April 30, 2011 / 12:38 PM / 7 years ago

Conservatives hold election lead: poll

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Conservative Party is still leading the May 2 election campaign, with the left-leaning New Democrats firmly in second place, according to a poll released on Saturday.

<p>Canada's New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton talks to a crowd of supporters during a barbecue and rally in Saskatoon April 28, 2011. REUTERS/David Stobbe</p>

The Nanos Research tracking poll of results for three days of surveys put support for the Conservatives at 38 percent, up slightly from 36.4 percent in Friday’s poll.

The NDP had 29.6 percent of decided voters, down from 31.2 percent.

An unprecedented surge in the polls by the NDP has forced apathetic markets to sit up and take notice of the party’s platform, with some investors fretting about its plans to raise corporate taxes, spend more and launch a tougher energy policy.

Political analysts have been trying to figure out whether the NDP’s rise will split the center-left vote and benefit the ruling Conservatives, or give the NDP a chance to form its first federal government, in coalition with the faltering Liberals.

Under Canada’s electoral system, a party normally 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 Nanos poll showed Liberal support rose slightly to 23.3 percent from 22 percent a day earlier.

The separatist Bloc Quebecois, which runs candidates only in the French-speaking province of Quebec, was at 5.2 percent, down from 5.7 percent in Friday’s poll. Nanos noted the NDP enjoy a comfortable lead in Quebec with 39 percent support there.

The national daily Nanos tracking figures are based on a three-day rolling telephone sample of 1,048 decided voters and are considered accurate within 3 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Eric Beech

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