Scott Taylor/Metro Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak, left, campaigns last week with London West byelection candidate Ali Chahbar.

A poll taken two days before the London West byelection showed Progressive Conservative candidate Ali Chahbar neck and neck with Peggy Sattler of the NDP — but the momentum may be swinging Sattler’s way.

Campaign Research polled more than 400 respondents on July 15 and July 30.

While Chahbar led both, the most recent one showed the race was tightening up.

On July 15, Chahbar had the support of 36 per cent of respondents to Sattler’s 29 per cent. Liberal Ken Coran was a distant third with 20 per cent.

But two weeks later, support for Chahbar dipped to 33 per cent, while Sattler support rose to 30 per cent – a virtual tie, Campaign Research said.

Coran lost a point to slip to 19 per cent. Freedom Party candidate Al Gretzky garnered nine per cent.

Sattler has run a steady, if unremarkable, campaign and has managed to steer clear of controversy.

Chahbar, on the other hand, has been dogged in the last week over allegations that he’s against a woman’s right to an abortion under any circumstances.

Chahbar faced a media scrum Wednesday, and answered every question but one.

“Where do you stand on the issue of abortion?”

It was asked, in slightly different ways, twice.

The first time, he deflected it by reciting why voters should choose the Tories.

“Listen, we’ve been out here talking about issues like jobs, the economy, healthcare, education, energy,” he said. “Those are the issues I got into this race to talk about and those are the issues I’m hearing at the door.”

Hudak accused the other parties of mudslinging.

“I’ve seen this before, when other parties fall behind and it’s the last couple of days of the campaign and they get desperate,” he said. “We’re going to keep focused here and talk about our jobs plan, we’ll talk about our plan to get government spending under control. We won’t be distracted by these side issues.”

At a glance

— Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday.

— The London West seat was vacated by the February resignation of MPP Chris Bentley.

— The riding, created in 1999, is considered a key Liberal battleground. The party has held the seat since Bentley was elected in 2003.

— Votes are also being held in Windsor, Ottawa and two Toronto ridings to replace Liberals who quit this year, including former premier Dalton McGuinty.

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