OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Liberals are making up ground on the governing Conservatives in some parts of the country but still trail in overall public support, according to two new polls published on Tuesday.
The Liberals -- who crashed last October to one of their biggest election defeats -- subsequently ditched leader Stephane Dion and replaced him with Michael Ignatieff, who scrapped some of the party’s more unpopular policies.
An Ipsos Reid poll for CanWest News Service said the Liberals had risen 2 percentage points to 33 percent since its last poll in early February. The Conservatives were stable at 37 percent.
Ipsos Reid Chief Executive Darrell Bricker said the results should help cool speculation in Ottawa that Ignatieff could try to bring down the minority Conservative government in the next few months.
“If I was leader of the opposition, I would look at these results and say, ‘You know what, no big hurry.’ It’s like a Formula One race: you take a guy one lap at a time,” he said.
The Ipsos-Reid survey of 2,002 adult Canadians was conducted between February 24 to March 5 and is considered accurate to within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The Conservatives won a strengthened minority in October with 38 percent of the vote but have since stalled amid opposition attacks that they are mishandling the effects of the global economic crisis.
A smaller Strategic Counsel survey for the Globe and Mail said the Liberals had slipped 2 points to 31 percent from last month, with the Conservatives rising 3 points to 35 percent.
Pollster Peter Donolo said Prime Minister Stephen Harper had benefited from the positive publicity that surrounded last month’s successful visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.
But he noted that the Liberals were making gains in the French-speaking province of Quebec, where he said the Conservatives were likely to lose seats in the next election.
The Strategic Counsel survey of 1,000 adults was conducted between March 5 and 8 and is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Galloway