October 5, 2015 3:02 pm
Updated: October 5, 2015 6:25 pm

NDP continues decline as Tories, Liberals battle for first in new Ipsos poll

WATCH: The latest poll for Global News finds that if an election were held today, the Tories and Liberals scored 33 and 32 per cent support, respectively. Eric Sorensen reports.

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With just two weeks left in the federal election campaign, the Conservatives are now the top choice for voters, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted for Global News.

But their lead is about as small as it can get – just one percentage point ahead of the Liberals.

The poll, conducted between Oct. 2 and Oct. 5, surveyed 1,441 people online and found that 33 per cent of decided voters would vote for the Conservative Party, while 32 per cent would vote for the Liberal Party.

“The only real movement that we’ve seen in the polling so far is the Conservatives and Liberals switch back and forth week to week by a point or a couple of points, and the NDP have gone through farily steady decline over the last couple of weeks,” Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos said in an interview Monday.

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The NDP – once the clear frontrunners in the campaign – has dropped to third with 26 per cent support, seven percentage points behind the Tories.

“We’ve seen the NDP come down quite a bit since the start of the campaign in Quebec, and we’ve seen the Bloc, the Liberals, and the Conservatives all benefit from that.”

Tom Mulcair’s NDP has seen a marked decline in support over the last few weeks, mostly due to the party’s stance on the niqab. The NDP and the Liberals have the same position on the Niqab, that it could be worn during the citizenship ceremony. That issue, Bricker said, is motivating the NDP’s decline in Quebec.

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“But if both parties hold the same position on an issue, as they do in the province of Quebec on the niqab, people are jumping over that, from the NDP, over to considering the Bloc and the Conservative Party,” he said.

“They have taken a drubbing over the space of the last couple of weeks, and the only explanation one could offer, and particularly when you take a look at where people have moved to, the only issue you could offer up as an explanation is Thomas Mulcair’s stand on the niqab.”

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Quebec, which has been Mulcair’s base of support, has become a four-way race, according to the latest Ipsos poll. The NDP still has a lead, but it’s only six percentage points – and it’s a drop of nearly 20 percentage points from their highest level of support in the province. The Bloc Quebecois, Liberals, and Conservatives are all tied at 23 per cent.

READ MORE: Niqab stance hurting NDP in Quebec, observers say

The Liberal Party has the most room to grow, Bricker said, with more people seeing Trudeau as the best choice to replace Harper. At the outset of the campaign, the NDP was seen as the best alternative to Harper. But that’s changed, with 51 per cent believing Trudeau now offers the best alternative. Forty-nine per cent still believe in Mulcair but that’s significantly lower than 62 per cent in July.

“If the NDP looks like it’s in trouble in the place where it won the most seats, maybe [voters will] start thinking about ‘it’s time to vote for the Liberals, because they would be the best opportunity to replace the Conservatives,’” Bricker said.

The race has been volatile, Bricker said, with all three parties, at one time, leading during the campaign.

“In the modern era of Canadian politics, we’ve never had this happen before,” he said. “We’ve never had a race in which three parties have shared the lead in the national campaign.”

What’s happening in Canada? 

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Who wins the election will come down to Ontario, Bricker said, with the area surrounding Toronto turning into bellwether ridings.

“Who can take the 905 is going to decide who wins this election,” he said.

Right now the Liberals have a slight lead in the 905 with 45 per cent support. The Conservatives have 42 per cent, while the NDP is well behind with 11 per cent support.

The 416, the city of Toronto, is also leaning towards the Liberals who enjoy 39 per cent support. The NDP is in second with 31 per cent, the Tories have 28 per cent and the Greens have 2 per cent support.

British Columbia is still a three-way race, with the NDP enjoying a slight lead with 34 per cent support, to the Conservatives’ 31 per cent, and the Liberals’ 28 per cent. The Green Party has its best showing in Canada with seven per cent support.

The Conservatives still take Alberta with 51 per cent support in the province, well ahead of the Liberals’ 28 per cent support, and the NDP’s 17 per cent.

The Conservatives also lead in Saskatchewan and Manitoba with 39 per cent support, but the Liberals are close behind with 36 per cent. The NDP has 21 per cent support.

The Liberals dominate Atlantic Canada with 46 per cent support, well ahead of the Conservatives and NDP who are tied at 26 per cent support.

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos Reid.” This poll was conducted between October 2 and October 5, with a sample of 1,441 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel and is accurate to within 2.9 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

View the full Ipsos tables below:

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