May 1, 2011 / 12:25 PM / in 7 years

Conservatives' election lead narrows, while NDP up: poll

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Conservative Party holds a lead heading into Monday’s parliamentary election, though the left-leaning New Democrats have gained support, according to a poll released on Sunday.

<p>NDP leader Jack Layton greets supporters while holding an election campaign rally in Burnaby, British Columbia April 30, 2011. Canadians go to the polls in a federal election on May 2. REUTERS/Andy Clark</p>

The Nanos Research tracking poll of results for three days of surveys put support for the Conservatives at 37 percent, down slightly from 38 percent in Saturday’s poll.

The NDP had 30.6 percent of decided voters, up from 29.6 percent.

An unprecedented surge in the polls by the NDP has forced apathetic markets to take notice of the party’s platform, with some investors fretting about its plans to raise corporate taxes, increase spending 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 the government, possibly 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 fell slightly to 22.7 percent from 23.3 percent a day earlier.

The separatist Bloc Quebecois, which runs candidates only in the French-speaking province of Quebec, was at 5.5 percent, up from 5.2 percent in Saturday’s poll. Nanos noted the NDP enjoyed a comfortable lead in Quebec with 37.4 percent support there.

The national daily Nanos tracking figures are based on a three-day rolling telephone sample of 1,068 decided voters and are considered accurate within 3 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Paul Simao

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