Liberals slip in Quebec but still strong

Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:07am EDT
 

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Liberal Party, which is considering toppling the Conservative government, is neck and neck with separatists in the key battleground of Quebec, but has slipped markedly since June.

A CROP poll published on Wednesday showed the federal Liberals tied with the separatist Bloc Quebecois at 30 percent support. That's 6 points more than the Liberals won in last October's federal election, but 5 points less than in June.

The Conservatives have gained 4 points since June in the province, but are 5 points below their October result.

If the poll results were borne out in an election, the Liberals would probably pick up a small number of seats from the Bloc Quebecois.

The Liberals and the other opposition parties are deciding whether to try to force an early election, and opinion polls always weigh heavily in their decisions.

Nationally, most polls show the Liberals neck and neck with the Conservatives, although one survey released on Monday had the Conservatives 11 points ahead.

In provincial politics, the poll showed the separatist Parti Quebecois trailing the Quebec Liberal Party -- distinct from the federal Liberals in that it unites liberals and conservatives -- by 44 percent to 33 percent.

There will be no referendum on whether Quebec should separate from Canada will unless the Parti Quebecois regains power. It has lost the last three elections, most recently in December.

CROP surveyed 1,003 people from August 13-23, a sample size which carries a 3-point margin of error 19 times out of 20.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Janet Guttsman)

 
<p>Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff (C) walks out of St. Dominique Church after the funeral of Jean Pelletier in Quebec City, January 17, 2009. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger</p>