OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s ruling Conservatives have a lead of six to eight percentage points over the opposition Liberals with just three days to go before the general election, polls released on Friday indicated.
If voting intentions hold until the election next Tuesday the Conservatives, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, would be reelected but probably again with only a minority of seats in Parliament.
However, Ekos pollster Frank Graves said it was still possible that supporters of the smaller New Democratic Party and Green Party, both on the left, could throw their weight behind the Liberal Party.
“Although the objective facts suggest it would be very difficult for the Liberals to pull off a win at this point, there is still room for them to gain support by drawing off New Democrats and Green Party supporters,” Graves said.
Ekos had shown a 12-point lead for the Conservatives in three days of polling through Thursday but by Friday night it was showing a tighter gap of 8 points.
A Harris-Decima poll also put them 8 points ahead while a Nanos survey had them up by 6 points.
Several days ago the lead had been as low as 3 points in one survey, the apparent result of questions about whether Harper was doing enough to stem the financial turmoil, but the Conservatives subsequently recovered.
Ekos has the Conservatives winning 34 percent of the popular vote, the Liberals 26 percent, the New Democrats 19 and the Greens 11 percent.
A Harris-Decima/Canadian Press survey had identical numbers for the Conservatives and Liberals, and the New Democrats at 18 percent and Greens at 12. Nanos Research had them respectively at 33 percent, 27 percent, 22 percent and 8 percent.
Some voters back parties like the Greens as a “plague-on-your-houses” protest vote, but other citizens who might vote for them if they had much of a chance of winning end up backing one of the larger parties on Election Day.
Ekos covered Wednesday through Friday, Harris-Decima Monday through Thursday and Nanos Tuesday through Thursday.
Ekos surveyed 2,592 decided voters, with a 1.9 point margin of error 19 times out of 20. Harris-Decima interviewed 1,284 people with a 2.7 point margin of error, and Nanos surveyed 1,003 committed voters with a 3.1 point margin of error.
Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Eric Walsh