters in two Atlantic provinces go to the polls in October to elect new governments, with both incumbents boasting big leads and big majorities heading into the campaigns.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Progressive Conservatives are seeking a third term. But this time they will be led by Kathy Dunderdale, not the wildly-popular Danny Williams. Under Williams, the Tories garnered 70 per cent of the popular vote in the last election and 44 of the legislature’s 48 seats. That level of support has dropped under Dunderdale, according to recent public-opinion polling by Halifax-based Corporate Research Associates, to a still-healthy 57 per cent of decided voters as of June.

The race took a twist in August when Liberal Leader Yvonne Jones announced her resignation from the party’s top job. Jones — who publicly fought breast cancer for the previous year — stepped down on the advice of doctors, just two months before election day. Her departure led to a mad, five-day scramble that saw the party executive select veteran former cabinet minister Kevin Aylward from a field of seven hopefuls.

Meanwhile, the provincial NDP hopes to make gains from their traditional one-seat stronghold in downtown St. John’s. This spring’s Orange Wave saw the party sweep both federal seats in the capital city. Provincially, the NDP has a slate of strong local candidates in place, and recent polling put them neck and neck with the Liberals for second place.

Meanwhile, on Prince Edward Island, it’s the Robert Ghiz-led Liberals with a commanding majority (24 seats to two for the PCs, with one vacancy). According to CRA, the Grits had a 16-point edge in decided voters’ support over the Olive Crane-led PCs this June, down from a 37-point advantage in the previous polling period. The number of undecided voters remained high, however, at 40 per cent.

Polling day in P.E.I. is Oct. 3. Voters in Newfoundland and Labrador mark their X on Oct. 11.

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