Separatist support plunges in election, poll finds

Fri Sep 5, 2008 8:51am EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Support in Quebec for the separatist Bloc Quebecois has plummeted ahead of an expected October 14 federal election in Canada, a new poll released on Friday showed.

The Leger Marketing poll put the Bloc tied with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives at 30 percent in Quebec, Canada's second most populous province, and suggests the Conservatives could make major inroads there.

This contrasts with the result of the January 2006 election, when the Bloc took 42 percent of the vote and the Conservatives only 25.

Leger pegs the once-ruling Liberals at 23 percent, up slightly from the 21 percent they won in the last election. The leftist New Democrats are backed by 11 percent and the Greens by 5.

Harper, who plans to trigger an election campaign on Sunday for a vote on October 14, currently has 127 of the 308 seats in the House of Commons and needs to pick up another 28 to win a majority.

Most polls suggest another minority government though a national Environics survey released on Thursday put the Conservatives 10 points ahead of the Liberals and within striking distance of a majority.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Frank McGurty)