Conservatives lead, New Democrats in 2nd

Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:11am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Conservative Party maintains a strong lead heading into the May 2 election, but support for the left-wing New Democrats is surging, knocking the trailing Liberals from second place, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

The Nanos Research tracking poll of results for three days of surveys put support for the Conservatives at 37.8 percent, down slightly from 39.2 percent. No poll was released on Tuesday due to the Easter Monday holiday.

The New Democrats -- the small party once regarded as a bunch of left-wing do-gooders, have seen their support soar since the mid-election leadership debates.

As of Wednesday, they have 27.8 percent of decided voters behind them, up from 23.6 percent in Monday's survey.

An Angus Reid online poll released on Wednesday similarly showed the New Democrats have solidified their position in second place, putting the party only five points behind the Conservatives.

The Nanos poll showed Liberal support continues to fall, sliding to 22.9 percent, from 25.6 percent in Monday's poll, while notably losing its grip in Ontario, considered a last stronghold.

Nanos said the separatist Bloc Quebecois, which runs candidates only in Quebec, continues to weaken as it loses ground to the NDP, falling to 5.8 percent from 6.5 percent in Monday's poll.

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.

The national daily Nanos tracking figures are based on a three-day rolling telephone sample of 1,020 decided voters and are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.   Continued...

<p>Conservative leader and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen watch the Vancouver Canucks play the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of their NHL Western Conference quarter-final hockey game in his campaign plane on the tarmac in Toronto April 26, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>