Stéphane Dion's Liberals have crept closer to the Conservatives in public support, while Canadians' increasing fears over an uncertain economy appear to be carving away at Stephen Harper's electoral hopes, a new poll suggests.

The latest Canadian Press/Harris-Decima poll gave Harper's Conservatives 31 per cent support across Canada, just four percentage points clear of the resurgent Liberals, who rose to 27 per cent support.

"It's a very interesting and tightening race," said the CBC's David Taylor, who is covering the various public opinion surveys ahead of the Oct. 14 federal election.

The New Democrats had 20 per cent support, with the Greens at 12 and the Bloc Québécois at eight per cent.

Four of every 10 poll respondents — particularly women, city-dwellers and older, affluent voters — say the roller-coaster markets are causing them to rethink their vote, largely at the expense of the Tories, said Harris-Decima president Bruce Anderson.

"The effect of the market, the Conservative response, and the campaigns of other parties are all factors to watch as the final days of this campaign tick down, and the battle appears to be coming down to Ontario," Anderson said.

Amid heavy criticism from the four opposition leaders, Harper released his party's platform on Tuesday and said a re-elected Conservative government would continue to steer a course in the same direction as it has since taking office.

But his opponents have lambasted the plan, saying Harper isn't doing enough to protect Canadians' jobs and savings in times of growing global economic turmoil.

Dion also appears to have gained support in voters' overall impression compared to his Conservative rival for the first time since the four-day rolling survey began, the CBC's Taylor reported.

Forty-one per cent of respondents said they have positive impressions of Dion, while 49 per cent of respondents reporting the opposite. Some 51 per cent of respondents said they had a negative impression of Harper, while 40 per cent were positive.

The rolling sample represents 1,278 interviews conducted Saturday through Tuesday and is considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


  • The latest Canadian Press/Harris-Decima poll gives the Liberals 27 per cent support among respondents surveyed, not 21 per cent as initially reported.
    Oct 08, 2008 12:22 PM ET
With files from the Canadian Press