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Op-Ed: Two way race between Liberals and Conservatives developing

The latest CBC poll tracker averages up to October 6 show the LIberals and Conservatives in a dead heat with the Conservatives at 32.9 per up 0.6 from the last polls and the Liberals at 32.3 per cent down 0.2 per cent. The NDP has faded further at 24.2 percentage points down 0.8 per cent. The Green Party has 4.9 per cent up 0.2 per cent while the Bloc Quebecois a separatist party running only in Quebec had 4.7 per cent. However in Quebec it has 20.4 per cent of the vote.

Within the space of a week, the NDP has lost 2.7 per cent in the polls, while the Liberals have gained 1.7 points. The Conservatives gained 0.5 percentage points. The two most recent polls give conflicting results as to which party is in the lead but leave little doubt that the NDP is dropping further behind. An Abacus poll taken on the October 5 and 6 shows the Conservatives leading at 33 per cent, the Liberals at 32 and the NDP at 24. A Nanos Globe Poll taken from October 4 to 6 shows the Conservatives at 32.1, the Liberals leading at 34.2, and the NDP at 23.

Results seem to be skewed according to the polling method used. Polls that use interactive voice response (IVR) , automated phone calls, tend to favour the Conservatives. Online polls and live-caller telephone surveys show the race quite close between Conservatives and Liberals. Ranges of three recent IVR polls showed a Conservative support range of 33 to 37. The Liberals were at 27 to 29 per cent behind in every poll. The NDP had a range of 24 to 28 per cent. In every poll the Conservatives are winning. In contrast, five recent on line polls put the Conservative range at 29 to 34 per cent but the Liberals 27 to 32, and the NDP at 26 to 29 per cent. The most recent telephone polls show a range for Conservatives of 31 to 33 per cent , Liberals 32 to 36 per cent, and NDP 23 to 27 per cent, favouring the Liberals in all cases in contrast to the IVR polls. The two parties in front can tout their performance simply by cherry-picking the set of polls they reference. It is not clear what causes this variation in results.

The recent seat projections at the Poll Tracker give Conservatives the most seats with an average of 132. The Liberals have an average of 120 and the NDP significantly behind at just 84. The Bloc Quebecois would win one and the Green Party one also.

On a regional basis, the race is close in BC, while the Conservatives lead on the Prairies, though the NDP and Liberals may gain a few seats. Liberals lead in the Atlantic region. The NDP lead in Quebec is shrinking. In Ontario the polls are unclear with some giving the Liberals an edge and others the Conservatives. However in Toronto the Liberals appear to be gaining especially in comparison to the 2011 election. In 2011, the Conservatives and New Democrats won 8 seats each and the Liberals won the 6 remaining seats. This time around the Liberals have between 38 and 40 per cent of the vote, the NDP 27 to 31 and Conservatives 26 to 28. The Liberals are projected to win between 17 to 22 seats, the NDP just 3 to 6, and the Conservatives could win 0 or up to 2. Perhaps within a week or so the polls will show one of the two leading parties clearly in the lead.

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