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Nova Scotia election poll shifts focus for leaders

There's still plenty of campaigning left before the provincial election on Oct. 8, but the results of the latest poll have Nova Scotia's parties shifting focus and shifting gears.

Liberals hold solid lead in Corporate Research Associates poll

Jamie Baillie, Darrell Dexter and Stephen McNeil are all vying to become Nova Scotia's next premier. (CBC)

There's still plenty of campaigning left before the provincial election on Oct. 8, but the results of the latest poll have Nova Scotia's parties shifting focus and shifting gears.

New Democratic Leader Darrell Dexter spent part of his day on Friday trying to reassure his troops.

"Keep calm and carry on," he said.

"I go to work every day. I work as hard as I can. See as many people as I can, and that's what we're going to continue to do."

The New Democrats were second in the results of the latest Corporate Research Associates poll commissioned by The Chronicle Herald, which suggests nearly half of decided voters — 48 per cent — are planning to vote for or are leaning toward the Liberals.

The New Democratic Party received 28 per cent support among decided voters while the Progressive Conservatives had 23 per cent.

According to the poll results, 22 per cent of the 408 people who were polled either didn't know or are undecided about how they will vote. There is a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

"We're going to continue to do what we've been doing and that is take our message to communities," said Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil, who was identified as the clear front-runner in the poll.

With voters also considering the Tories as an alternative to the New Democratic Party, McNeil sharpened his attack on Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie.

"We've seen what the Harper Conservatives do nationally. Mr. Baillie has surrounded himself by many of those supporters of Mr. Harper. His platform is a Mr. Harper platform," said McNeil.

Baillie, meanwhile, said the message from the poll is clear.

"Nova Scotians are now saying they're going to throw out the NDP. Now we can turn to what kind of future do we really want to have?" he said.

"For some time now, everywhere I went, people would say, 'I don't know who I'm voting for yet but I know who I'm not voting for this time' and they were referring to the NDP government. Now the polls confirm that."

Baillie said now his job is convincing voters he's the best alternative.

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