Conservatives tied with rivals: poll

Thu Sep 3, 2009 10:01am EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's governing Conservatives are tied with the main opposition Liberals in public opinion, and neither party would have a clear chance of victory if an election were held now, according to a weekly poll released on Thursday.

The Ekos poll for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. was largely carried out before Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff vowed on Tuesday to bring down the minority government as soon as he could.

Ekos put the Conservatives at 32.6 percent support, the same level as last week. The Liberals were also at 32.6 percent, up from 30.9 percent.

Neither of the two main parties is anywhere close to hitting the 40 percent mark that would almost guarantee winning a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons.

"The Liberals are set to gain seats, however, even if they do not gain government. And the Conservatives run some danger of losing power if they are forced into an election this fall," Ekos said in a statement.

Under Canada's first-past-the-post electoral system, a party needs between 36 percent and 37 percent public support to stand a chance of winning a minority government. The Conservatives won 143 seats in the October 2008 election with 37.7 percent of the vote.

The Ekos automated telephone survey of 1,772 adult voters was conducted between August 26 and September 1 and is considered accurate to within 2.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks at the opening ceremonies for the World Skills Competition in Calgary, September 1, 2009. REUTERS/Todd Korol</p>