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Don't believe the polling hype, Harper's campaign chief tells her troops

Jenni Byrne, now Stephen Harper's campaign manager, and the Tory cabinet prep for Question Period on Parliament Hill on Jan. 27, 2009.

Jason Ransom/Jason Ransom/PMO

Stephen Harper's campaign manager is warning Tory troops not to believe the polls or what they read in the media since the election is far from over.

"Make no mistake - nothing is decided yet," Jenni Byrne writes in the statement dated Wednesday. "There are many close races where even a handful of votes will make the difference."

She notes, too, that Canada's "future is at stake in this election."

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Or is it the Conservative Party's future that's at stake in this election? Is Ms. Byrne channeling Tory nervousness about the way in which this campaign is unfolding? Or is she merely trying to motivate campaign workers to get out the vote on May 2?

The latest polling numbers show the possibility of a Tory majority government slipping away. Not surprising then, her warning about reading too much into the media polls.

"We are concerned that due to media coverage or 'so-called polls,' some might feel that the election is already over. That is not the case," she writes.

Thursday's Nanos Research poll has Jack Layton firmly in second place and beginning to close the gap on Mr. Harper. The NDP is now only six points behind the Tories, though Michael Ignatieff's Liberals are almost 15 points behind the front-running Conservatives.

In her note, Ms. Byrne raises the spectre - as Mr. Harper and his Tories have throughout the campaign - of a scary big-spending, coalition government. This time, however, there is much more emphasis on the NDP.

"Our country's future is at risk from an unstable, reckless coalition made up of Ignatieff Liberals, NDP and the Bloc Québecois," Ms. Bryne says. "We have seen what the NDP can do. In Ontario, we remember what happened when the NDP got hold of the reins of power: tens of thousands of jobs lost, an economy totally mismanaged, and skyrocketing taxes."

She asks her supporters to "spread the message" about a coalition government and to take family members or friends to the polls. She notes the record turnout at the advance polls over the Easter weekend and attributes it to her opponents working hard to get out their vote.

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"Now is not the time to rest," she asserts. "As Conservatives we must buckle down and take this threat from our opponents seriously."

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