Canada's left-leaning NDP takes lead heading into October election

Fri Jun 5, 2015 2:45pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) has taken a slim lead in popular support ahead of a general election scheduled for October, while support for the Conservative government is flat, a public opinion poll said on Friday.

The Ekos survey showed, however, that the NDP, which has never held power federally, does not have enough backing to form a stable government by itself and would likely have to work with another party.

The poll is not good news for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose right-of-center Conservatives took power in early 2006 and who is seeking a rare fourth-consecutive election victory.

NDP support rose to 31.3 percent in the poll from 28.9 percent a week before, while the Conservatives slipped to 29.2 percent from 29.5 percent.

Ekos pollster Frank Graves said the Conservatives, who have had majority control in Parliament since the 2011 election "are languishing well back of where they need to be for a reasonable shot at another stable government".

Under the Canadian first-past-the-post system, a party generally needs around 39 percent to win a parliamentary majority.

The NDP started climbing in the polls last month after winning election for the first time in the traditionally conservative province of Alberta.

Legislator Peter Julian said the party was in very good shape but added: "We don't take anything for granted ... I'll be knocking on doors all summer."   Continued...

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 12, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie