Polls show a tighter election race

Mon Oct 6, 2008 2:48pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Two polls on Monday showed a tighter Canadian election race than earlier in the campaign, and point to the Conservative Party winning a minority government rather than the majority that seemed to be in the cards earlier.

The largest of the surveys, one taken Friday through Sunday by Ekos, suggests televised election debates on Wednesday and Thursday failed to shake the race up, with the Conservatives still 10 percentage points ahead of the Liberals.

However, a Harris-Decima/Canadian Press poll puts the Conservative lead at only 7 points -- down from 15 points just three days earlier.

And a Nanos poll has the gap at only 5 points -- one more than Nanos's survey released on Sunday but just half what it had shown a week earlier.

All still see the Conservatives under Prime Minister Stephen Harper being reelected on October 14, but they no longer see Harper being able to convert his minority in Parliament into a majority.

The Conservatives took power from the Liberals in February 2006.

The Harris-Decima/Canadian Press rolling poll put the Conservatives at 32 percent, down 2 points from the day before and down 5 points in the space of three days -- and 4 points less than what they got in the 2006 election.

It was still well ahead of the 25 percent Harris-Decima shows for the Liberals, and the 21 percent for the left-of-center New Democratic Party (NDP).

Harris-Decima pollster Bruce Anderson said jitters about the economy were cutting into support for Harper, who has advocated a steady hand with no dramatic moves.   Continued...

<p>NDP Leader Jack Layton (L) takes part in the English leaders' debate with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (2nd L), Liberal Party Leader Stephane Dion (2nd R) and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (obscured) in Ottawa, October 2, 2008. Canadians will head to the polls in a federal election October 14. REUTERS/Tom Hanson/Pool</p>