Conservatives widen lead in new poll

Mon Jun 2, 2008 8:36am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The ruling Conservatives widened their lead against the opposition Liberals in an opinion poll published on Monday as voters shrugged off the resignation of the foreign minister after he left confidential documents at the home of an ex-girlfriend.

The Ipsos Reid poll, published in the Canwest group of newspapers, 36 percent of voters supported the Conservatives, up from 35 percent a month earlier. Support for the Liberals fell to 29 percent from 32 percent.

If those support levels were translated into votes at a federal election, the Conservatives would probably end up with another minority government, and would need the support of at least one other party to stay in power.

Pollsters say that a political party needs some 40 percent of the popular vote to win a majority government.

The poll of 1,001 Canadian voters was conducted from May 27 to May 29, just after Prime Minister Stephen Harper accepted the resignation of his foreign minister, Maxime Bernier.

"The events of the day are not really affecting political choice right now," the National Post newspaper quoted pollster Darrell Bricker as saying.

The poll showed support for the left-wing New Democrats was unchanged at 14 percent. Support for the Greens rose to 11 percent from 9 percent.

(Reporting by Janet Guttsman; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

<p>Prime Minister Stephen Harper is seen during a meeting at Chigi Palace in Rome May 28, 2008. REUTERS/Dario Pignatelli</p>