Conservatives reclaim lead in new poll

Tue Jul 7, 2009 10:06am EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party has regained a slight lead in popular support over the opposition Liberals and appears set to gain momentum over the summer, a poll released on Tuesday showed.

The Strategic Counsel survey, published in the Globe and Mail newspaper, put the Conservatives ahead of the Liberals for the first time since April. The poll showed the Conservatives with 34 percent support and the Liberals with 33 percent. The left-leaning New Democrats stood in third place at 15 percent.

A month earlier, Liberals stood at 34 percent and the Conservatives at only 30 percent and some other polls had also revealed growing support for Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.

The numbers show Ignatieff's honeymoon as the new opposition leader is over, the Globe cited Strategic Counsel pollster Peter Donolo as saying.

Ignatieff, who became leader in December, may have trouble grabbing Canadians' attention over the summer when Parliament is closed, while Harper can count on extensive media coverage of his meeting with world leaders at the G8 summit in Italy as well as a planned meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.

"It's very hard to change the overall zeitgeist if you're off the map nationally for a couple of months," Donolo was quoted as saying.

The poll surveyed 1,000 people from July 2 to 5, a sample with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent nationally.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers a speech at his annual Prime Minister's BBQ during the Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Alberta, July 4, 2009. REUTERS/Todd Korol</p>