Conservatives heading for majority: poll

Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:37pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's ruling Conservatives could both win a Parliamentary majority in the Oct 14 election and crush the main opposition Liberal Party, according to a poll released on Thursday by a leading research firm.

The Nanos Research daily tracking survey put the Conservatives at 40 percent support, with the Liberals trailing far behind at 25 percent. The figure for the previous day had been the Conservatives ahead by 37 percent to 26.

It was the first time the research firm had put the Conservatives at 40 percent support, the target generally seen as needed to win a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons.

Nanos was the only polling firm to correctly predict the result of the January 2006 election, which brought the Conservatives to power with a minority government.

Pollster Nik Nanos said the main reason for the Liberals' poor performance was doubt about party leader Stephane Dion and his proposal to bring in a carbon tax at a time when the economy is slowing.

"It seems as if Stephane Dion wants to talk about the issues that he thinks are important and not the issues that voters think are important," Nanos told Reuters.

"The environment is an important issue ... but at this point in time it's really about the economy. You can't go through a campaign and move the numbers if you don't speak to the issues that voters are concerned about," he said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the carbon tax would be a disaster at a time when Canada is suffering from the effects of the U.S. economic slowdown and financial crisis.   Continued...

<p>Conservative leader and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper greets supporters outside his hotel in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan September 23, 2008. Canadians will head to the polls in a federal election October 14. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>