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Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff smiles as he arrives at the airport in St. John's on April 4, 2011. (Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff smiles as he arrives at the airport in St. John's on April 4, 2011. (Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Nanos Poll

Liberals narrow gap to 9 points - but is it a 'bump or a blip'? Add to ...

The Liberals appear to have enjoyed a platform bump, as a daily tracking poll shows them nibbling into the Conservatives' commanding lead.

Tuesday morning's edition of the three-day rolling Nanos Research tracking poll conducted for The Globe and Mail and CTV shows the Liberals up about 2 percentage points to 30.2 per cent, now less than 10 points behind the Conservatives at 39.8 per cent. The NDP is at 16.5 per cent.

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Outside the West, the Conservatives and Liberals are now statistically tied, with Michael Ignatieff's team winning back ground in the province with the most seats - Ontario.

Part of the Liberal bump likely came from Sunday's release of the party's platform, as Monday's survey interviews show the second day of responses since the release. The question is whether time bears out that gain.

"It could be a bump or a blip," pollster Nik Nanos said.

Stephen Harper's Conservatives held a 14-point lead in the previous tracking poll, which tallies running results of the previous three days. Still, with the Tories still holding a significant advantage across the country, the shift in numbers shows different regional races.

The Conservatives hold a commanding lead in the West - 54.1 per cent of the vote in the Prairie provinces and 48.4 per cent in British Columbia - but big leads west of Ontario don't necessarily translate into a lot more seats for a party that already dominates in the region.

"When we get outside the West, it's actually quite competitive between the Conservatives and the Liberals," Mr. Nanos said.

In Ontario, the daily tracking poll shows what's in effect a statistical tie, with the Liberals at 41.1 per cent, and the Conservatives at 39.6. The NDP is at 14.7 per cent in the province.

Mr. Nanos said there may be a link between the Mr. Harper's recent days of campaigning to abolish the long-gun registry to win votes in rural Ontario. His previous rise in Ontario came from gains in suburban and urban ridings, and that may be slipping a little because of the campaign against the registry, Mr. Nanos suggested.

In Quebec, the Bloc Québécois continue to hold a strong lead, with 35.8-per-cent support, and the Conservatives leading a three-way struggle for second place. They have 22-per-cent support, the Liberals 17.6, and the NDP 16.9.

The three-day tracking poll uses a rolling sample of 400 people a day, for a combined survey of 1,200 Canadians. This sample was conducted April 2 to April 4.

Each day, samples from four days ago are dropped from the results, and the latest day's are added, to get a three-day rolling result.

Nanos Research says the sample is accurate to within 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Regional results have higher margins of error because of the smaller sample size - Ontario samples have a 5.6 percentage-point margin of error and Quebec samples have a 6.6-percentage point margin.

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