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Prime Minister Stephen Harper walks down the stairs from his airplane upon his arrival at the international airport in Guadalajara, Mexico Sunday. (Dario Lopez-Mills)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper walks down the stairs from his airplane upon his arrival at the international airport in Guadalajara, Mexico Sunday. (Dario Lopez-Mills)

Tories in a dead heat with Liberals: poll Add to ...

Stephen Harper's Conservatives have slightly slipped in Ontario but remain locked in a statistical tie with the Liberals for support across the country, a new poll shows.

The nationwide survey conducted by the Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail and CTV News found 34 per cent would support the Conservatives and 32 per cent would vote for Michael Ignatieff's Liberals. The NDP was the choice of 15 per cent, and the Green Party, 8 per cent.

The Strategic Counsel's Peter Donolo said a bright spot for the Conservatives is that they are now statistically tied in the race for women's votes, traditionally a Liberal strength. Twenty-nine per cent of women would vote Tory, compared with 31 per cent who favour the Liberals.

And the Conservatives and NDP both lead the Liberals among voters aged 18 to 29. "It shows [the Liberals]need to focus on some key traditional elements," Mr. Donolo said.

The two biggest parties have been locked in a tight race for months, but the Tories have drifted up to overtake the Liberals since Parliament broke for the summer in June.

The gap between the two parties is within the 3.1 percentage points margin of error for the poll of 1,000 Canadians, conducted between July 29 and Aug. 3.

In Ontario, where the Strategic Counsel found the Tories surging into the lead a month ago, the Conservatives have dropped back six percentage points. The Liberals now hold the edge there, 40 per cent to 37, with the NDP at 14 per cent and the Greens at 9. The smaller survey sample for the province means those results have a 5 per cent error margin.

The parties are eyeing Ontario as the key battleground for the next election, not only because it represents more than a third of the seats in the Commons, but because the heavy toll of the recession in the province could shift voting patterns.

In last October's election, the Conservatives garnered 39.2 per cent of the vote in Ontario and won 51 seats; the Liberals took 33.8 per cent of the vote and 38 seats, and the NDP collected 18.2 per cent and 17 seats.

The Conservatives saw a spike of eight percentage points where they're already winning, in the West, where 49 per cent of respondents would vote Tory. The Liberals were down six percentage points to 20 per cent, and the NDP slid two points, to 21 per cent. (The margin of error is 5.7 percentage points.)

In Quebec, the poll found the Bloc Québécois still lead handily, with 44-per-cent support. The Liberals were down one percentage point to 30 per cent, the Conservatives also slipped a point to 14 per cent, while the NDP was at 7 and the Greens at 6 per cent. (The margin of error is 6.3 percentage points.)

How would Canadians vote if an election were held today?

July 2-5

July 29-Aug. 3
















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