Liberals could suffer big loss: polls

Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:56pm EDT
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's opposition Liberals could suffer their worst electoral showing in nearly a quarter century, the Ekos polling company projected on Monday.

Based on surveys over the past three days, Ekos said the ruling Conservatives were slipping away from their chance to form a majority government, but could still take twice as many seats as the Liberals.

The Conservatives, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, ended more than 12 years of Liberal rule in 2006 and are seeking a new mandate in the October 14 election.

Ekos projected the Conservatives would win 147 of the 308 seats in the House of Commons, shy of the 155 needed for a majority but above the 127 they have now.

The Liberals would drop to 71 seats from 95. Their previous worst electoral result was in 1984 when they were reduced to 40 seats. The separatist Bloc Quebecois would rise by one seat to 49, the left-leaning New Democrats would pick up 10 seats to win 40, and the Greens would have one, Ekos projected.

The Ekos data was based on an automated telephone survey from Friday through Sunday, putting the Conservatives at 35 percent of the vote, the Liberals at 25 percent, the New Democrats at 19 percent, the Greens at 11 percent and the Bloc at 9 percent.

"The Conservatives continue to dominate this election, but this is as much a tribute to the Liberals' weakness as it is to Conservative strength," Ekos President Frank Graves said.

"The Tories have lost the powerful momentum they had in the period right before the (election was called), and they are now below what they would probably need to win a majority government."   Continued...

<p>Liberal Leader Stephane Dion is greeted by supporters during an election rally in Surrey, British Columbia September 12, 2008. REUTERS/Andy Clark</p>