* Conservatives fall slightly to 37 percent
* NDP support rises to 30.6 percent
TORONTO, May 1 (Reuters) - Canada’s ruling Conservative Party holds a lead heading into Monday’s parliamentary election, though the left-leaning New Democrats have gained support, according to a poll released on Sunday.
The Nanos Research tracking poll of results for three days of surveys put support for the Conservatives at 37 percent, down slightly from 38 percent in Saturday’s poll.
The NDP, a small opposition party that has never governed Canada, had 30.6 percent of decided voters, up from 29.6 percent.
An unprecedented surge in the polls by the NDP has forced apathetic markets to take notice of the party’s platform, with some investors fretting about its plans to raise corporate taxes, increase spending and launch a tougher energy policy. [ID:nN27126329]
Political analysts have been trying to figure out whether the NDP’s rise will split the center-left vote and benefit the ruling Conservatives, or give the NDP a chance to form the government, possibly in coalition with the faltering Liberals.
Under Canada’s electoral system, a party normally has needed to win about 40 percent of the national vote to win a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons.
The Nanos poll showed Liberal support fell slightly to 22.7 percent from 23.3 percent a day earlier.
The separatist Bloc Quebecois, which runs candidates only in the French-speaking province of Quebec, was at 5.5 percent, up from 5.2 percent in Saturday’s poll. Nanos noted the NDP enjoyed a comfortable lead in Quebec with 37.4 percent support there.
The national daily Nanos tracking figures are based on a three-day rolling telephone sample of 1,068 decided voters and are considered accurate within 3 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
Results from the last three days of polling are as follows:
Poll Release Date May 1 April 30 April 29
Conservatives 37 38 36.4
Liberals 22.7 23.3 22.0
Bloc Quebecois 5.5 5.2 5.7
Green Party 3.2 3.1 4.0 (Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Paul Simao)