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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's ruling Conservatives have seen their lead over the opposition Liberals slip after the release of the federal budget, according to a new poll released on Saturday.
The Ipsos-Reid survey for the CanWest media conglomerate put the Conservatives at 37 percent support, down 2 points from a poll by the same company in early January. The Liberals were up 3 points at 31 percent.
The smaller New Democratic Party had the backing of 14 percent, a drop of 1 point.
The polling firm said the Liberals have steadily closed the gap with the Conservatives from 23 points at the beginning of December to the current 6 points.
The Conservatives, whose minority government was returned to power in October 14 elections with 37.6 percent of the vote, would need at least 40 percent to win a majority of the seats in the House of Commons, political analysts say.
The Liberals last month backed the Conservatives' 2009 budget and economic stimulus plans, staving off an early election and killing an opposition coalition that had sought to replace the minority government.
The budget included a C$40 billion ($32.8 billion) stimulus plan and forecast C$85 billion in deficits over five years.
The Ipsos-Reid survey of 1,000 adults was conducted between Tuesday and Thursday and is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by John O'Callaghan