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Tories maintain 10-point lead but face ‘potential drop’ in B.C.

Public opinion appears to have settled after recent bouncing around, with a daily tracking poll showing the Conservatives holding a steady 10-point national lead.

A rolling three-day survey by Nanos Research, conducted for The Globe and Mail and CTV, on Wednesday had the leading parties statistically unchanged. The Tories are down 0.1 per cent to 39.7 per cent from the previous poll and the Liberals are down 0.3 per cent to 29.9 per cent.

"All the static and chatter on the campaign trail really hasn't had a significant effect on the numbers," said pollster Nik Nanos.

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The latest data show the NDP climbing nearly a point to 17.4 per cent. All of these movements are well within the poll's margin of error.

The stability of the Liberal support suggests the lift they got from releasing their platform on the weekend has legs.

The three-day tracking poll uses a rolling sample of 400 people a day, for a combined survey of 1,200 Canadians. This sample was conducted April 3 to April 5. Each day, samples from four days ago are dropped from the results, and the latest day's are added, to get a rolling result.

The result, Mr. Nanos noted, is that events on the campaign trail can take a few days to be reflected in the polls.

Regional polling reveals a more nuanced picture that the national numbers. Tory support remains rock-solid on the Prairies but the Liberals are nipping at their heels in regions east of there.

"What's more important to watch is not so much the national number but the regional distribution," Mr. Nanos said. "In your region the race could be much closer than the national number indicates."

The Tories appear to have suffered a sudden drop in British Columbia, sagging from 48.4 per cent to 41.9 per cent. But they are still comfortably ahead of the Liberals, who climbed to 26.2 per cent, and the changes remain well within the margin of error.

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"There is a potential drop occurring," Mr. Nanos said. "We'll have to see if that continues tonight."

The leading parties have switched positions in Ontario, with the Tories taking a 5-point lead. In Quebec the Tories have solidified their small advantage over the Liberals but both remain well back of the Bloc Quebecois, which has the support 36.8 per cent.

Nanos Research says the sample is accurate to within 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Regional results have higher margins of error because of the smaller sample size – the British Columbia sample has an 8.1 percentage point margin of error. Ontario's is 5.6 points and Quebec's is 6.7.

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About the Author

Oliver Moore joined the Globe and Mail's web newsroom in 2000 as an editor and then moved into reporting. A native Torontonian, he served four years as Atlantic Bureau Chief and has worked also in Afghanistan, Grenada, France, Spain and the United States. More

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