HALIFAX - A provincial election is expected next year in Nova Scotia as the province's NDP government closes in on its fourth year in power.

Pollster Don Mills says Premier Darrell Dexter's party has been trailing the Opposition Liberals since September.

Mills, CEO of Corporate Research Associates, says Dexter hasn't delivered on the new type of government people were looking for when the NDP assumed power in June 2009.

He says the NDP government -- like other provincial governments across the country -- has been hobbled by a slumping economy.

Mills says the next election will likely focus on pocketbook issues, such as electricity rates.

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie has promised to freeze rates if elected.

Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil says his party will break up Nova Scotia Power's monopoly.

David Johnson, a professor at Cape Breton University, says the NDP has also been hurt by its decision to raise taxes and failing to balance the books for three consecutive years.

Dexter says the province's fortunes are about to change for the better with several megaprojects waiting in the wings.