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NDP tied with Tories in BC: Ekos poll

Jack Layton's New Democrats appear to have caught up to Stephen Harper's Conservatives among British Columbia voters, according to an EKOS Research poll released this morning.

And if the EKOS seat-projection model is correct, the NDP could be poised to garner 16 of B.C.’s 36 seats in Parliament, while the Tories take only 15 and the Liberals win as few as five.

The Oct. 5 EKOS projections – which are based based on automated telephone surveys conducted Oct. 3, 4 and 5 – show the NDP and Tories each have 32 per cent support in B.C., with the Liberals slipping to 21 per cent and Greens rising to 15 percent.

“The tightening in B.C. is not an overnight sensation. We’ve been watching B.C. voters move in the NDP’s direction for some time now,” EKOS director of strategic communications Paul Adams said. "That gives us some confidence in these numbers."

However, EKOS' Oct. 5 projection is the only major poll to find the Dippers running neck-and-neck with Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. At the other end of the spectrum lies a Harris/Decima survey, also released this morning, that found the Conservatives at 46 per cent to the NDP's 22 per cent in B.C. While the remainder of the major polls fall somewhere in between, all put the federal Liberals running a distant third in B.C.

Conversely, voters appear to be moving back toward the Liberal Party of Canada in Atlantic Canada and Ontario, and toward the Bloc in Quebec. EKOS found nationwide voter intention at: 35 per cent for the Tories, 25 per cent for the Grits, 19 per cent for the NDP, and 10 per cent each for the Green and Bloc.

“People are making up their minds,” Adams said. “The undecided share is gently falling, from about 12 per cent a couple weeks ago to 7 per cent over the weekend.”

Adams warned that support for the Greens could soften in the week ahead, leading to further shifts among the other center-left parties.

“About a third of Green voters say they are likely to change their vote before election day," he said.

Furthermore, under Canada’s antiquated first-past-the-post electoral system, there is no evidence to suggest that the Greens will win even a single seat in Parliament. EKOS' Oct. 5 national seat projections stand as follows:

Tories: 130 seats

Grits: 78 seats

Bloc: 58 seats

NDP: 42 seats

“These seat projections are not so much intended as a prediction of the outcome on October 14 as they are a reminder that in places like British Columbia – where there are quite a few three- and four-way races – even subtle shifts in public mood over the final days of this campaign could radically reshape the political landscape,” Adams said.

“It won’t come as a surprise to you that B.C. has been notoriously difficult territory for pollsters,” Adams told The Tyee.

“We saw the Greens come within a point or two of the Liberals, then fade back. We saw the Tories start with a commanding lead – especially outside Vancouver – then fall back. The only other province with this degree of dynamism would be Quebec,” he said.

Monte Paulsen edits The Hook.

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