OTTAWA - A new poll suggests the New Democrats are widening their support across the country.
The Canadian Press Harris Decima survey indicates that the NDP have 34 per cent of popular support, compared to 30 per cent for the Conservatives.
With a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points, support for the two parties could be equally split.
Still, the poll indicates that the New Democrats have become competitive in traditional Tory areas.
Among rural Canadians, the poll suggests the New Democrats have 31 per cent support, compared to 35 per cent for the Tories.
The NDP appear to have the support of 36 per cent of urban and suburban men, a number that has risen steadily since February.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives are seeing their support in that demographic appear to hover around 29 per cent, down from close to 40 per cent four months ago.
As well, the New Democrats appear to have supplanted the Liberals as the natural party among women, said Allan Gregg, chairman of Harris Decima.
"Remember this is a party that a decade ago, half the electorate said they would "never" vote for," he said.
"To broaden their base as we see in these data is quite remarkable."
Overall, the Liberals continue to hold steady at 20 per cent support, the poll suggests.
Just over 2,000 Canadians were polled for the survey in the last week of April and first week of May.
The period marked ongoing controversy of the price tag for fighter jets as well as the introduction of the Conservatives' controversial omnibus budget implementation bill.
But it also saw the anniversary of the 2011 federal election which returned the Conservatives with their majority government.
The election resulted in the NDP surge into Opposition status thanks to a record number of MPs being elected in Quebec.
In that province, the party's fortunes appear to be sliding following a spike after the election of new leader Tom Mulcair.
Here are some facts you may not have known about NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. (CP)
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Mulcair" target="_hplink">Mulcair was Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks</a> in Jean Charest's Liberal government in Quebec. He served in the role from 2003-2006. (CP)
Mulcair married Catherine Pinhas in 1976. She was born in France to a Turkish family of Sephardic Jewish descent. <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1158289--thomas-mulcair-s-wife-catherine-a-psychologist-and-political-confidante?bn=1" target="_hplink">Mulcair has French citizenship through his marriage</a>, as do the couple's two sons. (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Mulcair" target="_hplink">Mulcair left Charest's Liberal government in Quebec </a>after he was offered the position of Minister of Government Services in 2006, an apparent demotion from Minister of the Environment. Mulcair has said his ouster was related to his opposition to a government plan to transfer land in the Mont Orford provincial park to condo developers. (CP)
Mulcair's great-great-grandfather on his mother's side was <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor%C3%A9_Mercier" target="_hplink">Honoré Mercier, the ninth premier of Quebec</a>. (Public Domain/Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec)
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Mulcair" target="_hplink">Mulcair was the first New Democrat to win a riding in Quebec during a federal election</a>. He held the riding of Outremont during the 2008 election after first winning the seat in a 2007 by-election. Phil Edmonston was the first New Democrat to win a seat in Quebec, but his win came in a 1990 by-election. Robert Toupin was the very first to bring a Quebec seat to the NDP, but he did it in 1986 by crossing the floor. (Alamy)
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Mulcair" target="_hplink">Mulcair's father Harry Donnelly Mulcair was Irish-Canadian</a> and his mother Jeanne French-Canadian. His father spoke to him in English and his mother in French -- explaining his fluency in both official languages. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Muclair has voted in past French elections, but says that now that he is leader of the Official Opposition <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1157191" target="_hplink">he will not take part in the upcoming French presidential vote</a>. (Thinkstock)
<a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1158289--thomas-mulcair-s-wife-catherine-a-psychologist-and-political-confidante?bn=1" target="_hplink">Mulcair met his future wife at a wedding when they were both teenagers</a>. Catherine was visiting from France. They married two years later when they were both 21. (CP)
<a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/03/16/thomas-mulcair-is-mr-angry/" target="_hplink">Mulcair was given the moniker in a Maclean's headline</a>, but the new leader of the NDP has long been known for his short fuse. In 2005, he was fined $95,000 for defamatory comments he made about former PQ minister Yves Duhaime on TV. The comments included French vulgarity and an accusation that alleged influence peddling would land Duhaime in prison.