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October 2, 2013 – 9:22pm PAUL MCLEOD STAFF REPORTER

The provincial election race may be tighter than previously thought, says a new Abacus Data Inc. poll.

Abacus’s first Nova Scotia poll still gives the Liberals a healthy lead, but it shows the NDP and Progressive Conservatives in a neck-and-neck tie.

Abacus had the Liberals at 48 per cent among committed and leaning voters, with the NDP and PCs statistically tied at 26 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.

The numbers back up previous Corporate Research Associates polls for The Chronicle Herald that show the Liberals in comfortable majority-government territory.

But unlike Corporate Research, Abacus has the Liberals almost 10 percentage points lower, the PCs about 10 points higher and the NDP about the same.

Abacus’s sample size is slightly smaller, at 309 decided or leaning voters, for a margin of error of 5.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The poll was done via telephone interviews involving a random selection of Nova Scotians on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. The Sun News Network commissioned it.

Abacus initially conducted 500 interviews, but 35 per cent of respondents said they were undecided.

There are some differences in how Abacus and Corporate Research conduct their polling. Abacus does not reach cellphones, while CRA does. And while both companies use in-person interviews, Abacus uses computer-assisted dialing.

Still, Abacus chief executive officer David Coletto said he was reassured to see his numbers generally match up with Corporate Research’s once the margins of error are taken into account.

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Good Decisions Require Good Data.