Canada election poll shows tight battle for second

Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:14pm EDT
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VANCOUVER (Reuters) - The Conservative Party holds a wide lead heading into the May 2 election, with the trailing New Democrats and Liberals in a statistical tie, according to a poll released on Sunday.

The Nanos Research tracking poll of results for three days of surveys put support for the Conservatives at 38.6 percent, up from 37.8 percent in a Nanos poll released on Friday.

Support for the Liberals fell slightly to 25.9 percent from 26.1 percent in Friday's poll.

The left-leaning New Democrats, who have seen their support jump since the mid-election leadership debates, have 23.2 percent of decided voters behind them. That is down slightly from the 23.7 percent support in Friday's survey.

Factoring in the survey's statistical margin of error, the Liberals and NDP are now statistically tied.

Nanos said the separatist Bloc Quebecois, which runs candidates only in Quebec, continues to slide. It holds first place in the province with 30.3 percent, with the NDP second at 26.8 percent. That is also a statistical tie given the margin of error for the provincial survey.

Under Canada's electoral system, a party traditionally has needed to win about 40 percent of the national vote to win a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons. But a majority also is possible if the gap between the front-runners is more than 10 percentage points.

The Conservatives had a minority in the last Parliament and needed support from at least one other party to stay in power.

The national daily Nanos tracking figures are based on a three-day rolling telephone sample of 1,200 decided voters and are considered accurate within 2.8 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

(Reporting Allan Dowd, Editing by Vicki Allen)

<p>Conservative leader and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper leaves his campaign bus before boarding his plane in Toronto April 23, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>