Conservatives "locked in" for win: pollster

Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:04pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Conservatives look more and more likely to win the Canadian election, with people now wondering if the party will form a majority government and who will head the opposition, a leading pollster said on Thursday.

"The campaign is beginning to look more 'locked in' -- particularly for the Tories," the polling firm Ekos said in an analysis of their latest surveys.

The Conservatives won a minority of seats in the House of Commons in the January 2006 election and had to rely on the support of an opposition party to remain in power. They are seeking a strengthened mandate in the October 14 vote.

Some voters have said they are afraid of a Conservative majority, fearing a major shift further to the political right. But Ekos said that thinking has not significantly moved the Conservatives' polling numbers.

"Apart from a slight slump in the first week of the campaign, we are not seeing (as we did in 2006) the electorate recoil from the prospect of a Conservative majority," Ekos said.

For several days, Ekos has shown the Conservatives with 38 percent support to 23 or 24 percent for the Liberals. Two other polling firms have shown a smaller but relatively stable Conservative lead of around 9 points while a fourth firm has put the lead at 19 points.

Ekos also found that the Conservatives have the firmest base of voter support -- those least likely to change their minds and the most likely to say they do not have a second choice -- and they are the most likely to go out and vote.

The polling firm has not done a seat projection on its current data but with similar numbers on Tuesday it forecast a Conservative majority.

At dissolution, the Conservative government had 127 of the 308 seats in the House. The Liberals had 95 seats, the separatist Bloc Quebecois 48, the leftist New Democrats 30, and the Green Party 1. Three seats were held by independents and four were vacant. To win a majority, 155 seats are needed.   Continued...

 
<p>Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers his speech during a campaign rally at St. Volodymyr Cultural Centre in Oakville September 16, 2008. Canadians will head to the polls in a federal election October 14. REUTERS/Mike Cassese</p>