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Mulcair dismisses poll numbers, shores up support in Dartmouth

WATCH ABOVE: Supporters gave a warm welcome to NDP leader Thomas Mulcair at a campaign stop in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia on Wednesday morning. Rebecca Lau has more on why the visit may be strategic.

DARTMOUTH – Supporters gave a warm welcome to NDP leader Tom Mulcair at a campaign stop in Dartmouth, N.S. on Wednesday morning.

Amid cheers from his supporters, Mulcair said he is undeterred by poll numbers showing he has slipped to third place in this election.

“Whatever the polls have shown, I’ve always said the same thing: for the first time in Canadian history, we have a three-way race,” he said.

With just days to go in the campaign, Mulcair chose to make a stop in the Halifax area to shore up support for some key candidates.

They include incumbents Robert Chisholm, Megan Leslie and Peter Stoffer, as well as newcomer Joanne Hussey.

“It shows that he has a lot of faith in his candidates here,” NDP supporter Lisa Wilsack said. “I think he believes in the Maritimes and I think he’s going to do a lot to support the Maritime people as well.”

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It could also be strategic.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is also making a stop in Halifax this weekend, leading one Dalhousie University professor to think there’s something that sets these Halifax-area ridings apart.

“Usually in the last few days of a campaign, the ridings that the national leaders show up in are the ridings that they’re most concerned about,” sociology professor Howard Ramos said.

“The ones where they think they have a chance of winning the riding or a chance where they need to defend the riding from losing it.”

Both Trudeau and Mulcair will have been in the Halifax area twice, while Stephen Harper has not made a stop in the city during the campaign. Ramos says that could be indication Halifax is considered a “lost cause” for the Conservatives.

READ MORE: Liberals pull ahead of Tories for first time, projected to win most seats

According to the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy, the latest projections show the Liberals are dominating in this region.

Halifax West, where the NDP’s Hussey is running, is projected to remain Liberal with incumbent Geoff Regan.

Meanwhile, Chisholm’s riding of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour is considered to be leaning Liberal and Leslie’s riding of Halifax is too close too call.

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At the NDP rally on Wednesday, Mulcair was quick to shake off poll results and so were his supporters.

“The only poll that matters is on the 19th,” said David Ballum-Haftka.

“You really can’t pay attention when the poll is showing you on top and you really can’t pay attention to them two weeks before when they’re showing that you’re sliding.”