Support for the Conservatives is showing signs of growth, a new EKOS poll suggests.

The poll, released exclusively to CBC News on Thursday, asked Canadians whom they would vote for if a federal election were held tomorrow. The Tories garnered 33.1 per cent support, while 26.1 per cent of the respondents chose the Liberals.

The seven-point spread between the two parties is up from the five-point spread of last week. But for the 18th consecutive week, no party was able to significantly break the 33-point mark.

The NDP came in third with 16 per cent of support, followed by the Green Party (11.5 per cent), and the Bloc Québécois (10.2 per cent).

The poll also revealed a gender gap emerging for the Conservatives and the NDP. The Tories have historically appealed more to men than women, but that trend had been less prominent in recent months.

However, that gap appears to be re-asserting itself with a difference of almost 10 points between Conservative support among men (38 per cent) and women (28 per cent). 

While the Liberals appeared to pick up support among women when the Tories lost ground among that group, there has been no real gender gap between Liberal support among men and women in recent months.

But the poll shows a dramatic difference in the gender groups for NDP support. The female support for the NDP is up to 19.1 per cent compared to support among men, which is at 12.9 per cent.

Results on the government's direction are generally on par with previous weeks. Canadians continue to be split on whether the government is moving in the right direction (42.1 per cent) or the wrong direction (44.9 per cent).

The survey of 2,192 people, which was conducted by telephone between April 28 and May 4, 2010, has an error margin of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

EKOS used voice-recognition software, allowing respondents to answer by punching the phone's keypad. A mix of landline and cellphone households was addressed.