The NDP and the Conservatives are running neck and neck for the support of Canadians in the upcoming election, according to a new poll that suggests the New Democrats have even more room for growth.
The new ballot-question results from Nanos Research said the NDP was the pick of 31.4 per cent of respondents, while the Conservatives had 30.8 per cent support and the Liberals had 26.8 per cent. The Greens polled at 5.9 per cent nationally, and the Bloc Québécois had the support of 17.3 per cent of Quebec respondents.
The Liberals led in Atlantic Canada and in a tight three-way race in B.C., while the Conservatives had the most support in the Prairies and Ontario. The NDP led in Quebec and finished second in other regions.
The Nanos poll is based on a rolling four-week average of a total of 1,000 respondents, who are contacted through random telephone interviews (land line and cell). The survey was last in the field July 17. It is considered accurate to plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Nanos also asks other questions, such as which person the respondents preferred as prime minister or which parties they would consider voting for, and produces a composite measure called the Nanos Party Power Index. In recent weeks, the NDP has received the highest score.
"The value of the index is that it is a leading indicator. It shows who has the biggest upside growth," said Nik Nanos, chairman of Nanos Research, "… [and] the number of Canadians who consider voting NDP is much larger than the number of Canadians considering voting Conservative."
In the survey, 52.9 per cent of the respondents said they would consider voting NDP, while 43.6 per cent would consider the Liberals and 42.6 per cent would consider the Conservatives.
When asked whether the party leaders had the qualities of a good leader, 58.4 per cent of the respondents said NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair did, 23.5 per cent said he did not and 18.2 per cent said they were unsure. Of the three leaders, Mr. Mulcair had the highest measure of both "yes" and "unsure" responses.
"It speaks to the fact that Mulcair is still a work in progress," Mr. Nanos said. "He's got momentum and he's doing much better than he was three months ago. … But this speaks to the importance of any attack ads and his ability to stand up to any scrutiny as he becomes a contender."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair are all currently on the road as their parties prepare for an election scheduled for Oct. 19.