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Third of civil engineers to vote conservative, says NCE poll

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NEARLY ONE in three civil engineers will vote Conservative in the General Election, according to the results of an NCE internet poll.

The poll shows that while the Tories can expect to attract 30% of civils' votes, while 26% said they favoured the LibDems and just 22% backed Labour.

The stability of the economy is the biggest issue for engineers, with 45% selecting this as one of the top two key election topics from a list of 10.

Education was the second hottest topic, with 34% of engineers saying it was a key issue.

The third most important consideration was the environment, with 31%. Transport was a key issue for 25% of those polled.

Energy came surprisingly low on the priority list, with only 6.8% citing it as an important election issue. This came below health (14.8%) pensions (13.6%) and crime (also 13.6%).

THREE civil engineers are fighting to win marginal seats in today's General Election.

Labour's Lawrie Quinn defends his 3,585 majority in Scarborough & Whitby. And his colleague George McManus bids to overturn a slender 781 Tory majority in Yorkshire's Beverley & Holderness constituency.

Further north, Conservative Gordon Buchan takes on transport secretary Alistair Darling in Edinburgh South West (NCE last week). He is standing in a newly created constituency but believes the Conservatives need only a 3% swing to win the seat.

In Scarborough & Whitby DVDs starring Quinn have been distributed to voters.

He believes his concentration on local issues will enable him to overcome voters' concerns about the government's decision to go to war in Iraq.

Meanwhile, on Humberside, McManus thinks Beverley & Holderness could be the only Labour gain on the night.

Local Tories have abandoned their 'parachuted in' candidate there to focus on helping shadow home secretary David Davis in a tight neighbouring constituency, McManus told NCE.

Labour and the Conservatives have taken starkly differing approaches in the newly created Edinburgh South West seat.

Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, John Prescott and David Blunkett have all headed across the border to back Darling.

But the Tories have poured resources into Edinburgh South next door, where construction minister Nigel Griffiths is standing.

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