10/15/2012 06:29 EDT | Updated 12/15/2012 05:12 EST

Grits Edge NDP Before Liberal Leader Race, Poll Says

Liberal MP Justin Trudeau waves to the crowd of supporters as he holds his son Xavier and his wife Sophie Gregoire holds their daughter Ella-Grace after announcing he will seek the leadership of the party Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 in Montreal. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

Focus on the Liberal leadership race appears to have breathed new life into the party, even if the race doesn't officially begin until Nov. 14, a new poll shows.

A Nanos Research survey reveals the Liberals have picked up almost six points over the Opposition New Democrats in the past month, and are edging the NDP for overall support for the first time since April 2012.

The new poll shows support for the Conservatives remains steady at 33.3 per cent, with the Liberals at 30.1 per cent, the NDP at 27.9 per cent, the Bloc Québécois at 4.7 per cent, and the Green Party at 2.9 per cent.

The telephone survey of 1,000 Canadians was conducted between Oct.4-11 and is considered accurate within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

"Many parties naturally do well during leadership races because voters can project onto a leaderless party based on the possible choices," said pollster Nik Nanos of Nanos Research.

Battlegrounds B.C. and Ontario

The results of the survey suggest focus on the Liberal leadership race has had the greatest impact in two key battlegrounds, British Columbia and Ontario, but not Quebec.

In Ontario, the Liberals have picked up nearly 10 points with support at 36.1 per cent, up from 26.3 per cent last month. Meanwhile in B.C., support for the Liberals has nearly doubled with support now at 40.6 per cent, up from 21 per cent in September.

Although Liberal MP Justin Trudeau announced his candidacy for the leadership of the party on Oct.1, support for the Liberals in Quebec remains relatively unchanged at 25 per cent, up one per cent from the month before.

While it may be too early to say how Trudeau's leadership bid will impact support for the party in la belle province, other high-profile leadership candidates from Quebec — such as Liberal House leader Marc Garneau and former Liberal cabinet minister Martin Cauchon — are also expected to enter the race.

The Liberal gains appear to be at the expense of the NDP's numbers.

"Support for the NDP is down in B.C. and Ontario, but remains steady in Quebec," Nanos said.

In Ontario, the NDP has lost nearly nine points since September with support down to 23.9 per cent, from 32.6% last month. A similar loss of support can be seen in B.C., with support for the federal New Democrats down to 19.6 per cent, from 31.1 per cent in September.

In Quebec, support for the NDP remains relatively unchanged sitting at 35.7 per cent, from 33.7 per cent last month.

And with only three members of Parliament elected from the Prairies, support for the NDP there is up 10 points at 28.9 per cent from 18.4 per cent in September.

"While it is too early to understand the full ramifications of the Liberal leadership race, volatility in voter support for the Liberals and the NDP in B.C. and Ontario is a key dynamic to monitor in the short term," Nanos said.

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