Both the front-running Progressive Conservatives and the governing Liberal party have lost support in a tight race before the provincial election in Ontario next month, while the third-place NDP has gained ground, a new poll suggests.

In the latest Nanos Research poll for CTV and The Globe and Mail, the Tories sit at 35.4 per cent support, the Liberals have 31.9 per cent and the NDP have 22.8 per cent.

The NDP are up six percentage points since the last poll in August which pollster Nik Nanos suggests may be partially due to the public goodwill following the death of federal NDP Leader Jack Layton.

"The recent state funeral for Jack Layton in Toronto and the focus on the New Democratic Party federally, on its principles and policies, has probably had a positive impact in terms of how people feel about the New Democrats," Nanos said in a telephone interview with CTV News.

Both of Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals are down from the August Nanos poll (from 42.1 per cent and 37.6 per cent, respectively) as each party has run negative ads about the other.

Nanos says the negative ads are working for -- and against -- each party.

"The mudslinging between the two front running parties has likely had an impact on the support for both," Nanos said.

While the provincial race is already very tight, just outside of the margin of error, the numbers in the seat-rich Greater Toronto Area show a statistical dead heat.

  • Progressive Conservatives: 31.2 per cent
  • Liberals: 30.8 per cent
  • NDP: 18.8 per cent

In the city of Toronto, the NDP has jumped 12 percentage points since the public outpouring of grief after Layton's death last month.

  • Liberals: 36.5 per cent
  • NDP: 22.9 per cent
  • Progressive Conservatives: 22.1 per cent

Poll methodology: Between August 30th and September 1st, 2011, Nanos Research conducted a random telephone survey of 1,005 Ontarians 18 years and older. A random telephone survey of 1,000 Ontarians is accurate plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.